Thursday, October 31, 2013

Countering the opposing counsel's excessive fee claim in a credit card case

Attorney’s fees sought by debt collectors: 

How much is too much?

There is no straightforward answer to this question. Suffice it to say that, as a matter of empirical observation, the range of amounts claimed is broad.  A number of debt collection firms do not claim attorney’s fees at all (or have stopped doing so), while some individual collection attorneys swear under oath that similar efforts on behalf of a plaintiff that engages in industrial-scale debt litigation merits thousands of dollars for a single case. Some members of the creditors rights bar are clearly greedier than others.
A distinction can also be drawn between amounts requested in pleadings (or disclosed in discovery responses) and amounts actually sought by fee affidavit attached to a motion for summary judgment, or attested to by the attorney for the Plaintiff at trial. Some debt collection firms qualify the amount stated in the petition with the words “at least”, leaving open the possibility that they might eventually claim more, others state a dollar figure, but regularly file a fee affidavit later that seeks less. Some plaintiffs or lawfirms drop or lower the fees they previously pleaded for so as to induce a settlement or agreed judgment.  

Attorney’s fees incurred in a civil case are inherently unliquidated. Therefore the judge (rarely, the jury, since there is hardly ever a jury in a debt collection case), must hear evidence, and the evidence regarding amount sought is evaluated based on the criteria of reasonableness and necessity. What is reasonable in one debt collection case that is virtually identical to most others – hundreds, if not thousands of others -- is highly debatable. It provides fodder for a swearing match among members of the bar all claiming expert status with respect to the question of how much their work is worth. 

This blog post focuses on the amount(s) of attorney’s fees claimed by debt collection lawyers. Others explore the legal basis for a fee award in a collection case; the applicability of Texas law vs. the law of the creditor’s home state; and the other fee-related matters.


The principal evidentiary requirements for a viable fee claim under Chapter 38 (and likely on any other basis) encompass the elements of reasonableness and necessity of the amount claimed. Chapter 38 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code is the statute upon which most debt collection attorneys rely as authority for attorney fee recovery as an exception to The American Rule (under which parties are otherwise responsible for their own legal fees). Many also plead that the underlying contract authorizes legal fees; sometimes even the summary judgment affidavits signed by non-attorney employees of debt-buyers include an averment to that effect along with other boiler-plate verbiage.  

Reasonableness is a fact issue because attorney effort and time expended vary greatly across the broad spectrum of civil cases and, as such, require evidence. Reasonableness, of course, also depends on comparison with what other attorneys charge for similar efforts in similar cases, and thus requires a certain level of familiarity with the practice of law and the relevant market for legal services.

Reasonableness figures more prominently in disputes over attorney's fees than necessity.

Disputes over necessity typically involve part of a fee claim specifically attributed to certain activities that were arguably superfluous, redundant, or of marginal relevance (busywork to drive up fees); or should not have been performed by an attorney; or not by a senior attorney at the highest hourly rate. But all this presupposes that detailed information is presented to the court.

A typical fee affidavit in a routine debt collection case does not meticulously itemize activities, not to mention incorporate by reference an attached timekeeper or billing sheet. Some affidavits mention specific tasks, but only in a very general fashion that is not case-specific. The reason for is the premium placed on economy and efficiency of mass debt collection litigation in order to maximize profitability for the lawfirm and, more generally, return on investment for debtbuyers.

A generally-phrased affidavit can be used and reused in numerous cases time and again. It just needs to be customized with the appropriate case style, dated, and signed by an attorney before a notary.    

The fee affidavits of many debt collection firms are based on templates with standardized verbiage just as pleadings and motions and are part of computerized document production systems. The amount of the attorney's fee is either identical for all cases involving a particular plaintiff ($400 or $500), or computed as a percentage of the amount of the amount in controversy (e.g., 20%, 25%, or a third of amount of the debt).

Because the paperwork is automated (handled with computers and litigation software packages), a standard debt-collection case typically receives a minimum amount of attorney attention as long as no court appearances are involved. Even if an attorney appearance is involved, the same attorney will often make appearance in several cases on the same day in the same local courthouse. Trials may be as short as five minutes, particularly when the Defendant defaults, or appears without attorney and is at a loss what to do, and merely has to be told what to do, like answering questions under oath and help prove the plaintiff’s case.

Nor would it make sense for the law firms to try to account of attorney effort to the purpose of proving a fee claim. Given the high volume of cases, the amount of attorney time attributable to any particular case would be minimal. Nor would much of the management of the paper flow (or, increasingly, of the e-filing routine) even involve attorneys.

Arguably, claims for attorneys fees for such things as “preparing” a case, “drafting” a pleading and “arranging for service” are dubious because most of the process is performed by computers and low-level operatives who may not even have training as paralegals.

Data from a spreadsheet (or equivalent data file) is merged with standard litigation templates. All petitions look alike except for case-specific information such as defendant’s name, address, SSN digits, amount of the debt, and – perhaps, but not always – identity of the original creditor (if not the plaintiff). No need for attorneys to do any “drafting”. Some standard petitions and motions even use either/or phrasing to cover alternative fact scenarios and use both singular and plural versions of nouns and proverbs so they don't have to customize the pleadings when there are two defendants rather than merely one (which is the common situation). 

Summary judgment motions are no different. Some law firms do not even have a variable data field for the amount of the judgment they seek in their standard PMSJ template itself; -- not even in the prayer or conclusion. The amount of the claimed debt instead appears only in the attached Affidavit of Debt (or similarly denominated summary judgment affidavit), or in a summary judgment exhibit. Of course the amount is not omitted from the proposed order granting the summary judgment. That's where it counts, if a judgment is granted.  

That said, if the amount of attorney’s fees claimed in a summary judgment affidavit does not exceed a few hundred dollars, it may not be worth the trouble challenging it, unless the fee affidavit is patently defective in and of itself.   
If the fee affidavit is in proper form, but the amount claimed is excessive, however, it should be challenged by counter-affidavit. Since the reasonableness of attorney's fees requires expertise, the affidavit must be by an attorney with experience in the relevant jurisdiction, i.e. local market for legal services.  


A counter-affidavit by the Defendant's own attorney is the most obvious method to challenge the Plaintiff's fee claim; but it may also be accomplished through another attorney, whether or not affiliated with the same law firm.

It is important to make sure that the counter-affidavit does not involve the same weaknesses that could provide a basis to attack the plaintiff’s affidavit as deficient, such as not providing any factual detail; not establishing the affiant’s qualifications to testify on fees; or omitting any mention of reasonableness and necessity.

The counter-affidavit should do more than deny that the fee attested to by the opposing counsel is reasonable. It should explain why it is not reasonable, and offer competent testimony as to what (lower) amount would be reasonable, considering the nature and complexity of the case (or rather lack of complexity).

If the defendant is himself an attorney, he can create and file his own counter-affidavit. A current member of the Texas Supreme Court did just that in response to a motion for summary judgment by American Express when sued on a credit card debt. The trial judge granted the motion anyhow, but the court of appeals reversed on the attorney's fee issue.     


Here is an  example for the Dallas Court of Appeals that illustrates of how an attempt to controvert a fee affidavit can go wrong for lack of care in preparing it.

We cannot agree with [COMPANY] that it presented controverting evidence on the issue of fees. The affidavit submitted by [COMPANY']s attorney recites that the attorney is "familiar with the work that has been done in this case" and that the reasonable and necessary attorney's fees "for handling the Plaintiff's case in this lawsuit based upon the quality of the work done by the Plaintiff's attorney through the summary judgment hearing is a good deal less than [DOLLAR AMOUNT OF ATTORNEYS FEES]."  
The affidavit, however, does not address what was described by CSX's lawyer as the work that was done, what is customarily charged in similar cases, why the time expended was excessive to accomplish the work provided, or that the work performed was unnecessary. [case cite in support] The affidavit submitted by Pegasus did not sufficiently controvert CSX's attorney's affidavit or raise a fact issue.


A less common approach is to offer a fee affidavit filed by a different debt collection lawyer (of a different firm) in a similar case, preferably a case involving the same plaintiff in the same local jurisdiction. This would be done for comparison purposes. If one debt collection attorney (e.g., Stephanie Briggs Donaho or James Hull) testifies that $3,500 is reasonable in a $10K case, and another one (say, Christopher Osborn) testifies that the reasonable amount of a fee in a case of this nature is $400, that should be sufficient to create a fact issue on fees, and thus prevent an award of fees by way of summary judgment. It may also have the beneficial effect of reigning in attorneys who leave the mainstream with testimony on the supposed value of their work because their credibility will be placed in question by presentation of a "comparable" fee affidavit executed and filed by a colleague in a similar case. 

Chapter 38 of the CPRC: Fee Recovery under Texas law as exception to The American Rule 


$400 fee affiadvit of Attorney Joel H. Klein in a PHARIA debt suit in Bexar County District Court
$400 fee affidavit of Attorney Benjamin K. Sanchez in debt collection suit by debt buyer  in San Antonio
$400 fee affidavit of Attorney Ben Sanchez in debt suit by Pharia L.L.C. in county court at law of Bexar County 
$500 fee affidavit of Christopher D. Osborn in original creditor suit by Discover Bank in Bexar Cty District Court 

$500 fee affidavit of Christopher Osborn in a lawsuit by American Express Centurion Bank in Bexar County District Court 


Liquidated vs. unliquidated; Attorneys fees not a liquidated claim

Choice of Law and Attorney’s Fee Claims by Debt Collection Attorney under Texas law

This blog post discusses the basis for recovery of attorney's fees in debt suits filed in Texas, and the question whether Texas law even applies. Under the American Rule, each party pays its own fees regardless of who wins unless a statute specifically authorizes an award of attorney's fees in the type of lawsuit at issue or the dispute involves a contract that provides for recovery of fees under specified circumstances. Both bases for fee recovery are available in Texas, but Texas law does not necessarily govern a debt claim because most credit card agreements specify another jurisdiction in a choice-of-law clause. This raises the question if and when the choice-of-law issue should be raised. Since choice-of-law is contractual, it is – like other contractual rights – subject to waiver.

Other articles on this blog discuss or will discuss the matter of proving and disputing attorney's fees, i.e. reasonableness of the amount claimed, which, in the context of summary judgment and default judgment, typically involves a fee affidavit by the Plaintiff's counsel. Fee claims vary greatly in amount among collection attorneys. Some debt collection law firms do not claim any and therefore do not submit attorney fee affidavits either. -- > Attorney fee affidavits   

When debt collection lawyers seek attorney's fees -- not all do -- they typically claim such fees both under the underlying contract, and under Chapter 38 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code.

To recover fees under the contract, the Plaintiff would have to prove its claim as a breach of contract claim (i.e. produce the contract and prove Defendant's liability under it) and show that such contract authorizes attorney fee recovery. If the contract provisions says the creditor may recover "reasonable" legal fees, the reasonableness element would require evidence because it is a fact issue. Reasonable attorney's fees are not liquidated.

To recover fees under Chapter 38, authorizes fee recovery for contract claims and certain other specified types of claims, but additional requirements must satisfied to take advantage of this statutory authorization for an award. A separate post on this blog discusses these requirements, including the presentment requirement as a condition precedent

The implication of the broader scope of Chapter 38 for debt collection cases is that the plaintiff can recover attorney’s fees even if it does not base its claim on breach of contract (i.e. breach of credit card agreement in a credit card debt suit), but uses an alternative theory, such as account stated, which courts of appeals in some appellate districts (but not all) have blessed as a viable theory of recovery even though the original creditor is a bank, rather than a merchants that sold goods on credit, or a provider of professional services.   


The principal evidentiary requirements for a viable fee claim under Chapter 38 (and likely on any other basis) encompass the elements of reasonableness and necessity of the amount claimed. 
Reasonableness is a fact issue because attorney effort and time vary across cases and, as such, requires evidence. Reasonableness, of course, also depends on comparison with what other attorneys charge for similar efforts in similar cases, and thus requires the opinion of an expert familiar with the relevant market for legal services.

Disputes over reasonableness and necessity of attorneys fees claimed in debt collection suits, and defensive strategies, are the subject of a subsequent post. (Click link). 

But the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code constitutes Texas law, and would arguably be inapplicable if the Plaintiff's claim is governed by a credit card agreement that specified that the law of another state applies. The issue can, of course, be waived, and that is what typically happens even in the minority of collection cases in which the debtor hires an attorney.

If the other jurisdiction's law is found to apply, however, the Plaintiff would have rely on authority from the other state that permits attorney fee recovery as an exception to the American Rule, and would be subject to any applicable limitations.


Most credit card agreements (CMAs) contain a choice-of law clause that specifies that the law of a state other than Texas applies to the extent federal law does not apply. The most common states are Delaware, South Dakota, and Utah.

Federal law is mentioned because the issuers are federally regulated; many are even established under federal law, as reflected in part of their name: National, NB for national bank, or NA for National Association. Only national banks are allowed to use the term "national". A list on national banks can be found on the website of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Chapter 38 of the Texas Civil Practice of Remedies Code authorizes fee recovery for a successful breach-of-contract cause of action irrespective of where the contract was signed and what state's law applies. It even authorizes fee recovery in a case involving an oral contract, and on other specified types of claims, such as sworn account, materials furnished, and services rendered.

In order to thwart a plaintiff's claim for recovery of attorney's fees under Texas law (i.e., dispute its right to invoke chapter 38 altogether), the Defendant would have to seek enforcement of the choice-of-law provision in the relevant contract. -- > Motion for judicial notice and application of another state's law 

It may also be necessary to convince the trial court that a claim for attorney's fees a matter of substantive law, and that is not a matter for which the forum state supplies the law. There is such a dispute regarding on whether the statute of limitations is procedural or substantive. As for attorney's fees, however, existing case law stands for the proposition that recovery of attorneys' fees is a substantive, not a procedural, issue and that it will be governed by the law governing the substantive issues.   


Probably not, in most cases, for several reasons: (1) The choice-of-law state will likely also authorize recovery of attorney's fees by statute or rule; and (2) the Defendant would either have to prove up the contract and its terms, or agree with the Plaintiff that the unsigned version of a cardmember agreement that it produced (attached to its petition, in discovery, or as a summary judgment or trial exhibit) is the correct one, and that both parties are bound by its terms. In other words, the Defendant would give up all arguments and objections relating to Plaintiff's proof of the correct contract and Defendant's liability under it.

The Defendant would surrender a potential defense to Plaintiff's claim because the Plaintiff has the burden to prove the contract terms, and may have difficulty doing so. After all, cardmember agreements are rarely signed (by the consumer/card holder) and issuing banks typically have (or have over time issued) numerous different versions. Therefore, a creditor must establish the Defendant's liability on the unsigned contract document offered as a trial or summary judgment exhibit with extrinsic contract-formation proof, i.e. proof of offer and acceptance.


If there is no dispute or fact issue regarding the identity of the contract that controls the debt claim (and Defendant's liability under its terms), it may be worthwhile researching whether the law of the jurisdiction specified in the choice-of-law clause differs in a significant way, and whether it is more or less favorable to the defendant regarding fees. This is the key consideration generally when choice-of-law is a potential issue in any lawsuit, and the reason why lawyers spar over it.  

Researching the other state’s law may pay off where the Plaintiff's fee claim seems excessive. But it would be only one option among several, to counter an unreasonably large fee claim. See -- > Countering attorney fee claim and fee affidavits.

There may, of course, be good reasons to file a motion for judicial notice and application of the law of the state chosen in the choice-of-law clause, -- reasons that have nothing to do with attorney's fees.

A savvy attorney for the defense may, for example, challenge a Plaintiff's attempted recovery under a common-law theory other breach of contract on which the Plaintiff has favorable Texas appellate precedent (in some appellate districts) that have no counterpart under the jurisprudence of the choice-of-law state.

(click on image to enlarge the display) 

US Bank NA ND: North Dakota 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Disputing the Existence of Deemed Admissions

Facing alleged deemed admissions, and disputing them   

This post discusses fact issues relating to the existence of deemed admissions, and related defense strategies, which are procedural and evidentiary in nature. Separate blog posts address, or will address, other defensive strategies:  (1) A motion to strike or un-deem, which is appropriate in a situation when the existence of deemed admissions cannot be in good faith denied; and (2) a challenge to deemed admissions on the grounds of legal sufficiency (or rather insufficiency) when the plaintiff offers no other evidence, or the other evidence is either not sufficient to entitle the plaintiff to judgment, or not admissible. The latter strategy may even be invoked post-judgment and/or on appeal.


Rule 198.1 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure entitles a litigant to serve requests for admissions on another party. Tex. R. Civ. P. 198.1. Depending upon the time they are served, the party to whom they are addressed has thirty or fifty days to respond to them. Tex. R. Civ. P. 198.2(a). Should the receiving party's response be untimely or nonexistent, each request is deemed admitted without the necessity of a court order. Id. at 198.2(c).

Texas Rule governing Requests for Admission (RFA) and Deemed Admissions
(click on image to enlarge)

Parties may use deemed admissions as a substitute for evidence, either for summary judgment purposes, or at trial. While the rule states that no court order is required for deemed admissions to arise under the rules governing requests for admissions, the proponent of deemed admissions must nevertheless establish that deemed admissions even exist in order to take advantage of them.

Such proof has two components: Proof of service on a specific date, and proof of non-response before the date responses were due, based on the date of service.

When facing a motion for summary judgment based on deemed admissions, a defendant may have several options, depending on the circumstances: (1) filing evidence of non-receipt in the form of an affidavit, and thereby rebutting any presumption of receipt; (2) pointing to lack of anything giving rise to a presumption of receipt in the first instance; (3) pointing to absence of a certificate of discovery mentioning service of a request for admissions, or failing to show the date of such service (combined with the absence of evidence of service).

At trial, the defendant may testify about non-receipt, but if he or she is represented by counsel, the client's testimony about non-receipt would carry (even) less weight because any request would have been served upon his or her attorney of record pursuant to Rule 8. The best evidence of non-receipt may be an returned envelope bearing notation or rubber stamp to the effect that delivery was attempted but not successful. That evidence, of course, would be in the possession of the attorney or law firm that tried to serve the requests and may then be trying to rely on deemed admissions.

Were the requests for admissions served? ... and if so, when? 

In order to rely on deemed admissions in lieu of evidence, the proponent must  establish that the requests for admissions were served in compliance with the rules of civil procedure.  Such a showing can be made with with a certificate of discovery and a certificate of service appended to the requests for admissions.

The difference between the two is that a certificate of service is to be filed with the court, while discovery requests themselves are not supposed to be filed with the court. Therefore, if the proponent wishes to rely on the latter, it must attach a copy of the certificate of service that certifies that the RFAs were properly served upon the defendant or his/her attorney of record on such and such date. The date is essential because it controls the deadline to respond.

Unless the request for admissions itself is already on file with the court (a practice the rules do not condone), the proponent will also have to submit a copy of the requests. Otherwise, the court would not know what propositions the other party admitted by failing to respond. Even if deemed admissions exist, the nature of the admissions must be such as to establish the essential elements of the Plaintiff's claims (or the Defendant's affirmative defense, should the defendant wish to use deemed admissions against the Plaintiff.) Therefore, the existence of deemed admissions does not necessarily guarantee that the party in whose favor they operate will win.

The presumption of receipt is rebuttable, assuming it even arises in the first instance  

Service in conformity with Rule 21a, as certified by means of a certificate of service, creates a presumption of receipt.

Rule 21a of the Tex R. Civ. P. provides for several methods of service.
Regular first class mail is not one of them. Certified mail is.
A certificate by a party or attorney of record is prima facie evidence of the fact of service. Accordingly, rule 21a creates a presumption that documents mailed as provided in the rule were received by the addressee.
However, the opposing party may rebut that presumption by offering proof that the document was not received. The rule expressly provides for this situation by stating that "[n]othing herein shall preclude any party from offering proof that the notice or instrument was not received".

But there is twist: Even when a party does not receive actual notice of requests for admissions, where the serving party has complied with the requirements of rule 21a, "constructive notice" may be established if the serving party presents evidence "that the intended recipient engaged in instances of selective acceptance or refusal of certified mail relating to the case." To take advantage of the exception, the proponent of deemed admissions must adduce additional extrinsic evidence to establish that the defendant was dodging service of the discovery requests.

Is there evidence of non-response? And if so, is such evidence competent? 

Deemed admissions arise automatically if the party to whom they are directed does not respond. Therefore, in order to used deemed admissions in lieu of evidence, the proponent must not only establish fact and date of service, but also of non-response by the other party before the deadline.

That proof requirement is most easily met with a response that affirmatively reflects its untimeliness. If the other party never responded at all, however, the proof requirement is more difficult because the absence of a response could have been caused by other reasons, such as mail having been lost by the post office (probably a dubious claim in most cases given that the rules require certified or registered, rather than regular mail) or the response having been lost or misplaced, or misfiled, in the law office handling the plaintiff's case. Debt collection attorneys typically work in (or for) high-volume law offices, so a certain error rate in processing mail can be expected. Additionally, because of the high volume, it is likely that no one person will handle all incoming mail, with the effect that no one person will know what happened to any one particular piece of mail or a particular fax.  

Unless the court is satisfied that the absence of a certificate of service certifying service of responses to request of admissions is sufficient, the proponent of deemed admissions will have to present sworn testimony as to nonreceipt. For summary judgment purposes, this would be in the form of an affidavit; on occasion of a trial, it would have to be through live testimony, or an affidavit to which the Defendant does not object on hearsay or other grounds.

A plaintiff's attempt to establish nonreceipt is typically subject to challenge on the grounds that the witness/affiant does not have or would not have personal knowledge. For summary judgment purposes, the affiant would have to establish non-receipt based on routine business duty to process and record incoming mail. The attorney of record will hardly be the one to process mail pertaining to hundreds, if not thousands, of pending case and will arguably not be in a position to establish the fact of nonresponse based on absence of a response in the files of the lawfirm that handles litigation for the bank of debt buyer. Additionally, attorney testimony is frowned upon because attorneys are not supposed to appear as witnesses, at least not on substantive matters other than reasonableness and necessity of attorney's fees.

As for establishing non-receipt at trial, it is normally not practical to have a legal secretary, mail processor, file clerk or law firm staffer appear as a witness; and in many cases it is not even practical for the attorney of record to whom all documents are to be mailed under Rule 8) to try the case.

Rule 8 of the TRCP requires that  motions and discovery be directed
 to the attorney of record of a represented party.
Many big debt collection lawfirms use an attorney other than the one that signed the first pleading or even a local appearance attorneys. An attorney who merely handles the trial portion of a case would not be in a position to know that a discovery response was not received (not to mention, never served) merely because she does not actually have the document in her briefcase, or in the on-line folder made available for her use on the law firm's secure website or cloud storage facility. The trial court judge may or may not believe her representation about what was served and received, or not received, but statements of attorneys and argument in court are not generally not admissible evidence, and are accordingly objectionable.


In addition to challenging the existence of deemed admissions on procedural grounds with respect to evidence of service and non-receipt, deemed admissions can also be dealt with in other ways, which are the subject of separate blog posts:


Motion to un-deem deemed admissions / Motion to strike deemed admissions
Are the deemed admissions legally sufficient for judgment?

Rule 198.3 is the basis for a motion to "un-deem" deemed admissions,
although it does not use that term.
Deemed admissions - Trap for the pro se defendant
The problem of deemed admissions - How does it happen and what can be done about it?


Friday, October 11, 2013

Jody D. Jenkins: Individual Profile of Debt Collection Attorney


Jody D. Jenkins - Profile of Debt Collection Attorney  

Jody Dewayne Jenkins is a debt collection attorney and name partner of JENKINS WAGNON & YOUNG, PC.. a Texas law firm formed in 2011. Jody D. Jenkins was previously associated with McCLESKEY, HARRIGER, BRAZILL & GRAF, L.L.P..

Jenkins was born in Abilene in 1976 and received his law license in May 2001. He is a graduate of Texas Tech.

Mr. Jenkin's SBOT profile, certified on 08/01/2012, does not reflect any public disciplinary history. His Texas Bar Card Number is 24029634. In addition to Texas, Jenkins is also licensed to practice law in New Mexico. He is also admitted to practice in several federal district courts in Texas.


In Harris County District Courts Jenkins is listed as attorney in 371 cases as of October 2013. Of these 69 were filed in 2010; six in 2011; 74 in 2012; and none in 2013.

A case search by state bar number yields one 2013 case for Jody Jenkins in Harris County District Courts: a declaratory judgment action against the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) pertaining to a priority lien claimed by Carmel Financial Corporation based on financing provided for a water treatment system installed at a residence in Katy. The DJA suit was filed in December 2013, but the petition in that case was actually signed by Brian Benitez, although Jenkins is listed first on the address block. Under the Texas Rules of Procedure the attorney that signs the first pleading is the attorney in charge and should have been shown as attorney of record on the docket.  

The overall count for Attorney Jenkins includes numerous lawsuits by MIDLAND FUNDING LLC, a leading buyer of charge-off credit card accounts; UNIFUND CCR PARTNERS, another debt buyer with a massive debt collection dockets across Texas a few years ago; and other bank and nonbank clients, including EDUCAP, INC; U S BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION ND D/B/A ELAN FINANCIAL SERVICES); RIVERWALK HOLDINGS LTD; PLS FINANCIAL SERVICES, INC; JOHN DEERE CONSTRUCTION & FORESTRY COMPANY.


When Attorney Jenkins files a fee affidavit in a debt collection case brought on behalf of a debt buyer such as Midland, he typically opines that his efforts in a case of such nature are worth $1,500.00. He also pleads for appellate fees: $5,000 for defending an appeal in the first instance, and $3,500 for opposing a petition for review in the Texas Supreme Court. In his standard fee affidavit, he does not condition these amounts on success in defending a judgment in favor of his client.

Attorney Jenkins' appellate record includes cases by Crown Asset Management, LLC; Unifund CCR Partners; U.S. Bank National Association, ND; Equity Residential Management, LLC; Midland Funding LLC. Not all cases are debt collection cases filed by banks and debt buyers. Mr. Jenkins also lists other practice areas on his firm's website.



Note: This is not an exhaustive list of clients


P.O. Box 420
Lubbock, Texas 79408-0420
Tel. (806) 687-9172 Fax: (806) 687-1994 (as of 2015)
Old/prior/alt Tel.: (806) 796-7351 Fax: (806) 771-8755

Firm web site URL: [acronym formed by last names of partners with "LAW" added]

Notaries used: Leslie M. Gosnell; Candace Norrod


1623 10TH ST. LUBBOCK, TEXAS 79401-2685

Editorial note: This profile of Attorney Jody Jenkins was updated on:  July 2, 2015, Jan. 22, 2014.