A $10.88 bill threatened to cost Carol Carter her home.

Carter, 72, of North Versailles says a Montgomery County law firm tried to force the sale of her McKee Road house to collect a trash collection fee she failed to pay in 2010.

“It’s been very hectic,” said Carter, who filed a federal lawsuit this week against Portnoff Law Associates of Norristown. “I don’t know what to expect. My anxiety is up.”

The lawsuit claims the firm violated a state law on municipal liens and a federal debt collection law when it tacked on more than $410 in attorney fees to the debt. It says the amount violates a state law restricting municipal claims to “reasonable” attorney fees and a federal debt collection law prohibiting the attorneys from claiming fees they can’t legally collect.

Portnoff spokesman Ken Kilpatrick said no one from the firm could speak about the Carter case, saying it’s in “settlement discussions.” Portnoff serves as a municipal fee debt collector for North Versailles.




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