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LEGAL TERMS

LIEN

The right of a secured creditor to grab a specific item of property if you don't pay a debt. Liens you agree to are called security interests, and include mortg... (more...)
The right of a secured creditor to grab a specific item of property if you don't pay a debt. Liens you agree to are called security interests, and include mortgages, home equity loans, car loans and personal loans for which you pledge property to guarantee repayment. Liens created without your consent are called nonconsensual liens, and include judgment liens (liens filed by a creditor who has sued you and obtained a judgment), tax liens and mechanics liens (liens filed by a contractor who worked on your house but wasn't paid).

DOING BUSINESS AS (DBA)

A situation in which a business owner operates a company under a name different from his or her real name. The owner must file a 'fictitious name statement' or ... (more...)
A situation in which a business owner operates a company under a name different from his or her real name. The owner must file a 'fictitious name statement' or similar document with the appropriate agency -- for example, the county clerk. This enables consumers to discover the names of the business owners, which is important if a consumer needs to sue the business.

LOSS DAMAGE WAIVER (LDW)

Rental car insurance that makes the rental car company responsible for damage to or theft of a rental car. This insurance is a major consumer ripoff, as it ofte... (more...)
Rental car insurance that makes the rental car company responsible for damage to or theft of a rental car. This insurance is a major consumer ripoff, as it often duplicates coverage provided by the renter's regular car insurance and/or the credit card she uses to rent the car. Nevertheless, hard-sell practices by rental car agents often dupe people into buying LDWs they don't really need. LDW is also called 'collision damage waiver.'

FAIR LABOR STANDARDS ACT (FLSA)

A federal law that guarantees a worker's right to be paid fairly. The FLSA defines the 40-hour workweek, sets out the federal minimum wage, states requirements ... (more...)
A federal law that guarantees a worker's right to be paid fairly. The FLSA defines the 40-hour workweek, sets out the federal minimum wage, states requirements for overtime and places restrictions on child labor.

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.

COSIGNER

A person who signs his or her name to a loan agreement, lease or credit application. If the primary debtor does not pay, the cosigner is fully responsible for t... (more...)
A person who signs his or her name to a loan agreement, lease or credit application. If the primary debtor does not pay, the cosigner is fully responsible for the loan or debt. Many people use cosigners to qualify for a loan or credit card. Landlords may require a cosigner when renting to a student or someone with a poor credit history.

LIABILITY

(1) The state of being liable--that is, legally responsible for an act or omission. Example:Peri hires Paul to fix a broken pipe in her bathroom, but the new pi... (more...)
(1) The state of being liable--that is, legally responsible for an act or omission. Example:Peri hires Paul to fix a broken pipe in her bathroom, but the new pipe bursts the day after Paul installs it, ruining the bathroom floor. This raises the issue of liability: Who is responsible for the damage? Peri claims that Paul is responsible, and sues him for the cost of hiring another plumber to fix the pipe and replacing the floor. Paul, in turn, claims that the pipe manufacturer is responsible, because they supplied him with faulty materials. Both Peri and Paul must prove their claims in court; if Paul and/or the manufacturer is found liable, one or both will have to pay damages to Peri. (2) Something for which a person is liable. For example, a debt is often called a liability.

CURRENT MONTHLY INCOME

As defined by the new bankruptcy law, a bankruptcy filer's total gross income (whether taxable or not), averaged over the six-month period immediately preceding... (more...)
As defined by the new bankruptcy law, a bankruptcy filer's total gross income (whether taxable or not), averaged over the six-month period immediately preceding the bankruptcy filing. The debtor's current monthly income is used to determine whether the debtor can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, among other things.

CREDITOR

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

SAMPLE LEGAL CASES

Jaffe v. Pacelli

... ALDRICH, J. I. INTRODUCTION. In this case, the superior court entered a judgment against a debtor, Zenaida C. Pacelli (Pacelli), that included an award of attorney fees. Years later, Pacelli sought to discharge the debt in bankruptcy court. ... 2. The bankruptcy proceedings. ...

Imperial Merchant Services, Inc. v. Hunt

... section 3287, for a total of $179.41. 385 Hunt filed a voluntary petition for bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California (the bankruptcy action). Shortly thereafter, Hunt filed a putative ...

Aceves v. US BANK NA

... deed of trust on her residence. About two years into the loan, she could not afford the monthly payments and filed for bankruptcy under chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code (11 USC §§ 701-784). She intended to convert the chapter ...