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Lawyer: LVNV deal sends message

An attorney representing a class of about 3,500 Marylanders in a case against South Carolina collections agency LVNV Funding LLC said a settlement reached Friday should serve as a warning.

“Going forward we think the law is very clear in Maryland: don’t come in and try to collect debts in Maryland if you’re not licensed,” Peter Holland said. “People are watching.”

Holland, of the Holland Law Firm in Annapolis, was one of four lawyers who represented named plaintiffs Jason Hauk and Freddy Velazquez, Frederick residents who led the class action lawsuit against LVNV in the U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

LVNV had sued the class members in state court to collect debts even though the company is not licensed in Maryland. Under the terms of the settlement, LVNV agreed to drop those suits (which Holland said averaged $2,800 for each class member), not try to collect on the accounts or sell the accounts to other collections agencies and try to repair any damage the suits had done to the class members’ credit ratings.

Hauk and Velazquez also will receive $2,000 each for serving as the class representatives.