Philip D. Stern, an attorney and Lions Club member from Maplewood, New Jersey, has donated $95,000 to LCIF. He transformed harassment into humanitarian service when he resolved a recent class-action suit. The case claimed that a debt collector unlawfully left messages for consumers without making proper disclosures. At Stern’s suggestion, the court approved a $95,000 award to Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF).
Stern, in practice for more than 25 years, advocates for clients who have been mistreated by debt collectors, a growing problem for consumers especially during the current economic downturn.
“Many consumers don’t realize that, even though in default, they have the right to be treated fairly,” says Stern. “The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects consumers from debt collectors who leave voice mail messages without disclosing their name or the fact that they are attempting to collect a debt. The law mandates the payment of statutory damages, but when the individual recovery is too minimal to be divided due to the number of class members, the court can direct payment to a charitable institution.”
He presented the $95,000 donation to LCIF’s Chairperson Al Brandel during the USA/Canada Forum in Memphis, Tennessee in late September.
“The fact that Phil was able to secure this opportunity for LCIF through his profession is a true testament to how dedicated our Lions volunteers are to providing humanitarian support worldwide,” says Brandel. “His efforts give a voice to many individuals in need of help.”
A member of the Maplewood Lions Club since 1994, Stern has served as club president, zone chair, cabinet treasurer and on several state and district committees. He is currently a district governor.
“There has always been a parallel between my professional advocacy and my personal involvement as a Lion. I feel fortunate to have had this opportunity to bring the two together.”
Since 1968, Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) has been the official charitable organization of Lions Clubs International, the world’s largest service club organization, with 1.35 million members located in 206 countries around the world. LCIF aids Lions in making a greater impact in their local communities, as well as around the world through grants that support youth, provide disaster relief, protect and provide eye sight and combat disability. To learn more about Lions or LCIF, visit www.lcif.org.