SIKES v. MEL HARRIS & ASSOCIATES | NY Certifies Class Action "Sewer Service" "RICO" "FDCPA" "Fraudulently obtain default judgments against more than 100,000"

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SIKES v. MEL HARRIS & ASSOCIATES | NY Certifies Class Action – “Sewer Service” “RICO” “FDCPA” “Fraudulently obtain default judgments against more than 100,000″

SIKES v. MEL HARRIS & ASSOCIATES | NY Certifies Class Action – “Sewer Service” “RICO” “FDCPA” “Fraudulently obtain default judgments against more than 100,000″

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK

MONIQUE SYKES et al.,
Plaintiffs,

- against -

MEL HARRIS AND ASSOCIATES, LLC,
-et al.,
Defendants

APPEARANCES: (See last page)
CHIN, Circuit Judge

In this case, four plaintiffs allege that a debt-buying
company, a law firm, a process service company, and others
engaged in a scheme to fraudulently obtain default judgments
against them and more than 100,000 other consumers in state
court. Defendants allegedly acted in concert to defraud these
consumers in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
(the “FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1692 ~, the Racketeer Influenced
and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”), 18 U.S.C. § 1961 et~,
New York General Business Law (IIGBL”) § 349 1 and New York
Judiciary Law § 487. Plaintiffs seek injunctive relief,
declaratory relief, and damages on behalf of themselves and other
similarly situated individuals. They move for class
certification.

The motion is granted. The record before the Court
establishes that defendants obtained tens of thousands of default
judgments in consumer debt actions, based on thousands of
affidavits attesting to the merits of the action that were
generated en masse by sophisticated computer programs and signed
by a law firm employee who did not read the vast majority of them
and claimed to, but apparently did not, have personal knowledge
of the facts to which he was attesting. The record also shows
that on hundreds of occasions the defendant process servers
purported to serve process at two or more locations at the same
time. As discussed more fully below, defendants’ unitary course
of conduct purportedly to obtain default judgments in a
fraudulent manner presents common questions of law and fact that
can be resolved most efficiently on a class-wide basis.

[...]

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