Public Justice and North Carolina Legal Team Hold Payday Lenders Accountable
From a Public Justice Media Release:
It took six years and countless briefs, motions, court dates and arguments. But, most of all, it took a determined team of public interest advocates to finally win justice for the tens of thousands of North Carolinians who turned to large payday lending companies in a time of desperation, only to be ripped off by the lender.
Advance America, the country’s largest payday lender, charged illegal fees and interest rates exceeding 450% – twelve and one half times the legal limit in North Carolina. Companies called “Check ‘n’ Go” and “Check into Cash” took similar advantage of their strapped customers, who needed quick relief from financial pressures, but were unable to get ordinary loans.
A great team of attorneys and Public Justice held them accountable.
After years of litigation in state, federal, and appellate courts, the three payday lenders were forced to pay over $45 million to the financially-struggling customers they illegally overcharged – thanks to Jerry Hartzell of Hartzell & Whiteman, LLC, in Raleigh-Durham, NC, and his co-counsel: former Public Justice Foundation President Mona Lisa Wallace and her colleague, John Hughes of Wallace & Graham, PA, in Salisbury, NC; Board Member Richard Fisher of Cleveland, TN; Public Justice Senior Attorney Paul Bland; Mal Maynard of the Financial Protection Law Center in Wilmington, NC; and Carlene McNulty of the North Carolina Justice Center in Raleigh.
We are proud to honor these outstanding attorneys with the Public Justice Achievement Award for their outstanding work in the North Carolina Payday Lending Litigation. The North Carolina Attorney General’s banishment of several major payday lenders will protect future borrowers from illegal lending schemes. But this superb team won justice in the courts for those already wronged.
The average payday loan interest rate in Tennessee is about 400%. Advance America has more than 20 locations in Middle Tennessee alone.