Thursday, April 13, 2006

CJP Files Class Action Over Attachment of Social Security Funds

The Community Justice Project and private counsel from Harrisburg, Joseph K. Goldberg, have filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of a sixty-seven year-old Coalport (Clearfield County) man. The suit was filed in the United States District Court in Johnstown against Clearfield County Prothonotary William A. Shaw and CSB Bank.

In his suit, John J. Dransfield claims that he lives on Social Security payments directly deposited into his bank account and that his account, at CSB Bank in Coalport was frozen for more than a month in the fall of 2005, so he could not use his Social Security money to pay his bills. Mr. Dransfield also claims that CSB Bank took a total of $340 from the Social Security money in his account to pay itself legal fees associated with freezing his account.

The lawsuit claims that CSB’s action in taking the Social Security funds from his account and the Prothonotary’s action in issuing a writ of execution authorizing the account to be attached violated federal law that prohibits both execution and attachment of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income payments.

In his Complaint, Mr. Dransfield does not deny he owes creditor money and that a judgment has been entered against him, but he claims he is making small monthly payments and that the creditor is not permitted to collect the debt from his Social Security funds.

The lawsuit was filed as a class action on behalf of Mr. Dransfield and all other persons in Clearfield County who have Social Security or Supplemental Security Income payments directly deposited into their bank accounts and who have judgments entered against them. The complaint asks the court to prohibit the attachment of Social Security funds and to order CSB to refund charges it has made against Social Security funds belonging to any of its customers in the United States District Court in Johnstown.

The Complaint and Motion for Class Certification filed in the case are located in the PLS Brief and Information Bank at the link below.

Attachment of SSA Benefits

employment - personnel files - inspection - 43 P.S. 1321 et seq.

University of Pittsburgh v. Dept. of Labor & Industry - Commonwealth Court - April 12, 2006

An employee can get access to her/his personnel file under the Personnel File Inspect Act, 43 P.S. 1321 et seq. In this case, however, access to outside references for an academic tenure evaluation was denied. The court said that such documents were excluded from the definition of "personnel file," since they were "letters of reference."