ZSWS attorney Patrick A. Shoulders, of the law firm Ziemer, Stayman, Weitzel & Shoulders, has been named a Senior Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America (LCA). Shoulders is a past President of the Evansville Bar Association, past Chair of the Indiana Bar’s Litigation Section, and long-time Co-Chair of the Indiana Trial Advocacy Skills College. He has also been elected to membership in the American College of Trial Lawyers, the American Board of Trial Advocates, and the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel.
The Litigation Counsel of America is a trial lawyer honorary society composed of less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers. Fellowship in the LCA is highly selective and by invitation only. Fellows are selected based upon excellence and accomplishment in litigation, both at the trial and appellate levels, and superior ethical reputation. Senior Fellow status in the society is reserved for advanced commitment to and support of the LCA Diversity Law Institute and Trial Law Institute.
ZSWS Partner Jean M. Blanton has received the Spirit of the Eagle Award from the University of Southern Indiana. Jean is actively involved with USI and has previously served as President of the Alumni Council and currently serves as Treasurer of the University of Southern Indiana Foundation. She has also volunteered her time for various projects with the University and to mentor USI students interested in careers in the law.
ZSWS Partner Patrick A. Shoulders has received the “Excellence in Continuing Legal Education” award from the Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum. Pat received the award for his years of “active participation and work to enhance the quality and professionalism of continuing legal education in the State of Indiana.”
Accepting the award, Pat remarked that “it is an honor to share ideas and practices with other lawyers in an effort to improve the delivery of justice to the citizens of our state.”
The New York Times* recently published an article relating to private student loans held by the National Collegiate Student Loan Trust (the “Trust”) that should remind all individuals and businesses that maintaining proper records is essential to establishing any legal obligation. In this case, the Trust is having difficulties collecting private student loan debt due to missing paperwork. Ziemer, Stayman, Weitzel & Shoulders LLP attorneys, Molly Briles and Mike Luttrull, were recently successful in representing a student against the Trust, when it claimed it was the owner of student loan debt but could not provide the necessary documentation. As a result, $100,000+ in student loan debt was eliminated without a trial or an appeal.
Simply: Student acquires a student loan from a lending institution that requires the student and sometimes a cosigner to sign a promissory note for the loan. After student receives the loan, that lending institution often bundles it with other students’ loans and sells the loan bundle to a second entity that often further sells it to another entity (e.g., the Trust). Each transfer, however, must be documented in detail and sometimes the second or third entity cannot prove the prior transfers or even the underlying loan, due to missing paperwork. Thus, they cannot prove that they are the owner of each student’s loan that, together, comprises the bundle. Nonetheless, those entities still attempt to collect on the debt through a student debt servicer (e.g., American Education Services) or debt collector (e.g., Transworld Systems). Courts are now recognizing that those attempts should fail.
*Stacy Cowley and Jessica Silver Greenburg, “As Paperwork Goes Missing, Private Student Loan Debts May Be Wiped Away,” New York Times (July 17, 2017). The New York Times article can be found at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/17/business/dealbook/student-loan-debt-collection.html (last accessed July 18, 2017).
This alert has been prepared by Ziemer, Stayman, Weitzel & Shoulders LLP to provide information on recent legal developments of interest to our readers. It is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship.
Congratulations to ZSWS Attorney Molly Briles for the well deserved recognition at the annual Volunteer Lawyer Program luncheon for her efforts leading the charge to recruit attorneys to provide pro bono services to those needing legal assistance with protective orders and for her ongoing commitment and dedication to helping those who need but cannot afford legal services. For her commitment to pro bono legal services, Molly received the Susan K. Helfrich Award for Excellence in Pro Bono Services. Congratulations and well deserved, Molly!