The Consumer Law Section Council met on Tuesday, October 30, 2007, at 12 noon.
Members Participating (7):
Danny Collins, Chair
Sarah L. Kistler
Thomas E. Lydon
David A. Maxfield
Bar Staff Participating (1):
CALL TO ORDER: Mr. Collins called the meeting to order.
MINUTES: The October 5, 2007, minutes were unanimously approved.
DISCUSSION ON 10/5/07 1 HOUR APPROVED CLE:
Council members remarked â€œFirst Mortgages Under the Consumer Protection Codeâ€ was a timely subject and that Charles M. Knight, Esquire was a good speaker. Mr. Collins mentioned the seminar materials included Department of Consumer Affairsâ€™ proposed legislation to license first mortgage lenders and require continuing education. Ms. Way would provide a copy of the CLE materials to Ms. Kistler, Mr. Cox and Mr. Lydon. Chair Collins provided an update on the proposed legislation as follows:
Â· the desired outcome would be a reduction in criminal fraud
Â· Department of Consumer Affairs representatives had recently met with mortgage banker groups, supervised lenders, and appraisers
Â· Department of Consumer Affairs would soon be meeting with AARP, Senator Thomas, Banking and Insurance, and other entities.
Â· No comments had been received to date and he requested any comments be forwarded to him.
SECTION FUND BALANCE: $3,583.53 as of September 30, 2007
DISCUSSION ON UPDATING 2007-2008 GOALS:
--Provide volunteers to work with the Bankruptcy Court and the schools to provide much-needed information to the students about credit use and abuse.
Mr. Collins reminded Council members that Section member Lybarker previously expressed a need for volunteers for the CARE Program particularly in Charleston and Spartanburg areas
--Work with the South Carolina Supreme Court and the Bankruptcy Court on the Access to Justice Initiative to help indigent people obtain access to the judicial system.
Mr. Collins reminded Council members that Section member Berkowitz previously announced she is on the Supreme Courtâ€™s Access to Justice Commission which had recently met for its organizational meeting.
-- Ask law students to write articles on consumer issues targeted to the members of the Bar, with Council members reviewing for content and making stylistic changes.
Following discussion, it was determined this goal would be revised as follows:
Ask Section members to write articles on consumer issues targeted to the members of the Bar.
It was also noted Council member Kistler had recently co-authored an article in the September 2007 South Carolina Lawyer magazine edition.
-- Continue to offer education to the Bar by conducting CLEâ€™s at the South Carolina Bar Convention in January, 2008.
Council voted unanimously to adopt a new goal:
Publish an e-newsletter quarterly providing case law and legislative update.
A) Participation at 2008 Bar Convention Thursday, January 24, 2008 1:30 p.m. â€" 4:45 p.m.
Mr. Maxfield would serve as moderator, Ms. Lybarker would introduce the Fair Credit Reporting Act and discuss credit counseling, Mr. Maxfield would speak on individual litigation, Mr. Smith would speak on class actions, Mr. Cox would speak on bankruptcy matters, Mr. Hearn would speak on Fair Debt Collection pitfalls, and Mr. Moskos would speak on â€œyo-yo financingâ€ known by car dealers as â€œspot deliveryâ€.
Mr. Collins reported he would attend only for the day and would not need hotel compensation thus reducing projected expenses. Ms. Way would pass this information to the Convention Manager and would also provide Mr. Maxfield with another copy of the September 17, 2007, speaker letter and forms. She reminded those participating of the December 3, 2007, deadline to return certain forms/materials.
B) Participation on U Need 2 Know SC Bar Radio Segment week of November 5, 2007:
Following discussion, it was determined Ms. Way would provide the following tentative schedule to the Communicationsâ€™ intern and ask that she follow-up with the speakers providing logistics.
11/5: Brian Boger
11/6: Danny Collins
11/7: John Hearn
11/8: Michael Cox
11/9: Dave Maxfield
C) Participation in South Carolina Lawyer magazine
Mr. Maxfield reported he would draft and submit an article in the spring. Ms. Way would pass this along to Communications.
D) Newsletter Subcommittee:
A newsletter subcommittee was created with Mr. Maxfield agreeing to serve as Chair. Ms. Kistler agreed to be in charge of â€œpulling the newsletter togetherâ€ and Ms. Way offered her assistance as needed. Council members Boger, Moskos, and Smith agreed to serve on the subcommittee as well as Section member Lybarker. Ms. Way provided copies of the 2002 newsletter for subcommittee review and was asked to look for a template. It was determined 2008 proposed issue dates would be March, June, September, and December.
DISCUSSION OF NEW PROJECTS AND IDEAS:
A. Mid-year meeting/seminar possibly in June, 2008
There was discussion regarding holding a full section business meeting and CLE in March or June, 2008, and that there would be a need to coordinate through the Bar CLE Division. Council members agreed on topic ideas and speakers presented by Mr. Collins. Mr. Collins agreed to
work on coordinating this event. Topic ideas and speakers were as follows:
Grievance matters -Jim Bogle with the Attorney Generalâ€™s Office and/or a law professor
Freedom of Information Act â€" Jay Bender as well as a representative from the Association of Counties main office providing a review of issues from both sides
Consumer Leases â€" Cindy Libener with the Atlanta Federal Trade Commission (at no charge)
B. Ms. Way reported the Bar Public Affairs Director had requested each Section provide a point person for contact and testifiers that would be available to present issues before the General Assembly. Ms. Way stated there would probably not often be a need for testifiers in that there had been previous Section discussion that members represented Plaintiff and Defendant attorneys and, while it was good to act as a sounding board for opposing issues, attempting to propose amendments for legislative issues would not prove beneficial for this diverse group.
Following discussion, it was determined members would monitor legislation as follows:
Mr. Cox and Ms. Kistler would monitor bankruptcy/case law updates.
Mr. Boger would monitor on the state level. Mr. Boger and Mr. Collins would ask Section member Berkowitz to assist with monitoring on this level.
Mr. Maxfield would monitor on the federal level, and Mr. Collins would ask Section members John Moore and Steve Hamm to assist with monitoring on this level.
Mr. Collins and Mr. Maxfield agreed to serve as point persons and testifiers provided there was no conflict of interest.
C. Mr. Collins asked for discussion on consumer law issues of importance to Council members. Mr. Lydon mentioned bankruptcy matters such as the increased exemption amount and counseling on asset protection and social security benefits and retirement issues.
NEXT MEETING: It was determined the next meeting would be a full section business lunch meeting followed by a proposed 1 hour ethics CLE on November 30, 2007, at noon. Mr. Collins volunteered use of the Department of Consumer Affairs building which would provide ample parking. Council member Lydon volunteered to speak at the CLE on ethical issues and consumer law practice. Ms. Way would apply for ethics CLE credit through the Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization.
ADJOURNMENT: There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.