Consumers Take Debt Collector Grant & Weber of Calabasas, Ca. to Trial Over Alleged False Credit Reporting and Alleged Damage to Credit Scores

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Roger & Mary Ellis of Newbury Park, California, begin a federal court trial against debt collector Grant & Weber of Calabasas, Ca. on Tuesday, April 11, 2006 over allegations that Grant & Weber issued, and refused to remove, allegedly false and inaccurate credit report information about debts the Ellises did not owe. The false and inaccurate credit report entries allegedly cause the Ellises to lose credit opportunities, including a home loan for a new home they were intending to buy. Ellis v. Grant & Weber, Case No. CV04-02007 WDK (RZx).

In 1996, Roger and Mary Ellis made an investment into a company called Hyperox, which in turn was supposed to deliver free hyperbaric chamber treatments to them. Little did Roger Ellis know that these hyperbaric treatments would come back to haunt him and ruin his credit report years later.

After receiving hyperbaric treatments and after never receiving a bill for them, Hyperox went out of business. Hyperox was annexed to Washington Medical Center, a hospital which in its own turn declared bankruptcy in 1999. Sometime in 1998, after Hyperox went out of business and about the time Washington Medical Center was shuttering its operations, someone at Washington Medical center assigned all of the outstanding debts to Washington Medical to another hospital. This hospital in turn assigned these debts to Grant & Weber, a debt collector in Calabasas.

In 1998, Grant & Weber contacted Roger Ellis to pay over $76,000 in alleged debts for the supposedly free hyperbaric treatments. Roger Ellis wrote back to Grant & Weber and explained that the treatments were to be for free and that he did not owe anything to Hyperox or to Washington Medical Center. Roger Ellis then did not hear anything about these alleged debts for four years.

In the summer of 2002, Roger Ellis and his wife applied for a home loan to buy a new home in southern Ventura County. When his loan broker pulled his Experian credit report, Roger Ellis learned that Grant & Weber had reported the Washington Medical Center debts and had continued to report them for four years. Roger Ellis disputed the debts under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, but Grant & Weber refused to remove the debts. As a consequence, Roger and Mary Ellis lost their opportunity to buy their new home.

“Debt collectors like Grant & Weber need to take more responsibility for their credit reporting. Grant & Weber thinks that it’s judge, jury and executioner when it comes to credit reporting, but we believe a federal jury will inform them otherwise,” states Ellis’ attorney, prominent Los Angeles consumer protection attorney Robert F. Brennan of Brennan, Wiener & Assoc. in La Crescenta.

Brennan continues, “Grant & Weber had a legal obligation to investigate the alleged debts when Roger Ellis disputed it, but Grant & Weber just blew off its obligation because it wanted to collect the money. Grant & Weber, like most debt collectors, collects on a contingency, meaning they don’t get paid unless they collect money from the debtors. That creates a disincentive to fairly and impartially investigate disputed debts, because Grant & Weber would have to cancel any debts found to be false, inaccurate or unverifiable. When they cancel debts, they cannot collect them. It’s like the fox guarding the henhouse, which is why the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act is such an important piece of consumer protection legislation.”

Trial commences on April 11, 2006 in Courtroom 10 of the Federal District Court at 312 N. Spring St., and is expected to last approximately 2 weeks. Ellis v. Grant & Weber, Case No. CV04-02007 WDK (RZx).

About Robert F. Brennan: Robert F. Brennan, Esq. and his firm, Brennan, Wiener & Associates, 3150 Montrose Ave., La Crescenta, Ca., handle identity theft and wrongful credit report damage cases for residents of Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange and Ventura Counties. Brennan, Wiener & Associates have a track record of successfully cleaning up credit reports and also of obtaining compensation for their clients. Mr. Brennan is well known for taking this fairly technical area of the law and breaking it down into its simplicity so that anyone can themselves, without the assistance of an attorney, clean up derogatory marks on their credit reports which do not belong there. When consumers find themselves unable to clean up their credit reports on their own, that’s where Brennan, Wiener & Associates steps in, to ensure that the wrongful derogatory marks get cleaned up and to ensure that the consumers so affected receive adequate compensation.

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