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California sues JPMorgan Chase over debt-collection practices

Reporter Sarah Hashim-Waris from The Times newsroom on the lawsuit filed by California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris' office accusing the banking giant of flooding the state's courts with questionable lawsuits to collect overdue credit card debt.

SACRAMENTO -- The state is suing JPMorgan Chase for what is says are illegal debt-collection methods against tens of thousands of California credit card consumers.

The suit, filed by Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris is Los Angeles County Superior Court on Thursday, accuses the company of “frenzied” lawsuit filings against people who fell behind on their loan repayments in California -- more than 100,000 between January 2008 and April 2011.

"To maintain this breakneck pace, [the company has] employed unlawful practices as shortcuts to obtain judgments against Californian consumers with the speed and ease that could not have been possible if [it)]had adhered to the minimum substantive and procedural protections required by law."

The suit focuses on the company's alleged use of "robo-signing" legal documents "without any knowledge of the facts alleged in the document and without regard to the truth and accuracy of those facts."

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"Chase abused the judicial process and engaged in serious misconduct against California credit card borrowers," Harris said in a statement announcing the lawsuit.

Through a spokesman, JPMorgan Chase said it would decline immediate comment on the lawsuit.

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