According to an article in the Star-Telegram, a widow is claiming that debt collectors hounded her husband to death with as many as nine harassing and illegal calls per day, causing stress that contributed to his fatal heart attack. She's suing Green Tree Servicing for damages, claiming that their illegal collection practices that led to her husband's heart failure on Dec. 4, 2005.
The article said:
"Her 57-year-old husband, Stanley, was already in poor health from a heart attack years earlier that also had left him on disability... Stanley McLeod had a heart attack while working at Sears in 1997, Howard said, and was never able to work full-time again. The family eventually fell behind on payments on their manufactured home in Keystone Heights near Gainesville."
Some of the harassing creditor calls are recorded on the family's answering machine:
"In one recorded message, an angry male caller says: "Stanley McLeod, you need to call Green Tree and get your act together and make a payment on your mortgage. Quit playing games." Then, presumably referring to the emergency aircraft that flew McLeod to the hospital after his heart attack, the caller said: "Why don't you have that helicopter pick you up and bring that payment to the office."
This is probably one of the most disgusting things I have ever heard. The creditor blatantly and maliciously harassed a disabled debtor who was clearly unable to pay and suffering immensely. I wish this family had considered bankruptcy to protect their home from foreclosure and protect their peace of mind from the vicious attacks of these heartless creditors. I don't know how much income and other debt they had; but it may have been possible to discharge their non-secured debt in bankruptcy and save their home from foreclosure .
It's immensely disappointing when creditors and debtors fail to recognize that debt causes stress. That's the big polka dot elephant in the room--stress and debt can kill. We don't want to admit that; but it does. For all of the debtors who are under immense stress because of financial problems please do not allow debt to destroy your health and life. Use bankruptcy to discharge debt, escape foreclosure and gain peace of mind.