“I often think of one case in particular: our client was an older guy who didn’t have much money. He had encountered some issues with credit card debt — many decades before he came to us — and he had felt so bad about having had these struggles years before that he avoided consumer debt altogether after that.
He also had a lot of really serious dental problems. All of his top teeth had been removed and replaced with dentures, and his bottom teeth were worn down almost to the gum line. But because he was on a fixed income, he had to squirrel away money, a little bit at a time over years, to pay for dental work. And he had finally saved up enough to pay to fix his bottom teeth.
But then a debt collector called him, and threatened him over debt that didn’t exist — that the collector had completely invented. This collector so terrified our client that he turned over his bank account information to the collector, who then drained his account — including all of the money he had been saving for his dental work. At this point, our client began worrying that his deteriorated teeth would result in abscesses or some other serious problem, and he didn’t know how to get help because he no longer had the money he was going to use to fix his teeth.
So, he decided to fix the problem himself: he started pulling his own teeth out.
These horrible debt collectors wrecked this man’s life, and did it on purpose.
After the client finally came to us for legal help, we took his case against the collectors to trial. We were hoping just to win enough money to fix his dental problems and punish these debt collectors. But at the end of the trial, the jury surprised us: they gave our client a $10 million verdict.
Cases like this are difficult, but it’s rewarding to work in a consumer protection firm and take on serious wrongdoing. It was amazing to be able to sit next to this client when the jury delivered that verdict for him.
I think it was a pretty great moment in his life, too.”