Consumer Law Task Force

Foreclosure Project Manager Job Announcement

Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service

Foreclosure Prevention Project Manager


Immediate opening for an experienced lawyer to manage Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service’s (MVLS) Foreclosure Prevention Project.  This project serves low-income homeowners in multiple Maryland counties by providing pro bono and reduced-fee legal services through a panel of trained volunteer lawyers.

The mission of MVLS is to provide quality legal services to Marylanders of limited means.  MVLS is the largest pro bono legal services provider in the state both in terms of volunteers, over 3,000 lawyers on its panel, and clients served, over 65,000 since its founding in 1981.  Our core pro bono program helps approximately 3,000 Marylanders every year.

Job Responsibilities

  • Manage intake and placement of pro bono and reduced fee foreclosure cases with MVLS volunteer lawyers.
  • Administer all aspects of MVLS foreclosure prevention grant compliance, including timely submission of monthly, quarterly, and annual grant reports to DHCD or other project funders.
  • Represent clients in foreclosure mediations on an as-needed basis or when MVLS is unable to place a client with a volunteer or reduced-fee lawyer.
  • Provide brief advice to clients when our housing counselor is unable to assist.
  • Mentor less experienced foreclosure volunteers or assign mentors. 
  • Interview experienced foreclosure lawyers to represent clients on a reduced-fee basis.  Monitor these volunteers to ensure quality legal services are provided to clients.
  • Review reduced-fee lawyer invoices and handle other administrative aspects of reduced-fee foreclosure panel.
  • Supervise MVLS housing counselor to ensure client access to loan modifications and other programs available through Maryland’s mortgage settlement or other DHCD programs intended to help distressed homeowners. 
  • Recruit and supervise experienced foreclosure lawyers to provide case review services to housing counseling agencies on a reduced-fee basis.
  • Attend all DHCD Legal Partners team meetings, trainings, webinars, etc. and stay informed about developments in state and federal housing programs that prevent foreclosure and provide loss mitigation assistance.
  • Coordinate services with other Foreclosure Project Legal Partners to ensure clients receive appropriate legal services and MVLS is not duplicating services.
  • Identify volunteer training needs and work with Pro Bono Resource Center to ensure MVLS volunteers and reduced fee lawyers receive up-to-date foreclosure prevention training 
  • Other project management duties as assigned.

Job Skills

  • Strong written and oral communication skills
  • Must possess strong time management and organizational skills
  • Able to work with diverse client population and to collaborate with legal partners
  • Skilled in case management, dealing with multiple priorities and deadlines
  • Ability to identify and resolve problems quickly.
  • Ability to work independently and manage a team.

 Professional Experience: 

  • J.D. from an accredited law school.
  • At least three years of housing/foreclosure legal experience.
  • Must be admitted to practice in Maryland and in good standing.
  • Demonstrated commitment to public interest
  • Strong computer skills, especially Microsoft Office Suite and case management software
  • Outside practice of law is not permitted


Salary commensurate with experience, in the mid $50,000 range.  Generous benefits, including paid health insurance.  Full-time exempt position funded through a three-year grant with Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and the Maryland Attorney General’s Office.  Employment is dependent upon grant funding.

How to Apply:

Please write “Foreclosure Prevention Project Manager” in e-mail subject line and attach cover letter and resume in Microsoft Word format. 

Send email with attachments to

Please no telephone calls.

Countrywide lending discrimination SETTLEMENT *** DEADLINE EXTENDED TO 1/25/13 ***

Last year, the U.S. Department of Justice settled a case against Countrywide for discrimination in fair lending practices among Hispanic and African-American borrowers who received loans from Countrywide between 2004 and 2008.  Awards range from $200-$15,000.  

Letters were sent to borrowers in November 2012 with a deadline of January 7, 2013.  (See sample letters attached.)  THE DEADLINE HAS BEEN EXTENDED for two weeks UNTIL JANUARY 25, 2013. 

Only borrowers contacted as part of the settlement are eligible.  Sample letters are attached.  Questions about the settlement should be directed to (800) 843-5148 or

National single borrower sample letter.pdf399.97 KB
National multiple borrower sample letter.pdf416.82 KB

NCLC Fair Debt Collection Practices Conference

Thu, 03/07/2013 (All day) - Fri, 03/08/2013 (All day)

This introductory course will get you up to speed on your first debt collection abuse cases. Learn about the laws protecting consumers from abusive debt collection practices and proceed to more in-depth sessions on developing these cases and a fair debt collection law practice. Faculty includes top consumer lawyers from across the country. CLE credit is available in most states (up to 15 hours).

The tenative agenda is available at:

Maryland Legal Aid advocates who are interested in attending should complete a Level 2 training request form and submit to Yoanna at by January 18, 2013. This will allow us time to approve requests and where appropriate submit scholarship applications by the January 28 scholarship deadline.


Location Name: 
Baltimore Sheraton

Consumer Law Task Force Meeting

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 10:00am - 12:00pm

If you are a member of the Task Force, find the GoToMeeting information at:

Be sure to sign in to see the page.

Locations of meetings for 2013:

Feb. 19  – Metro
April 16  – Baltimore
June 18  – Metro
Aug.  20  – Baltimore
Oct. 15  – Metro
Dec. 17 – Baltimore

for addresses of the above offices, go to:

Location Name: 
Maryland Legal Aid
various offices
Lonni Summers
Maryland Legal Aid

Conf. call 1/7 re PJC's amicus brief re freezing joint spousal and trust accounts

At our last Consumer Law Task Force meeting, the group expressed an interest in signing on to PJC’s amicus brief in O’Brien v. Bank of America, No. 824 (Court of Special Appeals 2012).  PJC should have a draft of its brief by January 4 and will circulate the draft brief to those who have expressed an interest in signing on.  If you are interested in reviewing the brief and participating in a short LAB conference call on Monday January 7 at 9:30am, please email me at 

About the case:

Plaintiff O’Brien appeals the Baltimore City Circuit Court’s decision finding that Section 11-603(c) of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article does not violate the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Section 43 of the Maryland Constitution, and/or Article 19 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights.  PJC's brief will focus on the due process issue, specifically arguing that it is never acceptable to permit joint spousal accounts or trust accounts to be frozen pending a court’s decision regarding their attachment, since Section 11-603 exempts those accounts from garnishment, and because of the protection provided by Maryland common law to tenancy of the entireties property.




Garnishment of joint accounts -- looking for information, anecdotes

In furtherance of an amicus brief, the Public Justice Center would like our help gathering information regarding garnishment of joint accounts in Maryland.  

The type of information PJC is looking for:

-anecdotes regarding garnishment of joint accounts (e.g., how long individuals' bank accounts are tied up before they can get them released, how the process affects people, the difficulty people have in figuring out what to do)

-the frequency of garnishment of joint accounts (e.g. how many callers or clients do you see with this issue and over what period of time)

If you have information or anecdotes to share, please contact Jean Zachariasiewicz, Murnaghan Appellate Advocacy Fellow, Public Justice Center, at or (410) 625-9409 ext. 222.

Thanks so much for your help.



The End of Social Security Checks: The 2013 Transition to Electronic Payments

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 2:00pm - 3:30pm


The End of Social Security Checks: The 2013 Transition to Electronic Payments


Wednesday, December 5, 2012


2:00 PM - 3:30 PM EST

Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:


In March 2013, most individuals who are currently receiving Social Security, veterans' benefits, and other federal payments by paper check will be required to change to electronic payment. This webinar will address what will happen next year, what options seniors have, and how you can help them make the transition.  We will also discuss new protections for bank accounts, the Direct Express prepaid card, and privately purchased prepaid cards.


Walt Henderson, Director, EFT Strategy Division, U.S. Department of the Treasury
Margot Saunders, Of Counsel, National Consumer Law Center
Lauren Saunders, Managing Attorney, National Consumer Law Center

Additional sponsorship for this Webinar is provided by a grant from the Administration on Aging.  This webinar is part of a series of National Elder Rights Training Project webinars for the National Legal Resource Center.

There is no charge for this webinar.
All time listings are in Eastern Standard Time.

If you have any questions email

National Consumer Law Center

New Self Help forms for Identity Theft

The Maryland Crime Victim's Resource Center (MCVRC) has developed some new tools for people faced with identity theft.  You can find some good material about identity theft on the People's Law Library, written by MCVRC staff, at

In addition, MCVRC has created an online interactive interview for clients to help them prepare the documents needed to try to correct problems arising from identity theft, as described in the article on the People's Law Library above.

The directions from the article above specifically for using the interviews:

To use the interactive interview for responding to someone collecting a bill that is in your name, but a bill you did not authorize, you will need a copy of the bill in hand when you start the interview. 

You will also need to provide a copy of your proof of your identity. 

Click below to use the interactive interview for a Letter to a Creditor, directly collecting their own bill.  This might be a credit card statement you received that contains charges you didn’t make or authorize.  It can be any situation where your credit or identity was used without your permission.

Letter to Creditor

To use the interactive interview for responding to a company or law firm that is a Debt Collector, or collecting a bill that is in your name but you did not authorize, you will need a copy of their letter in hand when you start the interview. 

You will also need to provide a copy of your police report and proof of your identity, by copying these and putting them in the letter.  Click below to use the interactive interview for a Letter to Debt Collector.

Letter to Debt Collector

To use the interactive interview to create a letter to a Credit Bureau, seeking investigation and removal from your credit report of items that are the result of identity theft, you will need a copy of your credit report in hand when you start the interview. 

You can obtain a free copy of your credit report from each credit bureau here. You do not have to pay for a copy of your credit report.  One credit report from each company is available to you free each year.  You can get a copy of your credit report from Annual Credit Report.

You will mail the letter and attachment, a copy of your credit report with the incorrect items circled, a copy of the police report you made of the identity theft and proof of your identity with the letter. 

Click below to use the interactive interview for a Letter to a Credit Bureau.

Letter to Credit Bureau

Identity theft by domestic violence perpetrators - Consumer Issues

Mon, 12/17/2012 - 2:00pm - 3:30pm

On December 17, 2012 at 2 pm EST, NITVAN will be hosting a free webinar on the use
of identity theft by domestic violence perpetrators
as a method of
power and control. Featured speakers include Erika A. Sussman, the Executive
Director of the Center for Survivor Agency and Justice, Sara Shoener, Project
Manager of the Consumer Rights for Domestic Violence Survivors Initiative at
CSAJ, and Deirdre Keys, the coordinator of the Minnesota Identity Theft
Coalition.   Contact Merry O'Brien on 301-952-0063 or

Location Name: 
Merry O'Brien
Maryland Crime Victims' Resource Center, Inc.

Maryland Chooses Essential Health Benefits Benchmark

At the Sept. 27, 2012 Health Care Reform Coordinating Council meeting, Maryland chose the state employee health plan as the benchmark for Maryland's essential health benefits (EHB). 

See for the materials from the meeting and reports from the EHB Advisory Committee and Wakely Consulting.

Media coverage includes:

Md. health reform panel approves state health plan as benchmark in health care reform
 By Associated Press
 ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A Maryland panel working on implementing federal health care reform voted Thursday to use the state employee health plan as a benchmark for other plans that will be available to small businesses and individuals for two years, starting in 2014.
 To view the entire article, go to


Maryland picks model for essential health insurance benefits

Coverage includes acupuncture and pediatric dental

By Andrea K. Walker, The Baltimore Sun

September 27 2012, 8:57 PM EDT

Under national health care reform, insurance policies in Maryland will be required to cover acupuncture for pain management and chiropractic care in certain cases.

The complete article can be viewed at:,0,7774664.story Maryland picks model for essential health insurance benefits

Baltimore County Pro Bono Day

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 9:00am - 12:00pm

Volunteer lawyers needed!  The Baltimore County Bar Association's Pro Bono Committee, in partnership with Legal Aid Bureau and Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service, will be sponsoring a free legal advice clinic in Baltimore County on Saturday, October 20, 2012 between 9AM-Noon.  Please contact Yoanna Moisides, if you would like to volunteer.

Location Name: 
Randallstown Library Branch
8604 Liberty Road
Yoanna Moisides, MD Legal Aid Bureau
Baltimore County Bar Association

Summary of Benefits and Coverage and Uniform Glossary

From the National Health Law Program:

Beginning today, consumers in the individual health insurance market will have access to a Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) and a Uniform Glossary of medical and insurance terms to help them better understand their health insurance coverage and compare coverage between plans.  Individuals in group health plans will have access to these documents at the start of their next plan year or during the next open enrollment period beginning on or after September 23, 2012.

All insurance companies must use a standardized SBC template to provide consumers with the same information in easy to understand language. The SBC includes a list of benefits covered and the attendant out of pocket costs if received from in-network or out-of-network providers, as well as any limitations and exceptions to coverage.  Below is the official announcement from the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) with links to the SBC template, the Uniform Glossary of Terms, and other related information.



Monday, September 24, 2012


Health care law ensures consumers get clear, consistent information about health coverage

 Because of the health care law, millions of Americans will have access to standardized, easy-to-understand information about health plan benefits and coverage.  Insurance companies and employers are now required to provide consumers in the private health insurance market with a brief summary of what a health insurance policy or employer plan covers, called a Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC). Additionally, consumers will have access to a Uniform Glossary that defines insurance and medical terms in standard, consumer-friendly terms.

These tools will also assist employers in finding the best coverage for their business and employees. 

 “Thanks to the health care law, Americans will now get clear, consistent and comparable information when shopping for health coverage,” said Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.  “These new tools empower consumers to make informed decisions about their health coverage options and to choose the plan that is best for them, their families, and their business.”

 The SBC includes a new comparison tool, called Coverage Examples, which is modeled on the Nutrition Facts label required for packaged food, that helps consumers compare coverage options by showing a standardized sample of what each health plan will cover for two common medical situations—having a baby and managing type 2 diabetes. 

 The SBC will include information about the covered health benefits, out-of-pocket costs, and the network of providers. The glossary defines terms commonly used in the health insurance market, such as “deductible” and “co-pay,” using clear language.    

 Before today, people often lacked uniform and comparable information when shopping for coverage, often relying only on marketing materials to make decisions.  Starting this fall, consumers will receive the SBC free of charge and in writing from the consumers’ insurance company or employer.  This information can be requested at any time, but it will also be made available when shopping for, enrolling in or renewing coverage.  It will also be provided whenever information in the SBC changes significantly. 

 The SBC will be available beginning today for consumers in the individual health insurance market.  For enrollees in group health plans enrolling during an open enrollment period, it will be available during the next open enrollment period that starts on or after Sept. 23, 2012. For enrollees who enroll outside of an open enrollment period, it will be available at the start of the next plan year that begins on or after Sept. 23, 2012.

 The SBC and Glossary were developed in collaboration with the Department of Labor, Department of Treasury, consumer groups, the insurance industry, State Insurance Commissioners, and other stakeholders.

 For more information on today’s announcement, please visit:

 For a sample SBC, please see:

 For the SBC template, please visit:

 For the Uniform Glossary, please visit:


Reaching Out: Innovative Communication Strategies FTC Event

Thu, 10/04/2012 - 9:00am - 4:45pm

 From the FTC:

Reaching Out:  Innovative Communication Strategies

Thursday, October 4, 2012
9:00 am -4:00 p.m.
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
The Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection will host a conference on October 4th to examine how collaboration with our legal services and government partners can help us all in our efforts to serve and inform consumers.  The discussion will focus on two areas that we have heard are of particular interest to many such partners:  outreach to underserved communities and debt collection work.
The day will begin at 9 a.m., when BCP Bureau Director David Vladeck will announce the launch of a new FTC website that gives consumer protection basics in a clear and direct style, and also equips consumer advocates with tools for outreach and education.  Participants will then join in a roundtable to discuss outreach-related successes and challenges, as well as how we can collaborate to better serve hard-to-reach audiences.  Please bring your ideas and questions.  We will hear from speakers representing a number of dynamic legal services, non-profit, and government organizations, including Pro Bono Net, the National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA), Neighborhood Legal Services, and the National Asian American Coalition.
At  12:30 p.m., we’ll turn our focus to one of the biggest issues we hear about:  debt collection.  The first panel of the afternoon will look at the work that government agencies, including the FTC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, are doing to address specific areas of concern.  A second panel, moderated by Jim Sandman, the President of the Legal Services Corporation, will focus on the same question from the perspective of legal services advocates. Finally, the afternoon will feature Peter Holland, Visiting Law School Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland School of Law, who will talk about defending junk-debt-buyer lawsuits. 
Stay tuned for the full event agenda.  If you are planning to attend, please send an RSVP with your name, organization and email address to Martha Lee at  Space is limited so please register now.  We hope to see you there!


Serve on FTC panel 10/4 on new debt collection rules?

We were contacted by one of the program organizers for the event below to see if anyone at LAB would be interested in participating in the morning round-table discussion by serving on a panel with other local legal services providers.  Our counterparts from Virginia and D.C. will be on the panel so it would be good for us to have a presence as well.

Specifically, the FTC would like someone who could talk about the Maryland court's rule changes in debt buyer cases that went into effect earlier this year and how/if they have impacted the litigation being brought against consumers.

Please contact Sabrina ( or Heather ( if you would like to participate on the panel.  Thanks.



From: Daffan, Kathleen []

Sent: Thursday, August 30, 2012 3:14 PM

To: Momyer, Aquanetta; acohen; amix; Barbara Dieker; ''; ''; Hystad, Cheryl; Nguyen, Christine; cgreene; ''; ''; Dan Koslofsky; ''; ''; Ellen Taverna; ''; ''; ''; ''; Moy, Grant; Reimert, Gretchen; ''; ''; Partesotti, Harbour; Gomes, Heather; Park, Hong; ''; ''; jscruggs; ''; ''; ''; ''; ''; ''; Goldberg, Jennifer; ''; ''; ''; ''; ''; ''; Yuzuik, Josie; Zelikovitz, Justin; ''; ''; kobrien; ''; kdiggin; ''; Kristen Dewire; ''; ''; Carwell, Louise; Moss, Lorna; ''; ''; ''; ''; ''; ''; Peyton Whitley; ''; ''; Wear, Sabrina; ''; ''; ''; vanessa.natale; Taitano, Vicki; ''; ''; ''; ''

Cc: Thomas, Tracey; Leach, Jennifer; Lee, Martha

Subject: October 4th Event at the FTC - Save the Date!


Reaching Out:  Innovative Communication Strategies


Please join the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection on October 4th to discuss how we can best work together to serve and inform consumers.  The discussion will focus on two areas that we have heard are of particular interest to many of our legal services and other partners:  outreach to underserved communities and debt collection work.


At 9 a.m., BCP Bureau Director David Vladeck will announce the launch of a new FTC website that gives consumer protection basics in a clear and direct style, and gives groups that work with consumers tools they can use.  At 9:45 a.m., participants will join in a roundtable to discuss outreach-related successes and challenges, as well as how we can collaborate to better serve hard-to-reach audiences.  Please bring your ideas and questions.  At  12:30 p.m., we'll apply some of the lessons learned to one of the biggest issues we hear about:  debt collection.  The afternoon will include discussions on the landscape of debt collection litigation, especially junk-debt buyers, and will include a training featuring Peter Holland from the University of Maryland School of Law.


When:                   Thursday, October 4, 2012

            9-11:30 a.m., 12:30-4 p.m.

            (Please allow time to get through Security)

Where:            Federal Trade Commission 

            600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

                       Room H-332


More details to follow.  If you're planning to attend, please send an RSVP with your name, organization and email address to Martha Lee at  We hope to see you there!



Kati Daffan

Federal Trade Commission

Division of Marketing Practices

600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW

Mailstop H286

Washington, DC 20580

Phone: 202-326-2727

Fax: 202-326-3395



Maryland wins big grant for its insurance marketplace

By Meredith Cohn, Baltimore Sun

Maryland won its most significant infusion of federal money to launch its health insurance exchange, now formally called the Maryland Health Connection, state officials announced Thursday.

The $123 million will help build the marketplace, where hundreds of thousands of uninsured Marylanders will buy coverage under the federal health care law. It is expected to be running by October 2013, and insurance is slated to kick in the following January.....,0,2034015.story

See also:

To get updates on the Maryland Health Connection, go to; or text CONNECTED to 69302.

Continuation of medical coverage for divorced spouses


Here is my question:

We concluded a divorce hearing on July 6, 2012 in which client received an absolute divorce, rehabilitative alimony, child support and the court also ordered that  the husband continue to provide medical insurance for Client and Child through his employer provided group insurance plan.

On Friday, August 1, 2012 , my client found out from Husband's employer, a large hospital, that the Husband allowed his insurance to lapse as of June 30, 2012, just before our divorce hearing.  Husband, who is pro se, denies this and claims he he renewed  the insurance.  No notice was given to my client of the lapse.

To be brief, the employer reinstated the Child on the insurance policy, but refused to reinstate Client. The employer is claiming that she is no longer a beneficiary.  I know that under MD Code Insurance § 15-408, allows for a divorced spouse to continue to be covered on the other party's health insurance. 

What is there any way to compel the insurance company to reinstate her?


8/13 Scholarship deadline for NCLC Consumer Rights Conference

NCLC's 21st Annual Consumer Rights Litigation Conference will be at the Seattle Westin Hotel October 25-28, 2012.  You may now register for it on-line by going to:


               We are also offering a limited number of partial scholarships to cover partial registration fees that are available for nonprofit and legal services advocates, private attorneys, and assistant attorneys general.  Scholarship applicants will find more information on our conference website.    The application deadline is this Monday, August 13th, 2012. 

Fill out the application by clicking here.

               Thousands of lawyers have come to the Consumer Rights Litigation Conference over the years for new ideas, insights, and inspiration.  The main conference offers over 17 hours of breakout sessions and plenaries, 57 courses to choose from, and top national speakers. This a            nnual conference is the primary gathering of attorneys and advocates providing aggressive and professional representation for American consumers.    

               It's your opportunity to build your practice representing elder consumers facing foreclosures, debt collection abuses, predatory lending, auto fraud, credit reporting, and more.

                In addition to the main conference there will be two intensives on Thursday, Oct.25 and the Class Action Symposium on Sunday, Oct. 28, following its Saturday evening reception.  On Thursday morning there will be a new intensive for recent law graduates and other lawyers,  Starting a Consumer Law Practice: Nuts, Bolts, and Inspiration!  An intensive on Consumer Rights Advocacy for Domestic Violence Survivors will run all day Thursday.

               The main conference starts 10:30 a.m. Thursday with an orientation for newcomers with breakouts starting at 1:00 p.m.  The main conference runs until Saturday 4:50 p.m. followed by the cocktail reception for the Consumer Class Action Symposium. Additional conference information is available at .

               Please share this email with colleagues with a consumer law practice who may not know about the conference.

               Click here for more information about our conference, speakers, agenda descriptions, online registration, hotel booking, and scholarship information:  Consumer Rights Litigation Conference

Upcoming Money-Saving Deadlines:

-          Aug. 13th  Scholarship Application Due (to fill out the application click here:  Scholarship Application)

-          Sept. 10th  Early Registration Deadline

-          Oct. 1st –  Discounted hotel room Deadline

We hope to see you in Seattle!

 Jessica Hiemenz
 Development Events & Training Coordinator
 National Consumer Law Center®
 7 Winthrop Square, 4th Floor
 Boston, MA 02110

 (617) 542-8010

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