Legal Briefs newsletter #35: Eliminate Credit Card Debt With One Simple Lawsuit

Lisa and Andrew Harding have a problem — one that is familiar to tens of millions of Americans: they overspent on their credit cards.

Unlike most other Americans, though, the Hardings hope to get most of this debt erased. How? Not by paying it off, but by filing a lawsuit saying the credit card companies shouldn’t have lent them the money in the first place!

Strange as it may seem, they may win, because their law firm, the Rothken Law Firm of Silicon Valley, CA, already has had a similar case settled out of court on terms favorable to the plaintiff.

Here’s the angle: the Hardings ran up their credit cards through online gambling, which is illegal in some jurisdictions. So now they argue that credit card companies should not allow online gambling establishments to accept credit cards, because, inevitably, someone who isn’t supposed to will use them.

The Hardings and their lawyers apparently figure that if what the Hardings did was illegal, they shouldn’t have to pay for it. Somebody else should.

As Steve Doocy of Fox News has pointed out, you can be sure the Hardings would have a different opinion if they’d won.

-Sources: Steve Doocy, hosting Dayside, Fox News Channel, broadcast December 2, 2003; Rothken Law Firm Website at; Courtney Macavinta, “VISA Affiliates Clear Online Gambling Debt,” C|Net, October 14, 1999, at

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.