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Sailor Cleared of Parents’ Debt with Volunteer Attorney Help

August 26, 2017

A young Navy servicemember resided with his parents in their apartment, both while a minor and after he reached the age of adulthood. His parents fell behind on rent payments. The servicemember was not a party on his parents’ lease, as he was only listed as an occupant. However, when the sailor was denied a request for automobile funding, he learned that he was being held accountable for his parents’ unpaid rent and damages on the apartment and the landlord and collection agency were holding him responsible for this debt. The sailor learned that the longer the improper claim appeared on his credit report, the more difficult it would be for him to obtain credit and may also impact his security clearance.

After efforts by the sailor’s military legal assistance office to resolve the dispute with the debt collection agency were unsuccessful, the servicemember was referred to the ABA Military Pro Bono Project which was able to quickly place the servicemember with an experienced pro bono attorney in his jurisdiction. After numerous attempts to resolve the matter, the sailor’s attorney represented him in a lawsuit against the debt collector and, within several months of filing, negotiated a settlement agreement between the parties out of court. The sailor’s pro bono attorney felt this representation had been one of the most rewarding of his career, and more importantly, the servicemember can now return to his military duties without fear of further debt collection on this claim and with his security clearance intact.

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