Target Describes Hell He Went Through From FTC-Shuttered Firm's "Smokescreen" Lawsuit

Categories: Court
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A Newport Beach-based company that provided legal advice to consumers and small businesses facing crushing debt filed a civil suit against four former "employees" accused of stealing client data, but the case was dismissed a year after it was filed--in November 2011.

We'd Naval Gazed the complaint back when it was originally filed, but only heard back this week from one of the defendants cleared in Orange County Superior Court in November 2012.

Jackson Hunter Morris & Knight, LLP, which went by JHMK, sought $10 million in damages from the defendants it accused of not only stealing client data but defaming the firm on blogs and posing as sheriff's deputies when contacting some of JHMK's "impressionable clients."

Our original post on JHMK's suit, which has since been updated with a link to this one to reflect the dismissal:

Jackson Hunter Morris & Knight, Provider of Legal Help for the Indebted, Files Suit to Put Ex-Workers and Firm $10 Million in Debt

Online Orange County Superior Court records bore out defendant Ross Erskine's tip: the case filed Nov. 16, 2011, was dismissed on Nov. 19, 2012. But Erskine also adds in an email that he was never an employee of JHMK and that he never had any other type of relationship with the company, calling the legal action against him and three others "a smokescreen to confuse their clients."

We would ask JHMK officials to confirm that--and Erskine says he'd have countersued the firm--were it not for the fact that the Federal Trade Commission shut down Jackson Hunter Morris & Knight.

According to a September 2012 FTC release, "At the Federal Trade Commission's request, a federal court halted a purported debt relief operation that allegedly contacted consumers through prerecorded telemarketing calls, falsely claimed it would reduce their unsecured debt by 50 percent or more, made unauthorized charges to their bank accounts, and called phone numbers listed on the National Do Not Call Registry." 

Later:

"According to the FTC's complaint against Jeremy R. Nelson and four companies he controlled, Nelson Gamble & Associates LLP, Jackson Hunter Morris & Knight LLC, BlackRock Professional Corporation, and Mekhia Capital LLC, the defendants marketed and sold debt relief services via telemarketing and websites."

The FTC noted that "the court ordered a stop to the defendants' allegedly deceptive practices and froze their assets pending a trial," which JHMK lost. That was a bittersweet moment for Erskine.

"In light of the fact that the Federal Trade Commission won their injunction against Jackson Hunter Morris & Knight and Jeremy Nelson," Erskine writes, "there would not be anything left to sue for. I would basically be lighting money on fire."

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4 comments
SmallStep
SmallStep like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

The words used by Matt Coker in this piece, including, but not limited to the headline, are certainly not Erskine’s verbiage. Some of the phrases chosen here by Matt Coker are not even in his vernacular. However, in light of how haphazardly written Coker’s 100% misleadingly biased original article was written, this seems to be a very, very, very small step in the right direction.

DoTheRightThing
DoTheRightThing like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Mr. Coker exercised such poor discretion in his biased opinion, based completely on his own foolishness, of actually endorsing fraud, and outright evil, in his original review that OC Weekly should do the right thing, and avoid further embarrassment, by removing this post and the original feature altogether. Why would they want to continue to promote rubbish and continue to further demonstrate that Mr. Coker unwittingly assisted Jackson Hunter Morris & Knight fraud? Not sure why OC Weekly would want the continued embarrassment, but, then again, maybe it’s because they enjoy making money at innocent people’s expense.

WhyDidCokerEndorseJHMK
WhyDidCokerEndorseJHMK like.author.displayName 1 Like

It’s the, “not hurt” part of Coker’s statement that indicates that Jackson Hunter Morris & Knight clients would not be hurt by Jackson Hunter Morris & Knight giving them a false sense of security. Why would Coker say, “not hurt”? Like he KNEW! Did Coker ever use any of Jackson Hunter Morris & Knight’s services, or even know someone who did?

Obviously the FTC has taken a position contrary to Coker’s:

http://ftc.gov/os/caselist/1223030/index.shtm

Coker should take a long look in the mirror and ask himself, how much money Jackson Hunter Morris & Knight clients lost in a year’s time due to his endorsement and just how much more difficult did he make the FTC’s job?

WhyDidCokerEndorseJHMK
WhyDidCokerEndorseJHMK like.author.displayName 1 Like

Doesn’t sound like Coker has made much of an apology to Erskine, or the poor Jackson Hunter Morris & Knight clients that Matt Coker further misled in the original story Coker posted. The bottom line is that Coker knowingly endorsed Jackson Hunter Morris & Knight when he wrote:

“If JHMK wins the suit and the four former employees and New Century Solutions are wiped out by a $10 million judgment, we know where they can go for help (not hurt).”

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