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Tag Archive | judgment

Can I strike a Default Judgment?

We seem to get 3-4 phone calls per day asking what to do about a judgment.  In most cases, the only option is to settle.  You cannot raise “statute of limitations” defenses, or say that “it was my ex-wife’s debt”.  Those are affirmative defenses that needed to be raised BEFORE the default judgment was entered.  Having said that, all default judgments should be reviewed because there is an opportunity to strike them under certain circumstances.

In order to get a default judgment, the Plaintiff must do everything properly.  That means that they must properly serve you with the complaint, they must include the proper notice to defend, the proper important notice, and if the debt was sold, it must include an allegation that they are the assignee of the account.  As far as service goes, this means that the sheriff must have served you or an adult in your family with the lawsuit. Every once in a while, we come across a case where “sewer service” occurs.  This is where the lawsuit is allegedly served upon “someone”, but you have no idea who that “someone” is. This happens most often when you live in an apartment complex or you move from your residence.  Service may also be obtained by mail, but only after a Court Order is issued.  Another scenario that we see is where the Notice on the Notice to Defend is incorrect.  It might be missing language, have extra language, have the incorrect phone number or address for the bar association, there are a few different issues that we look for.  The same applies to the Important Notice (or 10 day notice).  We had a scenario where a certain attorney was using an incorrect Important Notice for about 2 years… and every judgment that they have entered is subject to being stricken.

If you would like a review of your default judgment, you will need to provide us, or another attorney, with a copy of several documents.  The Complaint, the Important Notice, the Sheriff return document and a copy of the complete docket statement.  We can review for errors and determine whether any mistakes were made.  If any were made, then you can petition the court to strike the judgment.  If this is successful, this does NOT mean that you win the case.  It simply means that the lawsuit is re-opened.  You will have an opportunity to defend the case from that point.

Posted in Lawsuits

Judgments – What do I do now?

We receive a few phone calls each day from someone who has allowed a judgment to be entered against them.  What do I do now? is the question that is most often asked.  Well, it depends upon your timing.  If the judgment was just entered, then you might be able to file an appeal.  Generally, you have 30 days to file an appeal from a judgment that is filed at the local district justice.  If the judgment is entered at the Court of Common Pleas level, then you may have only 10 days to file a motion/appeal, depending upon circumstances.

If the judgment is older, we can take a look at the court process to search for errors.  For the most part, the errors that we would be looking for are defective service, or, defective notices.  Defective service simply means that you were not served.  Defective notice means that you received a notice that was not correct, that is, one that didn’t fully explain your rights.  With a defective notice, we can attempt to strike the judgment and re-open the case for you.  What we cannot do, and what most people want us to do, is argue the merits of the case.  Many clients call me and say that the lawsuit was filed after the statute of limitations expired.  While that may or may not be true, it doesn’t matter if you didn’t properly defend yourself when you had the opportunity.  What does matter is whether you were served properly, and whether you received the proper notices.

In the absence of an error, the only choices, unfortunately, are to settle or to do nothing.  There are pros and cons to each.  Contact my office for a free, no obligation review of your consumer law issue.  412-823-8003

Posted in Lawsuits

Credit Card Lawsuits

If you are faced with a credit card lawsuit, whether its an original creditor or a junk debt buyer, contact my office at 412-823-8003 right away. We offer a free, no obligation review of any credit card based lawsuit that is filed in PA.

FDCPA Attorneys

Many Debt Collectors threaten people, that's a fact. Threats of wage garnishment, jail, fraud charges and contacting employers, friends and relatives happens every day to people just like you. The truth is that most of these threats are illegal. If a debt collector is threatening you, contact our office at 412-823-8003 for a free initial consultation.