Department of Justice Settles with Massachusetts Storage Company for Auction of Military Member’s Property – New Bedford Guide

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The Justice Department reached an agreement today with PRTaylor Enterprises LLC, doing business as Father & Son Moving & Storage (Father & Son), to resolve allegations that he violated the Civil Relief Act (SCRA) by not getting a court order before auctioning. all the contents of the two storage units of a US Air Force technical sergeant while deployed overseas.

The US complaint alleged that among the Tech Sergeant’s goods sold by Father & Son were military equipment and memorabilia belonging to a cousin killed in military action in Afghanistan, his grandmother’s military service medals. -father, all his household furniture and personal photographs. .

The SCRA provides financial and housing protections and benefits to military personnel while they are in military service. One of the protections of the SCRA requires that anyone with a lien on a military’s property obtain a court order before auctioning, selling or otherwise disposing of that property. Under the agreement, which has yet to be approved by the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Father & Son is to pay the Tech Sergeant $ 60,000 in damages and the United States a civil fine of $ 5,000. . Father and son must also implement some new policies to prevent future SCRA violations.

“The Department of Justice is committed to vigorously enforcing the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to protect the rights of those who sacrifice so much for their country,” said Deputy Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. Justice. “These regulations should send a clear message to all operators of storage facilities that they are prohibited by federal law from auctioning a member’s property without a court order.”

“It is wrong to auction off the property of a military member who serves our country overseas,” said Acting US Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell for the District of Massachusetts. “The law protects military personnel from this type of abuse – they have more important things to fear when they are abroad risking their lives to protect our nation. We will aggressively uphold the rights of our military and hold those who violate SCRA to account. “

Trial Attorney Tanya Kirwan of the Housing and Civil Enforcement Section of the Civil Rights Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Torey B. Cummings of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District Civil Rights Unit. Massachusetts and dealt with the matter. Valuable assistance was also provided by the United States Department of Transportation, the Office of the Inspector General and the Office of Investigations.

This lawsuit was the result of a referral to the US Air Force Department of Justice. Departmental enforcement of the SCRA is led by the Housing and Civil Law Enforcement Section of the Civil Rights Division in partnership with the 93 U.S. Attorney’s Offices, including the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts. Since 2011, the department has obtained more than $ 474 million in monetary relief for more than 120,000 military personnel through the application of the SCRA. For more information on the department’s SCRA enforcement efforts, please visit www.servicemembers.gov.

Service members and their dependents who believe their rights under the SCRA may have been violated should contact the nearest Armed Forces Legal Assistance Program office. Offices can be found at legalassistance.law.af.mil/.

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