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Is this legal? Regarding wage garnishing


2talll
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I get a call and email from the person in charge of payroll at my school today saying they got a court order to start taking out 278.99 out of my pay to pay a court ordered payment of 1178 that I owe for a debt.

My question is- is it right/legal that there's a court ordered payment without me ever being made aware that it was even in court?? I got a letter from them a couple months back requesting payment and I sent a certified letter asking for debt verification which went un-answered. Then I hear nothing until I get the call from the payroll person today.

Had I knew this was going to court it would have definitely been fought- after all this is a debt that is from more than 5 years ago. It was a deptartment store card that had around $200 on it when I started having trouble with debt and tried going through debt consolidation- long story but it was suggested to stop making payments on the debts and work on sending letters etc. Then last year I get a letter saying I owe $900+ for the debt. Funny how the large credit card debts I have have gone away but the cheesy dept store one is the one being a pain in my butt right now.

Is there anything I can do now, or is it too late? I guess all things considered having to pay 1100 is better than having to pay the others ones I owe- but it just seems wrong to have all the court stuff going on behind my back.

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Unfortunately, this is becoming increasingly common. Collectors getting default judgments by falsifying service of summons documents.

Yes you can do something about this but only as damage control. You cannot stop the garnishment that has been served right now. Your employer must obey the court order until you get it overturned.

You need to get a copy of the judgment. Your payroll should have it. Then, you need to contact the clerk of the court that issued the judgment and enter a motion to dismiss summary judgment for lack of service. You then need to pull the service record from the clerk to show you were never served properly with notice to appear in court.

Once you get the judgment dismissed, you can take that paperwork to your employer to have the garnishments stopped. At that point you also can sue the collector for violations of the FDCPA and get your money back with penalties levied against them.

This does not mean they cannot sue you again and do it properly.

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What's "Sewer Service" refer to?

I talked to my payroll person again and the deductions won't start until the 17th payroll- what are the chances I can get it vacated before then?

Sewer Service is what was done to you. The plaintiff basically has you served a summons in a manner that satisfies the court but denies you knowledge of being served. Of course you don't show for the hearing because you had no knowledge of it and the plaintiff gets an easy default judgement. It's a sneaky, underhanded method of manipulating the courts to entrap you. If you follow the advice given above.... you have a good chance of having the judgement vacated.

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Hang on people, vacating a judgment based on improper service is by no means a slam dunk ! It is NOT as easy as it sounds as there are usually several LEGAL options for serving a summons. You need to check your state laws for service of process before you start filing papers with the court. Get a copy of the proof of service and see exactly what DID occur. Check it against your state laws (put your state in your profile please !) and if service was truly improper then you may get the judgment vacated easily.

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Thanks,

I'll print it out and take a look at it later. I'm planning on going to the court today to try to get copies of everything and get the paperwork to file the motion- I work 8-6 M-F so I'm running out during a break so I can't be there forever. I'l be sure to look everything over tonight or tomorrow. If I need any help, I'll be sure to ask again. Thanks for the help.

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Here's what I got so far:

I went to court and the clerk pulled the file and there was something mailed to me in March of '04 saying that I was being sued and needed to respond with what I wanted to do. She said that was all they required to do for "service." Only problem is that I never received that letter. She said after the ruling there was another letter sent to my house- which I also didn't receive. She said there's no "lack of service" motion I can write up if the letters were lost in the mail and I didn't receive them.

She said my options are to put in a motion to stop the wage deductions and file to have the case re-opened so I can have an adequate hearing.

We were talking (I was surprised how helpful she was) and we ended up talking about how I had a debt consolidation company that was "taking care of" my debts around that time and they ended up dissapearing off the face of the of the earth without finishing any of the needed paperwork to deal with a couple of my debts properly. She suggested going through my files and bank statements and gathering info about them for the hearing- seeing as I was trying to do something about the debts it wasn't totally my fault that debt remained outstanding. I also told her that I sent a certified letter to the lawyer after they sent me a letter and that went un-signed for and unanswered. She said these are things that would come up in the hearing and possible help my case.

Here's my question: Is a hearing for something like this something I can handle myself? I'm thinking I might need a lawyer for something like this and if I need to pay a lawyer and take a day or two off from work to go to the hearing it might just be cheaper to bite the bullet and start paying now. Or do I file the motion to stop the judgement and re-open the case and she what happens.

What do you guys suggest??? Thanks!

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Definately file the motion to stop the garnishment and get a hearing. In the default judgment they were probably awarded extra money for costs and attorney fees... all because you didn't know you were being sued at all. That, obviously, is not fair or equitable.

As for two letters supposedly disappearing in the mail, I don't buy it. Not at all. Who mailed it? The clerk's office? Or the CA that sued you? If the CA simply signed a piece of paper saying they mailed it, I would raise that issue in the hearing. There have been a *ton* of cases recently where debt collector attorneys falsified court documents saying they mailed or served summons when they actually did not. You can definately question it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I got the letter from the court in the mail today saying that the wage attachment has been stopped until a new hearing on the 29th of January. I'm thinking I contact the attorney and see if we can settle out of court- we'd both end up saving money. Since the court date is on a Monday I can't use my "free" personal day without giving a reason and I don't want to use a sick day. I'm thinking see what they say- maybe I can get it about half or something. What do you think?

As for the debt company- I reported them to the BBB so I'll see where that goes. I'm going to tell the attorney that they were handling my affairs at the time and were supposed to stop the interest, etc. so I had no idea that the 200 bill had blown up to nearly a grand.

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