Judge dismisses hundreds of Maryland debt cases

A Maryland District Court judge has dismissed 314 debt collection cases against Maryland residents who were sued by Catonsville-based Sunshine Financial Group.

Chief Judge Ben C. Clyburn dismissed the cases on Wednesday under the terms of a settlement announced last week between Sunshine Financial and the Maryland State Collection Agency Licensing Board. The settlement allows the lawsuits, which sought to collect debts, to be re-filed in the future. The judge also ordered that attorney fees will be noted as satisfied on 323 other Sunshine Financial cases that have gone to judgment. On 19 other cases, attorney fees and pre- and post-judgment interest were also noted as satisfied, under the judge's order.

Sunshine Financial had agreed to drop several hundred debt collection lawsuits and either repay or forfeit $665,000 in attorney fees and compound interest it had improperly sought. The company, which buys consumer debt, did not admit wrongdoing in the settlement. But the company agreed to get a debt collection license from the state before taking further steps to collect debt from Maryland consumers.

Judge Clyburn had dismissed more than 10,000 debt collection cases in March under terms of a settlement of a class action lawsuit against Midland Funding. Last year, the judge dismissed more than 27,000 debt collection cases against Maryland residents after the Mann Bracken LLP law firm dissolved.

The District Court will notify defendants affected by Wednesday's decision and will update court records and the Judiciary Case Search website to reflect the dismissals

Lorraine Mirabella


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