Lemberg Law principal Sergei Lemberg was featured on Fox & Friends on March 20, 2015. Lemberg was interviewed along with Staff Sergeant Charles Beard regarding Beard’s lawsuit against Santander USA, which repossessed his Kia Sportage while Beard was on active duty and serving our nation in Tikrit. Santander’s action was allegedly in violation of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which seeks to protect members of the military on active duty from a variety of civil legal actions.
While Lemberg Law filed a class action lawsuit against Santander at the time, there was a mandatory arbitration clause in Beard’s contract that made the class action moot. Nevertheless, Lemberg reached out to those in power in Washington to make the case for protecting servicemembers. In a letter written in January 2012, Lemberg alerted First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to predatory auto finance companies that repossess active duty servicemembers’ cars without first obtaining court orders. He urged them to use their Joining Forces initiative to draw attention to the suffering endured by predatory lenders and debt collectors.
In late February, the U.S. Justice Department reached a $9.35 million settlement with Santander Consumer USA regarding allegations that Santander had violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) by repossessing cars owned by active duty servicemembers. The Justice Department’s lawsuit was fueled, in part, by Lemberg Law’s class action suit brought on behalf of Staff Sergeant Beard.
Lemberg’s Fox & Friends interview with Brian Kilmeade grew out of the Justice Department’s settlement with Santander. Lemberg was amused when Kilmeade said, “When they ran into you, they ran into a buzz saw.” On a serious note, Lemberg said, “We’re pleased that Santander was held accountable, and that the men and women who so bravely served our country will receive compensation for the vehicles that were wrongly repossessed.”