Practice Area

Creditor’s Rights and Collections


Houston Harbaugh’s Creditor’s Rights and Collections practice helps businesses not only to collect past due payments through various legal remedies, but also to reduce collection risk by recommending preventative measures that may mitigate a company’s exposure to uncollectible debt.

We have a great deal of experience in working with architects and engineers, general contractors, subcontractors, and design professionals using construction industry-specific tools such as mechanics’ liens and the Contractor/Subcontractor Payment Act. In addition to the design/build industry, our experience also includes working with creditors in the manufacturing, distribution, retail, and service industries.

Our approach to collecting commercial debt involves an in depth assessment of the creditor’s situation. We evaluate the debtor’s background – do they have good credit, have they ever filed for bankruptcy, have they been delinquent in the past? We then propose strategies to collect the debt. These strategies could involve a demand letter to a debtor, negotiation of a re-payment plan, or the immediate commencement of a lawsuit in state or federal court. We have also worked to resolve these matters through arbitration and mediation.

If the matter has been decided in court and a judgment has been entered, we then assist clients in collecting the judgment which may involve filing a Writ of Execution, seizing bank accounts, and levying and selling personal property.

We also represent creditors in bankruptcy courts across the country, and regularly represent companies in adversary actions including preference claims, turnover claims, and fraudulent transfer claims. We will file proof of claims as well as take any other available action to preserve the claim and uncover as much money as possible.

A significant part of our Creditors’ Rights Practice involves helping our clients minimize the amount of past due payments and uncollectible debt, and thereby minimizing the need for litigation. We do this by reviewing contracts, invoices, and other documents to ensure they are protecting your interests and contain proper language that can be leveraged in a collections situation.

  • Proof of claims
  • Adversary proceedings
  • Collection litigation
  • Collection of awarded judgements
  • Post-judgement remedies
  • Writs of execution or garnishment
  • Commercial foreclosures actions
  • Replevins
  • Fraudulent transfers
  • Enforcement actions
  • Bankruptcy Preference Claims
  • Valuation disputes
  • Lien priority disputes

Fair Credit Reporting Act

The Fair Credit Reporting Act is a complex federal law that regulates creditors and credit reporting agencies. The FCRA provides statutory damages including attorney fees to a successful plaintiff, so seemingly minor violations can have significant consequences for defendants. The FCRA’s pro-consumer provisions attract plaintiffs’ lawyers who specialize in “repeat” litigation and also pro se lawsuits filed by consumers themselves.

Attorneys from the Pittsburgh law firm of Houston Harbaugh have defended credit reporting agencies, credit resellers, and creditors in scores of FCRA lawsuits since 2003, often serving as national or “quarterback” counsel in single-consumer lawsuits from Maine to California and from Minnesota to Texas. Attorneys have also defended class action lawsuits alleging systematic violations of the FCRA by retailers and credit reporting agencies.

The firm’s lawyers understand that most FCRA suits are small cases that can have big consequences. We review not just the facts and the law, but also the expressed needs of the plaintiff and his or her counsel, before helping clients to resolve disputes quickly and cost-effectively through litigation or settlement. We have filed successful motions for judgment on the pleadings or for summary judgment in a number of different federal courts, but we often resolves cases through settlement where that approach makes more sense for the client.

For more information about how we can assist your business collect unpaid debt, call any of our creditor’s rights and collections attorneys 412-281-5060 or send an e-mail by completing the contact form on this website.