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DSmithKMA

Awarded A Default Judgement Against CA

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Chalk one up for the good guys.

I had a court case today against a CA from Georgia. They failed to appear and I was awarded a default judgement in the amount of

10 LARGE!!! 8)

Xan, you might find this cool. It was in TN General Sessions. The judge asked me how I arrived at my damages and I said "$1,500 for reporting known false information, $1K for twice pulling my report w/o a PP, AND the judge awarded my requested treble damages under Tennessee's Consumer Protection Act.

Now I just have to collect it.

Any suggestions since they're in corporate offices are in Georgia and I'm in TN? They do have a registered agent here.

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Hire a lawyer in Georgia to file a suit to enforce the judgment and levy their assets. You should be able to find one on contingency.

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First, make sure the judgment is properly entered and recorded in TN. Once that is done, register the judgment in GA as a foreign judgment in the county where the CA has their principal office. This will give you more leverage and make it easier to deal with them. Not only that, worse case scenario, you rent a U-Haul truck and have the sheriff's deputies meet you at their office and you can start lugging out computers and office equipment.

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Hire a lawyer in Georgia to file a suit to enforce the judgment and levy their assets. You should be able to find one on contingency.

Thanks for the advice. I'm going to wait the 10 days to ensure they don't appeal.

I wasn't aware that judgments were enforcable in another state.

If they don't appeal, I'm sure they'll pay but want a contingency plan if need be.

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If I were you, I would go under the assumption they are not going to pay and retain a lawyer in their locale else risk dealing with long arm statutues. Much like consumers, collection agencies and lawyers just don't write checks so willingly! In most states, the appeal period is at least 30 days. You may in fact need to hire the sheriff to assit you in hauling away $10K in office equipment. Ever wonder why home builders never seem to have computer equipment in their offices?

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U DA MAN DSmith!

Check out Rule 69. You are in for some fun:

http://www.tsc.state.tn.us/opinions/tsc/rules/TNrulesofcourt/02civp.htm#69

Thanks calawyer!

What amazes me is how this CA simply ignored me from the start. I just don't get it. I guess they thought I'd just go away. Sad mistake on their part.

One question: The CA is a Georgia corporation; they do have a reg. agent here in TN. Do I serve any process to enforce the judgment to their RA? Would it be better to seek an attorney in Georgia to collect on the judgment?

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Judgment does not mean the Plaintiff will ever collect anything! If you're serious about enforcing collection you should retain a lawyer admitted in both states because you're probably going to want to serve the registered agent and the physical headquarters. Your attorney will advise. Not necessarily a "sad mistake" to ignore and be adjudicated against because there are many legal maneuvers out of a judgment notwithstanding the appeal process. I know a gentlemen who has an outstanding judgment on Trauner, another CA in GA from a year ago, and has yet to see any money. A lawyer is handling the matter and the case is in limbo even though to my knowledge there was not even an appeal.

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DS:

One possible scenario is that the CA believes the TENN court does not have jurisdiction over it. If so, they allow judgment to be entered against them and wait until you try to enforce the judgment (usually in their home state). Then they challenge jurisdiction and claim that the TENN Court had no power to enter the default. Very risky plan, however. If they are wrong, they lose the ability to challenge the facts, the amount owed, the trebling, etc.

One thing a plaintiff often tries to do is find some property to levy against (or some other way to enforce the judgment) in the FORUM state (TENN). The thinking is that TENN will care less about protecting a bottom feeding CA from another state while the other state might want to try harder to protect its own residents.

Does this make any sense? It is a pretty complicated atrea of the law, and it probably would be a good idea to find an attorney to help you out. I bet most NACA members would give it a whirl. They may even be able to add the collection costs to the amount of the judgment.

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DS:

One possible scenario is that the CA believes the TENN court does not have jurisdiction over it. If so, they allow judgment to be entered against them and wait until you try to enforce the judgment (usually in their home state). Then they challenge jurisdiction and claim that the TENN Court had no power to enter the default. Very risky plan, however. If they are wrong, they lose the ability to challenge the facts, the amount owed, the trebling, etc.

One thing a plaintiff often tries to do is find some property to levy against (or some other way to enforce the judgment) in the FORUM state (TENN). The thinking is that TENN will care less about protecting a bottom feeding CA from another state while the other state might want to try harder to protect its own residents.

Does this make any sense? It is a pretty complicated atrea of the law, and it probably would be a good idea to find an attorney to help you out. I bet most NACA members would give it a whirl. They may even be able to add the collection costs to the amount of the judgment.

Makes sense to me. Funny thing is, the original hearing date was May 13, I showed up and the clerk called the docket. When she got to me, she said the defendant had called and asked for a continuance, as they were looking for local counsel, which the judge granted. They also had sent a Sworn Denial denying the allegetions. Why they simply didn't show today is beyond me...I was looking for a good fight too! 8)

Also, TN requires CA's to obtain a license and post a bond. ANy idea what that's for?

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Those last two comments are music to my ears. Did they really answer the complaint? If so, they may have waived the jurisdictional argument I just outlined. THe question you need to research (if it comes to that) is whether filing a "sworn denial" is a consent to the juridiction of the court.

This is all I could find out about the bond:

62-20-110. Bond.

(a) The bond posted or the certificate of deposit assigned in accordance with this chapter shall be in full force and effect during all periods and in all places and areas in which the licensee is doing business within this state as a collection service.

(B) If any collection service violates the conditions of such bond or certificate of deposit, the injured client may maintain an action in such client's own name on the bond or certificate of deposit of such collection service in any court of competent jurisdiction.

© In no event shall the aggregate liability of the surety exceed the amount of such bond, nor shall the board or this state be liable to any client relative to an assigned certificate of deposit.

[Acts 1981, ch. 170, § 10.]

If they don't pay up, you might call the Tenn Collection Service Board and find out whether you can collect against the bond. Come to think of it, I bet a letter to the defendant, copied to the Board would get the ball rolling quite nicely.

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Ok, if they are indeed bonded in your state, can you attack the bond for satisfaction of the judgement?

EDIT: Oh bloody hell, you beat me to it. :?

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You can always go to one of those companies that cuts you a check (minus their fee) and collecting the judgment becomes their problem.

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You can always go to one of those companies that cuts you a check (minus their fee) and collecting the judgment becomes their problem.

I believe they usually take 40% or so. There's a lot of options if they choose not to voluntarily pay. I'm leaning towards an attorney.

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If it were me I would opt for the 40% deduction in a New York second! Reason being, to get half of an award risk-free if it were possible, would leave the arduous task of potential future court hassles the problem of someone else. Long-arm judgments can be tied up for years with some businesses never settling for reasons ranging from appeal to transfer of ownership to bankruptcy.

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Long-arm judgments can be tied up for years with some businesses never settling for reasons ranging from appeal to transfer of ownership to bankruptcy.

But you don't have that problem when the defendant is licensed to do business in your state, especially if there is a bond to recover against. If you don't get paid, talk to a lawyer. Ask if her fees can be added to the judgment.

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Long-arm judgments can be tied up for years with some businesses never settling for reasons ranging from appeal to transfer of ownership to bankruptcy.

But you don't have that problem when the defendant is licensed to do business in your state, especially if there is a bond to recover against. If you don't get paid, talk to a lawyer. Ask if her fees can be added to the judgment.

Well, after some investigation, I've found out that the CA is not licensed in TN, as they are supposed to be. They are registered with the SOS and do have a registered agent, but no license or bond and no property that I could locate within TN. I think my first move is simply to wait and see if they appeal the judgment. If not, I'll look into my options more closely.

Would "threatening" to send a copy of the judgment to, say, Dunn & Bradstreet, or other business CRA's be worthwhile?

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Long-arm judgments can be tied up for years with some businesses never settling for reasons ranging from appeal to transfer of ownership to bankruptcy.

But you don't have that problem when the defendant is licensed to do business in your state, especially if there is a bond to recover against. If you don't get paid, talk to a lawyer. Ask if her fees can be added to the judgment.

Well, after some investigation, I've found out that the CA is not licensed in TN, as they are supposed to be. They are registered with the SOS and do have a registered agent, but no license or bond and no property that I could locate within TN. I think my first move is simply to wait and see if they appeal the judgment. If not, I'll look into my options more closely.

Would "threatening" to send a copy of the judgment to, say, Dunn & Bradstreet, or other business CRA's be worthwhile?

Are you going to sue for that too? Why not? :D

I wouldn't threaten to send a copy of the judgment, I would just do it.

Let them ask you for a "pay for delete!" 8)

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I did contact the Collection Agency License Bureau of TN and they're going to investigate.

In any event, I think my best bet would be to try and find an attorney in GA. SurelyI can get their bank accounts levied. I'm not very familiar on post judgment collections.

In my previous three lawsuits, the defendant paid up (1 actual trial, and 2 settlements).

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Just found this:

Foreign Judgment:

Under the Uniform Enforcement Of Foreign Judgments Act of the State of Georgia, a judgment from other states generally is entitled to full faith and credit for the purpose of enforcement. (Section 9-12-130 et seq.) A judgment creditor seeking to enforce a foreign judgment may file with the appropriate court, a certified copy of the foreign judgment and an affidavit showing the name and last known post office address of the judgment debtor and the judgment creditor, and pay a required fee in the same sums as required in civil cases in the superior court. (Section 9-12-135.) The clerk of the court and the creditor are required to mail a written notice of the filing of the foreign judgment to the judgment debtor at the address given. The notice must include the name and post office address of the judgment creditor and, if the judgment creditor has an attorney in this state, the attorney's name and address. Lack of mailing notice of filing by the clerk does not affect the enforcement proceedings if proof of mailing by the judgment creditor has been filed. (Section 9-12-133.)

A filed foreign judgment has the same effect and is subject to the same procedures, defenses, and proceedings for reopening, vacating, staying, enforcing, or satisfying as a judgment of the court in which it is filed and may be enforced or satisfied in like manner. (Section 9-12-132.) However, Geogria will apply these provisions to foreign judgments of other states only if those states have adopted the "Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act" in substantially the same form as this article. (Section 9-12-138.) In addition, a foreign judgment will not be recognized if the elements enumerated in Section 9-12-114 of the Official Code of Georgia exist. Some of the elements include failure of due process, lack of personal or subject matter jurisdiction, the defendant was not given sufficient time to defend, fraud in obtaining the judgment, the cause of action on which the judgment is based is repugnant to the public policy of the State of Georgia, or that the judgment conflicts with another final and conclusive judgment.

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Those last two comments are music to my ears. Did they really answer the complaint? If so, they may have waived the jurisdictional argument I just outlined. THe question you need to research (if it comes to that) is whether filing a "sworn denial" is a consent to the juridiction of the court.

What do you think about this TN statute 16-15-505?

Objections to the jurisdiction of the general sessions court, before which the warrant is returned, shall be made before the hearing, or they will be considered as waived.

[Code 1858, § 4120; Shan., § 5932; Code 1932, § 10133; T.C.A. (orig. ed.), § 19-311.]

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Have you collected your $$$ from the CA?

If not, will you hire another CA to collect from the CA you got the judgment against? :D

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For those of us learning...would you mind posting exactly what you charged them with and each line item dollar amount that was awarded? i am getting pulls w/o pp and I want to raise some judicial hell!

Thanks! Incidently - TN came after me for an aprtment lease judgment. I am paying the apartment company $2000 + for two months left on a lease for $540- they never notified me of a court date but hey! Evidently you can do that in the state of TN and it is okay! All they had to to do was mail the letter - it doesn't matter if anyone signs for it! So judgments can cross state lines. I'm afraid not to pay b/c I cannot have my wages garnished!

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Have you collected your $$$ from the CA?

If not, will you hire another CA to collect from the CA you got the judgment against? :D

They have not sent it as of today, though not really holding my breath either.

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