What can they do after a judgment? - Credit Repair Forum from Creditnet
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  1. #1
    hopin is offline Newbie
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    Apr 2004
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    What can they do after a judgment?

    I have a civil hearing scheduled for Friday. I am being sued by Sherman Acquisitions on behalf of Sears. I am 9 months pregnant and I'm not going to go to court. I provided notice that I "intended to defend" but I only did that because I was trying to put off the date of the hearing (hoping I could save up enough money for a bankruptcy lawyer... I couldn't).

    So a judgment will be entered against me and, under the advice of some people on these boards, I will wait until after the baby is born to pursue bankruptcy so I can include my medical bills in the BK.

    The question:

    What does it mean to have a judgment against me? What can Sherman Acquisitions do?

    I don't think I will be able to afford this attorney until AT LEAST July (especially now that it will cost MORE to deal with the judgment). Please let me know what to expect from this process. I already have enough to worry about getting ready for the baby... do I need to worry about them coming after my refrigerator?

    Thanks in advance.

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  3. #2
    jam237 is offline Senior Member
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    May 2003
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    3,440

    What can they do after a judgment?

    What they can do depends on what state you live in...

    They could seize your bank accounts...

    They could garnish portions of your income...

    They could try to sell off anything that you own to try to obtain the amount of the judgement...

    Have you contacted the court (or magistrate) where the hearing is scheduled and asked for a continuence (delay in the hearing)?

    You DO NOT want a judgement!

    Depending on the amount, and where their lawyer is (how far the lawyer is from your court), it could be a bluff to try to get a default judgement against you. But to win, they don't have to show up, if you don't show up, they win automatically.

    But no matter what, you need to show up, or try to get the hearing postponed for medical reasons...
    --
    jam
    An educated consumer.

    Daniel Webster: You seem to have an excellent acquaintance with the law, Sir.
    Scratch: Sir, that is no fault of mine. Where I come from, we have always gotten the pick of the Bar.
    The Devil and Daniel Webster, Stephen Vincent Benet

  4. #3
    hopin is offline Newbie
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    Apr 2004
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    What can they do after a judgment?

    I live in PA... do you have any more specific knowledge of what they can do to me in this state?

    If I were to go to the hearing- what should I be prepared with? I have nothing. I do owe them what they say I owe them-- and I do plan on filing for bankruptcy before this summer is over. How likely is it that they would take any action against me in the next few months?

    Thank you.

  5. #4
    jam237 is offline Senior Member
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    May 2003
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    3,440

    What can they do after a judgment?

    As soon as they get the judgement they could almost immediately act upon that judgement.

    For PA, wages & most pensions are safe from garnishment, but there is still a lot that they could do.

    Try to talk with your local magistrate (I expected PA when you said notice to appear. :) ) Hopefully, your magistrate would be able to grant a continuence (they're typically only a month), but you have to find some way to show up to defend yourself.

    It can be far worse if you let them get the judgement, and they serve you with a sheriff's sale notice, to try to enforce the judgement.

    You don't need a lawyer to appear at the hearing. If their lawyer isn't local (the lawyers contact info should be on the summons), the odds are good that they filed to scare you into settling, or to scare you into not showing up, and letting them get the default judgement. They don't make their $ by appearing at the hearings, they make their $ by the consumer not bothering to defend themselves.
    --
    jam
    An educated consumer.

    Daniel Webster: You seem to have an excellent acquaintance with the law, Sir.
    Scratch: Sir, that is no fault of mine. Where I come from, we have always gotten the pick of the Bar.
    The Devil and Daniel Webster, Stephen Vincent Benet

  6. #5
    hopin is offline Newbie
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    Apr 2004
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    What can they do after a judgment?

    They are 2 hours away in York, PA... think they will show? What am I to expect if I do go? The hearing is at 11:30 tomorrow. If they show up, and I lose (which I will, if they show up)-- what steps should I take to protect myself from them? Thanks.

  7. #6
    hopin is offline Newbie
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    Apr 2004
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    What can they do after a judgment?

    Another question.... my (prospective) attorney said that we have 30 days to appeal--- can they do anything to me during those 30 days? Thanks.

  8. #7
    Hedwig is offline Senior Member
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    Jan 2003
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    What can they do after a judgment?

    Have you made them PROVE every aspect of this debt? Can you contest the amount, say they haven't provided a full accounting showing all the charges. Have they proved that it's your debt? You don't have to admit to it. You can say that while you think you may owe them, you don't think the amount is correct and ask them for statements. Anything to get a little time.

    And it's your right to have all of this information validated.

    When they sent the initial communication, did they include the mini-miranda (this is an attempt to collect a debt, etc)? If not, say that you didn't know you could request this because they didn't provide the LEGALLY-REQUIRED notice. If they did and you didn't ask for validation, say that you have been so concerned with the coming baby that you forgot.

    Hopefully they won't have all of this and you'll at least get a continuance. At best, the suit could actually be dismissed.
    The Answer is 42!!

  9. #8
    tr1252 is offline Senior Member
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    Aug 2002
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    What can they do after a judgment?

    As the other posters have mentioned, it is IMPERATIVE that you show up! Don't quote me on this because I'm NOT a lawyer, but I believe you can ask for a CONTINUANCE, which is essentially an extension. And you can do so WITHOUT a lawyer present. When they see your condition, being 9 months pregnant, you should have no problem.

    On another note, I'm also in PA. My GF lives in York. I had no idea that Sherman is also located there. Or is that just a branch office?

    At any rate, good luck!

  10. #9
    Poochie is offline Senior Member
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    Jan 2003
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    What can they do after a judgment?

    Ok, I'm not an attorney either but you might want to ask your prospective attorney if a "suggestion of bankruptcy" will do anything for you. Definitely go to court, ask for a continuence due to pregnancy, need to validate debt, anything at all you can throw out there. That will buy you 30 days...

    I'm so sorry you're going through this now, I know how stressful the last few weeks of pg are.

    Good luck to you

    Poochie

  11. #10
    jefftsnsco is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    42

    What can they do after a judgment?

    Definitely go to court. Especially 9 months pregnant. No, the plaintiff's counsel won't show up, as they expect the matter to be handled "on the papers". Here's where the judge, and just about everyone else will be sympathetic to your case, especially in your condition. Anything the judge can legally extend to you, he will.

    However, you will have to defend yourself, if your pro se. I'm only familiar with my state's practice book, so your state is probably different. But basically, first, they file a line item suit against you, listing each relevant claim which contributes to the case they have against you. For example:

    1) Defendant applied a credit card and agreed to the membership agreement.
    2) Defendent made a gosh darn lot of charges on the account.
    3) Defendent didn't pay us.
    4) The agreement says defendant has to pay, our lawyers's fees, and name her firstborn after our president.

    You then have to file an ANSWER to their suit. The answer, in my state, being a general defense (I deny everything), or a special defense (I deny line item 4), and/or a counterclaim such as "they violated some other law for which I am entitled to bring suit, but they were nice enough to save me the filing fees and bond for court costs by filing suit against me first." :)

    Prior to filing your answer, however, you need to have all the facts, and you would get this through a motion for DISCOVERY where you send the plaintiff's counsel a list of all the documents you want them to produce that are relevant to the case. depending upon your state, you may or may not be responsible for the costs of making copies for discovery. You can also file interogatories, lists of questions you want answered, and you can also depose (question under oath) the plaintiff. I would assume that in all states, you are responsible for bearing the cost of the stenographer. The goal of discovery is to make them prove the ENTIRE debt they are claiming. Also, if you have a counterclaim, you now have the opportunity to investigate it as well, prior to actually bringing the claim.

    If bankruptcy is a realistic possiblity for you, I would advise making the plaintiff's attorney aware of that and he will have to notify his client. Now, if your discovery is vast enough to start running up the tab more than they would like to bear (win or lose), they may wish to make a settlement arrangement with you, if at all possible. Most client's prefer cash rather than a judgement that is uncollectible. Cash buys toilet paper; uncollectible judgements are very uncomfortable toilet paper.

    BTW, in my state, just prior to filing your motion for discovery, you file a motion for extension for time to file your answer so you can complete your discovery before filing your answer. You can drag the whole process out, if that's your goal, or make it expensive for them to win, and either they will be more inclined to settle or perhaps withdraw the suit.

    One thing you should never do is file a false or misleading answer. In my state, if the judge thinks your jerking him around it's an automatic $500 fine or worse. The whole point is, you have to run everything legitimately, but you are entitled to run it as far as you can.

    Good Luck.

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