Maryland court dismisses 3,168 debt-collection cases

The Maryland District Court said Thursday that its chief judge has dismissed 3,168 debt-collection cases against state residents and ordered that any liens associated with those cases be released.

The move, involving Worldwide Asset Purchasing cases, is a result of a settlement in a federal class-action suit. Attorneys for the plaintiffs alleged that the debt-buying firm wasn't licensed, sued for the wrong amounts, filed cases after the statute of limitations had expired, and included consumers' Social Security numbers in publicly available court filings, the state judiciary said.

The dismissals are the latest in a wave of debt-collection cases nullified in the last few years by court settlements or state regulatory action.

The dismissed Worldwide Asset cases cannot be refiled. District Court Chief Judge Ben C. Clyburn's order also said judgments must be recorded as "satisfied" and liens against the residents must be released. Affected consumers will receive notices from the court.

Worldwide Asset could not be reached for comment.

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