Rusty Hardin & Associates is pleased to announce it has designated nonprofit Texas Appleseed as the recipient of a $240,500 cy pres award that resulted from a class action lawsuit filed by RH&A against a payday lender for predatory practices.
Cy pres awards are unallocated funds from a legal settlement or judgment that can be donated to a nonprofit organization.
Texas Appleseed, whose mission is to promote social, economic, and racial justice for all Texans, in 2014 uncovered the unlawful filing of criminal complaints by payday loan businesses to collect consumer debts. Threatening or pursuing criminal prosecution to collect a debt violates fair debt collection practices and is a violation of the Texas Constitution Bill of Rights.
Texas Appleseed’s research, which included public information requests to 21 counties and four justice of the peace courts, exposed more than 1,500 criminal bad check and theft-by-check complaints filed by payday loan businesses in Texas.
In 2015, partner Daniel Dutko filed a lawsuit on behalf of several clients who faced wrongful criminal complaints submitted by a payday loan business. Lucinda Vine, et. al. v. PLS Financial Services, Inc., et al. was settled out of court, and the plaintiffs received financial compensation.
“Texas Appleseed was an integral partner in this case and in ensuring predatory lenders are held accountable,” Mr. Dutko said. “Some money remained after the plaintiffs were compensated, and we had to determine how to allocate it. Considering the scope and impact of Texas Appleseed’s work, they were the clear choice to receive this cy pres award.”
“We are thankful for Daniel and Rusty Hardin & Associates for their leadership and support of our nonprofit,” said Ann Baddour, director of Texas Appleseed’s Fair Financial Services Project. “It will help us continue our work supporting all Texans.”
To learn more about Texas Appleseed, click here.