Court Ruling Strikes Down Wage Garnishments of Lower Income Wage Earners Supporting a Family

The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals has ruled that creditors cannot garnish the wages of someone earning less than $1,000 per paycheck as long as that money is being spent on living expenses.

The court ruled on May 12, 2017 in the case of Merrida v. Credit Acceptance Corp. The case originated out of Mobile involving two women who were sued by Credit Acceptance Corp. for payment of car loans. According to court documents, Samantha Nettles owed more than $13,500, and Lenita Merrida owed almost $10,500. The amount included missed payments, interest and court costs.

They were first represented by Legal Services Alabama (LSA) last year, which argued the women’s wages of less than $1,000 per paycheck were protected by the Alabama Constitution from garnishment. After a ruling against the women at the circuit court level, LSA and the Southern Poverty Law Center appealed the decision and argued that they could not support their families on what they made if their checks were garnished.  Previously the $1000.00 dollar exemption had been interpreted as a one-time exemption of $1000.00. The ruling in Merrida v. Credit Acceptance Corp. established that instead of a one-time exemption that the $1000.00 exemption should be applied to each pay check so that anyone earning less than $1000.00 per pay check is protected from wage garnishments that prevent them from providing the necessities for their families.

Press Release Regarding Federal Lawsuit Against Arab City Board of Education

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As an attorney, I serve the greatest and most noble profession in America. The legal profession provides me the honor of being a voice for children who would not otherwise have a voice. Out of respect for our Honorable Court system, I do not want to specifically comment on the ongoing case except to say that the Due Process Hearing, which occurred prior to filing the federal lawsuit, was specific to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and as such, was very narrow in scope in that it could not take Alabama state law into consideration except as it relates to the IDEA. It is my contention that the use of a Rifton chair constituted a violation of Alabama’s state mechanical restraint law and was part of an environment that was psychologically damaging to my client. However, we will let the Federal District Court Judge decide this case and not public opinion.

Press Release Regarding Federal Lawsuit Against Arab City Board of Education

As an attorney, I serve the greatest and most noble profession in America. The legal profession provides me the honor of being a voice for children who would not otherwise have a voice. Out of respect for our Honorable Court system, I do not want to specifically comment on the ongoing case except to say that the Due Process Hearing, which occurred prior to filing the federal lawsuit, was specific to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and as such, was very narrow in scope in that it could not take Alabama state law into consideration except as it relates to the IDEA. It is my contention that the use of a Rifton chair constituted a violation of Alabama’s state mechanical restraint law and was part of an environment that was psychologically damaging to my client. However, we will let the Federal District Court Judge decide this case and not public opinion.

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