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Matthew Scott Berkus

Matthew Berkus’s Answers

6,364 total


  • Is my landlord obligated to give me a copy of my lease if I have misplaced it?

    My landlord and I have a disagreement about the terms of our lease. I have misplaced my copy of the lease and she will not give me a copy. Does she have any legal obligation to provide me with a copy if I ask?

    Matthew’s Answer

    No, but it does seem silly that she won't. I would tell her that if you are unwilling to provide a copy, you must not be very confident in your position, what are you trying to hide (however realistically, when it comes to landlord tenant disputes, the landlord is right about 90% of the time, and if you don't have a copy of the lease for reference, your position is pretty weak)

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  • Is the 3-yr SOL grandfathered in if I am being sued on a credit card debt that was over SOL before new law in 2011 to 6 yrs?

    I need to know if this is a defense to a credit card lawsuit? The account was already past the 3-year SOL law at the time the 2011 bill was passed making SOL on credit card debt 6 years. Does the "grandfather" defense apply here? Or, in the alt...

    Matthew’s Answer

    The interpretation that is most likely is that if the SOL had already expired by the time the new law took effect, it remains expired (put another way, the new law did not reincarnate a dead SOL). The stumbling block for most debtors is not figuring out how the SOL lasts, the stumbling block is figuring out when the clock started ticking. That is harder than it sounds.

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  • Is a chapter 13 bankruptcy basically where you lump all debts together divide the total by 60 months and that is your payment?

    I know that there are priority debts that have to be paid in full but is this a fair and simple explanation?

    Matthew’s Answer

    Where did you read that nonsense? I can practically guarantee that if you GOOGLE "What is chapter 13 bankruptcy?" You won't find a website that says that. What you describe is Consumer Credit Couseling (except that is CCC programs, you still pay interest). A chapter 13 payment is determined by the debtor's income and expenses, not how much you owe (except for priority debt). So, to your question, no, that is not how chapter 13 works.

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  • Accurate information in the credit report has to be all the same in the three of the credit reports when talking about the FCRA

    mi question is when accurate information is needed has to be all the same reports in the 3 of credit bureaus when talking about the FCRA. what about in one credit bureau who has two accounts with the same number they need to be same in all or ...

    Matthew’s Answer

    The information needs to be "objectively" accurate. The accuracy of a report is not determined by how other agencies report the account (although, that information may be relevant in a dispute, it is not determinative).

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  • Debt collector didn't disclose who they were trying to contact?

    I got a phone call today from a debt collector who left a voicemail, in the voicemail he said "this is so and so with an important message from such and such a debt collector and this is our number, give us a call back". What are the rules on ...

    Matthew’s Answer

    Actually, that sounds like a compliant call. If they debt collector is not 100% sure that the phone number they are calling is the debtor's, they are not supposed to say the name of the person they are trying to reach.

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  • As a Corporation in Tx if I am summoned before the court, Am I required to be represented by counsel ?

    One of my customers is in bankruptcy not me.

    Matthew’s Answer

    Is all you got was the notice of bankruptcy and meeting of creditors, that isn't anything to lose any sleep over, you don't really need to do anything with that. Your customer filed BK, you are getting notice because they likely owe you money, and you are likely never going to see a dime of that money. However, if you are being sued in bankruptcy (meaning, you received a document title "summons"), maybe a 542, 547 or 548 action to recover funds paid to you, that is different and you WILL need to hire an attorney to deal with it if you so choose. Now, you, as an officer, can contact opposing counsel, see what they want and maybe reach a deal...but if you plan on filing any sort of response with the court, you WILL need an attorney for that.

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  • Someone wrote me a check for money they owed me and then stopped payment on the check before I could deposit it.

    I still have the check. What legal recourse do I have to get the money owed to me. It is a substantial amount.....

    Matthew’s Answer

    If you never tried to deposit it, how do you know there was a stop payment? Since you never tried to deposit (negotiate) the check, you don't have any more recourse than you did before. This person owes you money (so you claim) and is not paying you. If the person won't pay, then you sue in court. That is your recourse.

    To trigger criminal bad check laws, one prerequisite is that you deposit the check and the check gets returned - non-sufficient funds. You will also need to read the bad check law to make sure it covers your situation. Bad check laws tend to cover payments for goods and services; if the person simply owes you a debt (i.e. you loaned money), the bad check law may not cover that scenario. But, in any event, none of this matters because you didn't deposit the check.

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  • My Mother is having some health issues and is deep in debt. Will her loans and mortgage fall on me if she passes?

    She does not have enough life insurance to cover her outstanding debt.

    Matthew’s Answer

    No, heirs do not become liable for the decedent's debt. However, her estate, such that is, would be liable for the debts. Typical consumer, unsecured loans, don't do much when it comes to the passing of the debtor, but they could file a claim against the estate. The mortgage is a different issue. If no one pays the mortgage, the mortgage lender forecloses and takes the house.

    Maybe mom should consider filing bankruptcy to eliminate the debt.

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  • Teacher harassment of student in private school

    A friend of mine has a child in a California private school. The child is being harassed and ridiculed by his/her teacher, such that the child's parents have pulled the child out of the school. My friend wants to take legal action. Can someone ...

    Matthew’s Answer

    Given the complexity and nature of the case, the best advice you can give your friend is to speak with an attorney about the situation. I assume you are not a licensed attorney, so you providing legal advice to your friend is practicing law without a license (a crime).

    Most likely, the claims at issue are tort claims, not statute based. However, since you did not provide any underlying facts, there is no way to direct you to a relevant statute. Saying someone is a victim of harrasment is, itself, a legal conclusion, not a fact. Legal conclusions can only be drawn by the application of facts to the law. You didn't give any facts, so we have no way to evaluate what law might apply.

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  • In Colorado, is it legal for car insurance company to cancel a policy permanently due to an expired DL even after renewing it?

    An insurance company is cancelling this car policy due to an expired DL. They say the will exclude me permanently from coverage even if DL is renewed in the future.

    Matthew’s Answer

    I can certainly see why they would cancel the policy for having an expired DL, driving without a license (a crime) is usually a coverage exclusion anyway. You shouldn't be driving, so what are they insuring...your unlawful behavior...they don't have to go along with that. As a private enterprise, they are not required to give you insurance. It is not like they are the only insurance company in world. As James suggest, you can report the issue to the Commission on Insurance, but that isn't going to help you in the short run, you remedy is to find a different insurer.

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