On September 29, 2020, the court entered a consent order in United States v. Target Recovery Towing (M.D. Fla.). The complaint, which was filed on August 18, 2020, alleges that the defendants violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, 50 U.S.C. § 3958, by auctioning off a motor vehicle belonging to a United States Marine Corps Sergeant who was deployed to Japan, without a court order. The consent decree requires the defendants to pay $17,500 to the servicemember and a civil penalty of $2,500, as well as to adopt new policies and procedures to avoid SCRA violations in the future.
On November 2, 2021, the court entered a consent order in United States v. PRTaylor LLC d/b/a Father & Son Moving & Storage (D. Mass.). The complaint, filed on August 18, 2020, alleged that the defendant violated Section 3958 of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (“SCRA”), 50 U.S.C. § 3958, by auctioning of the belongings of a United States Air Force Technical Sergeant without a court order while the servicemember was deployed. The auctioned belongings included the Technical Sergeant’s military gear, items that had belonged to a cousin who was killed in action while serving in the military, a relative’s military service medals, a dresser that was handmade by his great-grandfather, and his personal photographs. The consent order requires the defendant to pay the servicemember $60,000, pay $5,000 to the United States as a civil penalty, provide annual training on the SCRA to employees involved in the rental, management, or disposal of storage units, modify its storage contracts to include SCRA safeguards, and implement new procedures for SCRA compliance prior to enforcing any storage lien.
On January 30, 2020, the court entered a consent order in United States v. Levenson (D. Mass.). The complaint, which was filed on January 29, 2020, alleged that a landlord in Brookline, Massachusetts refused to return an overpayment of rent and delayed the return of a servicemember’s security after he properly terminated his lease under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). Under the consent order Defendant must pay $3,000 in damages to the servicemember and his wife, pay a civil penalty of $500 to the United States, report to the United States on SCRA compliance, and refrain from engaging in future SCRA violations.
On August 1, 2019, the United States filed a complaint and executed a settlement agreement in United States v. Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp. (M.D. Tenn.). The complaint alleges that Nissan, which provides motor vehicle lending and leasing services, engaged in a pattern or practice of violating Section 3952 of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (“SCRA”) by repossessing vehicles owned by 113 protected servicemembers without the required court orders. The complaint also alleges that Nissan engaged in a pattern or practice of violating Section 3955 of the SCRA by failing to refund lease amounts paid in advance in the form of capitalized cost reduction to servicemembers who terminated their leases early following receipt of qualifying military orders. The settlement agreement requires Nissan to pay $2,937,971 in damages to servicemembers and a $62,029 civil penalty to the United States, for a total of $3 million. The agreement also requires Nissan to adopt new polices and training to prevent future violations of the SCRA.
On August 2, 2019, the court entered a consent decree resolving United States v. Shur-Way Moving and Cartage (N.D. Ill.). The complaint, filed on July 29, 2019, alleged that Shur-Way violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), 50 U.S.C. § 3958, when it auctioned off the contents of an active duty servicemember’s storage unit without a court order. The consent decree requires Shur-Way to pay $20,000 in damages to the servicemember, pay a $10,000 civil penalty, and revise its policies.
On March 14, 2019, the Division and the United States Attorney’s Office filed a complaint in United States v. PRG Real Estate Management (E.D. Va.). On March 15, 2019, the parties entered into a settlement agreement to resolve the case. The complaint alleges that PRG Real Estate Management, a property management company, and related entities, engaged in a pattern or practice of violating the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (“SCRA”), 50 U.S.C. 3931 and 3955, when they: (1) obtained default judgments against servicemember-tenants without filing an affidavit disclosing the tenant’s military status to the court; and (2) imposed early termination fees on servicemembers who terminated their leases pursuant to military orders. Additional defendants are: Watergate/Treehouse Associates, L.P., Chanticleer Associates, L.P., New Colony Hilton Associates, L.P., Heritage Trace Apartments, LLC, PRG Ashton Creek Associates, LLC and New Hyde Park Associates, LLC. The settlement agreement requires the defendants to pay up to $1,490,000 to compensate 127 servicemembers who had unlawful default judgments entered against them and $34,920 to compensate 10 servicemembers who were charged early lease termination fees in violation of the SCRA. Defendants will also pay a civil penalty of $62,029 to the United States. In addition, the agreement requires credit repair, policy charges and monitoring for SCRA compliance.