MEDIA ADVISORY: Appellate Court Hears Consumer Protection Case With Profound Consequences for California’s Cash Bail Industry
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 14, 2021
Sam Lew, 415-272-8022, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area
*** MEDIA ADVISORY ***
Appellate Court Hears Consumer Protection Case With Profound Consequences for California’s Cash Bail Industry
Judges to determine whether Bad Boys Bail Bonds can continue to collect $38M from thousands of Californians based on contracts that violate consumer protection laws
WHAT: An oral argument in the California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District in Bad Boys v. Caldwell. This historic class action lawsuit is one of the first to challenge a commercial bail bond company for violating consumer protection laws and will set a precedent for application of such laws in the bail industry nationwide.
The appellate hearing will determine whether or not to uphold a preliminary injunction ordered on April 9, 2021 by Judge Brad Seligman of the Alameda County Superior Court—which ordered a halt to Bad Boys’ debt collection efforts on $38 million dollars of contracts enacted in violation of consumer protection laws. Bad Boys is one of the largest bail companies in California.
WHEN: December 14th at 1:30pm. The webcast can be accessed here. The webcast link will be posted at 1:15pm on the day of the hearing. Bad Boys v. Caldwell is the third case of six to be heard that day.
WHO: Attorneys from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area and Keker, Van Nest & Peters LLP.
Bad Boys has used illegal means to extract huge sums of money from low-income families on the false promise of helping get their loved ones released from jail for only a small fee. These family members sign credit bail agreements that hold them responsible for the entire bail amount owed—without the mandatory cosigner disclosures required under California law. Cosigners later find themselves saddled with thousands of dollars in bail debt that Bad Boys did not provide them proper notice about.
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. Co-Complainant Donzahniya Pitre cosigned and paid $600 towards a bail bond for her cognitively impaired brother after Bad Boys told her that she would not be responsible for any subsequent payments. Months later, Bad Boys began harassing her for payment and subjecting her to menacing calls, multiple times each week.
Bad Boys has violated California consumer law by failing to inform Ms. Caldwell, Ms. Pitre, and others in their position about the true nature of their contracts, and has violated regulations specifically meant to provide transparency in commercial bail bond transactions.
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, Ms. Pitre, and all other cosigners in California saddled with illegal debt from the company.
The preliminary injunction can be viewed here.
The class action cross-complaint can be viewed here.