A legal case in which J. Thomas Black represented the consumer plaintiff was recently published in Westlaw, a major legal publisher. In Martinez vs. Beneficial Texas, Inc., 2007 WL 1174186 (Bkrtcy. S.D. Tex. 2007), Mr. Black had sued a home equity loan lender in bankruptcy court on behalf of a client for violating consumer protection laws. The lender asked the Bankruptcy Judge to refer the case to “arbitration,” which is a non-court procedure for resolving disputes, which often favors lenders and big businesses.
Mr. Black successfully argued that because the lawsuit was essentially an “objection to claim” which is the exclusive business of the bankruptcy courts, the Bankruptcy Judge should decide the dispute. Following this decision, the defendant settled the case rather than go to trial. Since the decision is published, the decision and the Judge’s legal reasoning will be helpful to other consumer attorneys, trying to keep their legal cases from being decided by arbitration.