A class-action lawsuit filed in St. Louis City Circuit Court on Monday by former clients of Missouri-based consumer attorneys James Eason and Richard Voytas as well as The Eason Law Firm (formerly known as Eason & Voytas) outlines serious allegations that serve as a reminder for consumers to be aware of a wolf in sheep’s clothing, according to the Missouri Collectors Association (MCA).

“This lawsuit showcases that far too often occurrence of so-called consumer advocates seeking to exploit lawful debt collection activities in Missouri and throughout the country,” said Mark Schiffman, spokesperson for MCA.  “Legal action taken on behalf of Missouri consumers should help resolve legitimate wrongdoing and not be used as a vehicle to take advantage of them in order to put money in their own pockets.”

The suit potentially representing hundreds of consumers filed by St. Louis law firm The Barton Law Group alleges that The Eason Law Firm withheld from its clients thousands of dollars in settlement funds and judgment awards relating to Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Telephone Consumers Protection Act claims against collection agencies. Conversion of these funds are a significant breach of fiduciary duty to the clients they had pledged to serve. According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs are seeking to recover the withheld funds, punitive damages, attorney’s fees and court costs. 

“Legitimate debt collectors are not an enemy of consumers,” Schiffman said.  “They are advocates for protecting consumer rights while balancing the difficult job of recovering rightfully owed obligations that maintain America’s credit-based economy.” More information about working with a debt collector can be found at www.askdoctordebt.org.

Missouri collection agencies annually recover more than $1.3 billion on behalf of public, private and non-profit sector clients; employ more than 7,500 Missourians with a payroll of $252 million; donate more than $1 million to local charitable causes and volunteer nearly 14,000 hours to community-based organizations.

The Missouri Collectors Association is a State Unit of ACA International, the largest organization representing collection agencies and the credit industry.

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