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Matthew Scott Berkus

Matthew Berkus’s Answers

7,353 total


  • If I ask a biller for a validation of debt letter & they refuse to send it, can they still continue reporting me to collections?

    My credit reports show I owe numerous medical debts to collection agencies. No details were given--no doctor names, procedures codes or dates, just round numbers. I contacted them and asked who was the original biller. Once they told me, I cont...

    Matthew’s Answer

    The original creditor (the medical provider) is not under a legal obligation to validate the debt. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act only applies to the 3rd party collector, not the original creditor.

    You received services and didn't pay, that is fair game. You don't really have the holy high ground on this issue.

    If you send the validation request to the debt collector, they must validate. But under the law, to validate a debt, the collector need only provide you with the name and address of the original creditor and the balance due. That's it.

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  • Do I have grounds to sue the school for misleading information that will put me in debt?

    I am a college student who receives federal aid in order to attend school since my income is $0. The school told me to attend fall 2015 classes despite knowing whether or not I could receive aid based off of being on academic suspension for one te...

    Matthew’s Answer

    It is not a clear a cut lawsuit. More information is needed. As a general matter, if a student does get academic suspension, that will, usually, disqualify the student for most financial aid. Had you withdrawn, and not attended, then you may have been required to reapply and the school could have (and probably would have) denied you admission. The root problem here is your academic performance, not the school and what they said. Doesn't sound like a compelling case.

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  • Can I enter photographs as evidence by myself, or do I have to have an attorney do that for me?

    I parked in a handicapped spot that isn't properly marked (Aurora Parking Ordinance Article 15, Chapter 146, Section 1507.) I think I have a good chance citing the parking ordinance, but I would really like photos of the parking space and surr...

    Matthew’s Answer

    You do understand that the ordinance you cited is, essentially, a building code. There is a very large gap between "improperly" marked and "not" marked. If the spot is in no way identifiable as a handicap spot, then you might win.

    Take all the photo's you want, I am sure the court will be lenient and let you admit them.

    However, if you park in a spot that is still identifiable as a handicap spot even if not up to code, you are still guilty. If you win, come back and let us know.

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  • Can the school be held liable/responsible for the medical bills for my son?

    My son attends a charter school 6th grade. When I picked him up, he informed me that he fell down the stairs. He said other boys fell back as well which caused him to fall backwards; he hit his entire right side. The school didn't notify me. My s...

    Matthew’s Answer

    No. The school didn't cause your son to be hurt. Even if they notified you and you picked him up early, you would have still treated the same injury.

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  • Is child support payments still owed to the other parent even though custody is 50/50?

    In a perfect world our plan of separation is to file for divorce, sell the house that is jointly owned, and split custody of our 1 year old 50/50.

    Matthew’s Answer

    As Stephen points out, parenting time is only 1 factor and never a dispositive factor in determining child support. Payment of child support is a formula. If the couple's individual incomes are close, you can usually make it work, but if the incomes are too disparate, then the formula will require the higher earner to pay some child support (again, in a 50/50 physical custody situation).

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  • Can one gym transfer its memberships to another unaffiliated gym?

    A fitness company closed one of its gyms where I has a membership. The gym was sold to another company in a different state. The memberships, however, were transferred to a gym in the same city where an old gym was located. Is it legal to sell a b...

    Matthew’s Answer

    Short answer, yes. As Stephen points out, it depends on what the contract says to some degree, but from the business side of things, a contract is an asset. There is nothing illegal about splitting off the assets and selling some to company A and others to company B etc. Unless the contract specified (which it won), they don't necessarily need the other parties (your) consent.

    The real question is whether the contract can be enforced against you at this point and whether the sale of the contract and the resulting situation is a de facto breach of the contract. To answer those question, you need to have an attorney review the contract and gather some facts. Usually if you keep pushing the issue, the company will relent and cancel the contract.

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  • Do you have the experience and expertise in filing successful actions before the MN Lawyers Responsibility Board?

    Am involved in a family Trust that involves what I believe are unethical actions on the part of the Trustee. Looking for expert assistance in consultation about the case and the process, and review and revision of my written complaint for the MN ...

    Matthew’s Answer

    This Q&A forum is not a help wanted board. This forum is the educational side of the website to provide legal information to people to help them figure out their legal needs. If you want a lawyer, use the find a lawyer section to find local attorneys, ask people you know, or use google, then pick up the phone and start calling.

    As for the attorney regulation board, even if there are ethical issues, understand that attorney regulation is not going to intervene in the underlying matter. All attorney regulation will do is determine if the attorney in question breached one or more of the rules of professional ethics and if so, discipline the attorney. That result is probably not going to help you with the underlying issue.

    By all means, you probably need to get an attorney (and yes, you will need to pay). But the attorney will primarily assist with the issues related to the trust and trustee (or whatever is going on in your situation), attorney discipline would be secondary.

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  • Can I get fired for leaving work after scheduled time if it was approved by my supervisor?

    My spouse recently got a job so i took in a work schedule to verify employment and times needed to leave work it was approved by my supervisor but on a day i had already stayed two hours past my scheduled time i told the head supervisor i had got ...

    Matthew’s Answer

    Not enough information to really answer. The fact that hurts you is that you had stayed and were (probably) already into overtime. At that point, so long as no labor laws were violated regarding the total number of hours worked and whatnot, if the head supervisor said you needed to stay, and you walked off the job, they could fire you for that.

    You should probably talk to your supervisor and try to smooth this over.

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  • Will a house in a single member LLC be eligible for homestead exemption?

    If I own a condo in a single member LLC, me being the member, and file for chapter 7 bankruptcy, will the homestead exemption cover the allocated state equity? Or will with LLC remove the homestead exemption?

    Matthew’s Answer

    Exemptions are rights of the "debtor." The LLC is not a debtor in your bankruptcy, the LLC is an asset in your bankruptcy. Since you don't own the property (the LLC does), you cannot claim a homestead exemption (as a side note, to get a homestead exemption, the debtor (you) must also live in the property as your primary residence).

    If you need to file bankruptcy and you have property held in this manner, get an attorney, you have issued far beyond the ability of a DIY bankruptcy.

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