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LEGAL TERMS

BANKRUPTCY

A legal proceeding that relieves you of the responsibility of paying your debts or provides you with protection while attempting to repay your debts. There are ... (more...)
A legal proceeding that relieves you of the responsibility of paying your debts or provides you with protection while attempting to repay your debts. There are two types of bankruptcies -- liquidation, in which your debts are wiped out (discharged) and reorganization, in which you provide the court with a plan for how you intend to repay your debts. For both consumers and business, liquidation bankruptcy is called Chapter 7. For consumers, reorganization bankruptcy is called Chapter 13. Reorganization bankruptcy for consumers with an extraordinary amount of debt and for businesses is called Chapter 11. Reorganization bankruptcy for family farmers is called Chapter 12.

TRADE DRESS

The distinctive packaging or design of a product that promotes the product and distinguishes it from other products in the marketplace -- for example, the shape... (more...)
The distinctive packaging or design of a product that promotes the product and distinguishes it from other products in the marketplace -- for example, the shape of Frangelico liqueur bottles. Trade dress can be protected under trademark law if a showing can be made that the average consumer would likely be confused as to product origin if another product were allowed to appear in similar dress.

CREDITOR

A person or entity (such as a bank) to whom a debt is owed.

FCBA

See Fair Credit Billing Act.

GARNISHMENT

A court-ordered process that takes property from a person to satisfy a debt. For example, a person who owes money to a creditor may have her wages garnished if ... (more...)
A court-ordered process that takes property from a person to satisfy a debt. For example, a person who owes money to a creditor may have her wages garnished if she loses a lawsuit filed by the creditor. Up to 25% of a person's wages can be deducted.

DISCHARGE (OF DEBTS)

A bankruptcy court's erasure of the debts of a person or business that has filed for bankruptcy.

REDEMPTION

In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, when the debtor obtains legal title to collateral for a debt by paying the creditor the replacement value of the collateral in a lump s... (more...)
In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, when the debtor obtains legal title to collateral for a debt by paying the creditor the replacement value of the collateral in a lump sum. For example, a debtor may redeem a car note by paying the lender the amount a retail vendor would charge for the car, considering its age and condition.

UNDUE HARDSHIP

The circumstances in which a debtor may discharge a student loan in bankruptcy. For example, a debtor who has no income and little chance of earning enough in t... (more...)
The circumstances in which a debtor may discharge a student loan in bankruptcy. For example, a debtor who has no income and little chance of earning enough in the future to pay off the loan may be able to show that repayment would be an undue hardship.

AUTOMATIC STAY

An injunction automatically issued by the bankruptcy court when a debtor files for bankruptcy. The automatic stay prohibits most creditor collection activities,... (more...)
An injunction automatically issued by the bankruptcy court when a debtor files for bankruptcy. The automatic stay prohibits most creditor collection activities, such as filing or continuing lawsuits, making written requests for payment, or notifying credit reporting bureaus of an unpaid debt.

SAMPLE LEGAL CASES

Komarova v. National Credit Acceptance, Inc.

... This lawsuit arises from the efforts of defendant National Credit Acceptance, Inc., to collect a consumer debt from plaintiff Anastasiya Komarova that she did not owe. ... The plaintiffs there, like plaintiff here, were pursued for payment of a credit card debt they did not owe. ...

Dey v. Continental Central Credit

... K. Dey appeals a judgment of dismissal entered after the court sustained without leave to amend the demurrer of Continental Central Credit (Continental) and ... et seq.) Dey contends he stated a cause of action based on a fee defendants charged him to collect a debt he owed a ...

Liceaga v. Debt Recovery Solutions, LLC

... Despite her pleas to the agency that she was a victim of identity theft and had no Sprint account, they appear to have disbelieved her and ultimately reported her "default" to several credit reporting agencies, without advising that the debt was contested, thus harming her credit ...