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Lawyer's response to my question about judgment


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I recently sent a lawyer my case file from a default judgment that was issued against me in 2005. I was never served and only found out about the judgment when I received a letter from my employer stating they took money out of my check for it. I changed jobs before it was completely paid and hadn't heard about it since. In Jan. I got taxes back and wanted to clean up my credit so I called around to the creditors/CAs and asked remaining balances. LF Noll was the CA that had the judgment. The lady said the amount I owed and then reminded me if I didn't pay they would put another garnishment on my check. I work in a very small company (30 people) and didn't want everyone to know about this so I paid and sent a letter stating I still didn't believe this was my debt. Anyways, the lawyer responded and stating the service was no good (because in IA you can not serve an APT Mgr as service) and the entire case was no good because of that. But then he said because I paid the remaining balance voluntaringly(sp?) then he didn't think it was going to be possible to void the judgment and that I should call and have LF Noll mark my reports as paid and then I should insert a comment on my reports explaining this situation. How can me paying the bill, with a letter disputing the debt, make this a nonvoidable situation?

When I explained the situation the bar assoc.'s referal service gave me this guys number and this is the only person they will recommend. Should I request that he still try to get this voided on improper service? Should I have him write a letter to LF Noll explaining they should dismiss(can they if it is satisfied?) the judgement? What should I do and what kind of lawyer am I really looking for?

Thanks

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He only said he thouht because I paid the judgement on my own free will that he wasn't sure that I could get it voided but he did say the whole situation was "no good" because the service was improper. I'm gonna ask him and I'll get back to you. I also found the NACA website and I think I'm going to speak with a lawyer from there as well.

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Spark

Here is what I found about personal service in IA:

Rule 56.1. Personal service.

Original notices are "served" by delivering a copy to the proper person. Personal service may be made as follows:

(a) Upon any individual who has attained majority who has not been adjudged incompetent either by taking the individual's signed, dated acknowledgment of service endorsed on the notice; or by serving the individual personally; or by serving, at the individual's dwelling house or usual place of abode, any person residing therein who is at least 18 years old, but if such place is a rooming house, hotel, club or apartment building, the copy shall there be delivered to such a person who is either a member of the individual's family or the manager, clerk, proprietor or custodian of such place; or upon the individual's spouse at a place other than the individual's dwelling house or usual place of abode if probable cause exists to believe that the spouse lives at the individual's dwelling house or usual place of abode.

Looks to me like an Apt Manager can accept service.

Either the statue has changed or the guy is confused or he just is wrong. I don't think it makes any difference.

There is a way to get this vacated but requires the assistance of the judgment creditor. The creditor can ask the court to reopen the case, then vacate the judgment, then dismiss the case. Presto, I all goes away as if it never existed.

If you ask nicely and agree to pay their legal fees to get this done, they might agree. That would surely be less expensive than hiring a lawyer to go fight what might be a losing cause.

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Thank for the replies. I sent all of the court records on this case to another lawyer to see what he says. If he doesn't think there is any other options then I will try the "GW" type letter to the judgement creditor. How much do you think the legal fees would cost and how should I approch this in a letter to them? Should I wait until it get older or do it now? Should I offer any additional money for doing this or is that illegal? Thanks for the help.

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I sent all of the court records on this case to another lawyer to see what he says. If he doesn't think there is any other options then I will try the "GW" type letter to the judgement creditor. How much do you think the legal fees would cost and how should I approch this in a letter to them? Should I wait until it get older or do it now? Should I offer any additional money for doing this or is that illegal?

I don't know what it would cost to pay their attorney to do this. Most likely, less than you would pay your attorney to try to find some way to overturn it.

Or, just get the creditor's consent and pay your attorney to file the appropriate paperwork for the procedure I described.

In either event, the key is to get the creditor's cooperation. The first step is to find a decision-maker. The President or General Counsel is, I think, the right place.

I would be direct but be nice. Was young and dumb. Paid what I owed. Getting my life on track. Trying to buy home for my family and the existence of the judgment is causing problems. In light of the fact that you have been fully paid, would you please consider blah, blah, blah. I'll call next week to see what questions you have.

Give it a week to 10 days and then call. It is during the call that you will probably close the deal. If they say yes. Fine. Shut up and stop talking. If they say maybe, then you reply "what would it take to make this happen". If they say no, ask why but don't argue. Listen. Then say, is there any way we can overcome that problem -- how about if I had my attorney did all the legal work or if I paid your attorney to do it for you? Or, do you have any suggestions for me?

If you make this a confrontation, they will never agree. If you are polite and sincere, I think you have a better than even money chance.

A different approach to this would be to have your attorney call their attorney and float the proposal.

Hope this is helpful.

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