For Immediate Release
October 27, 2020
Sam Lew, 415-272-8022, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area
Class Action Lawsuit Against Bad Boys Bail Bonds Demands Company End Illegal Practice Violating Consumer Protection Laws, Drop Suits Pursuing Debts
CALIFORNIA — A class action lawsuit filed today against Bad Boys Bail Bonds seeks a ruling that Bad Boys is not above the law, and must be held responsible for systemic and pervasive violations of California’s consumer and fair competition laws. The historic class action suit, the first of its kind to challenge a bail bond company for violating consumer protection laws, is being prosecuted by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area and Keker, Van Nest and Peters LLP. Bad Boys has used illegal means to extract huge sums of money — typically from those least able to afford it — in recent years. This case seeks to change that.
Plaintiff Kiara Caldwell cosigned what she believed to be a $500 bail bond payment for her friend Dareauna Chambers during a rushed, misleading 15-minute meeting with the company. Bad Boys then charged her $4,500, threatened her job and hounded her family, and sued her. “I would have never agreed to cosign if I was given the full information by Bad Boys,” says Ms. Caldwell. “Their unlawful deception plunged me into debt and psychological trauma. When I refused to pay the debt, Bad Boys constantly called me, my mother, and my workplace with threats from blocked numbers for months on end.” After months of harassment, Bay Boys sued her for the debt, but did not properly serve her notice of the suit.
Just as people are at their most vulnerable, worried about a loved one who has been arrested, Bad Boys requires cosigners on its credit bail agreements to assume responsibility for the entire amount of bail bond premiums, but never explicitly states this in contracts or agreements. Cosigners often believe that they need to only pay an upfront amount to bail their loved one out of jail, only to later find themselves saddled with thousands of dollars in bail debt. Bad Boys has violated California consumer law by failing to inform Ms. Caldwell and others in her position about the true nature of the contract, and has violated regulations specifically meant to provide transparency in commercial bail bond transactions.
“Bail bonds companies are clearly violating California’s consumer protection laws and are illegally exploiting low-income people who use bail services and their loved ones, forcing them into thousands of dollars into debt,” said Elisa Della-Piana, Legal Director at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area. “Bad Boys has used unenforceable cosigner agreements for years to make illegitimate, surprise demands for large sums of money. Bad Boys also has shown a shocking willingness to engage in flagrant violations of California’s debt collection rules — making improper threats, contacting family and employers, and harassing and abusing people in an illegal effort to browbeat them into complying with Bad Boys’ demands.”
The class action lawsuit demands that Bad Boys rectify its illegal practices, stop violating consumer protection laws, and provide full restitution and relief to Ms. Caldwell and all other cosigners saddled with illegal debt from the company.
“Bad Boys’ conduct represents the worst of California’s cash bail system. They have made a lucrative business out of systematically violating California’s consumer protection laws, and in particular preying on the well-meaning family members and friends of people held in jail before trial. Bad Boys, and other commercial bail bond companies like them, cannot continue operating outside the law,” said Niall Mackay Roberts, an attorney with Keker, Van Nest & Peters LLP.
The filed complaint can be viewed here.