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Creditor was awarded default judgement while I was abroad


leo.lyon
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Hi everyone! :)++

I was wondering if you anyone could offer advice.

Cach LLC farmed out a debt I owed to FIA/MBNA/BOA to a local lawyer and I was sued in court.

The problem is that I was never served. I know this because I currently work and live abroad! My mom said she came home one day and saw an envelope on the door but that was about it so she put it in my mail.

Of course I didnt know any of this until a default judgement appeared on my credit report.

The judgement was for a little under $5000.

I was wondering if I could have this vacated. (This happened in Indiana).

The problem is that I live abroad. I'll be home later this year for about 2 weeks but I doubt that's enough time to get all of this dealt with.

My mother isn't really savvy with situations like this and I tried asking a local lawyer for advice before paying for services and he didn't seem interested because he said the amount was for such little money.:roll:

This is what I want to do:

1. Have the judgement removed

2. Have the debt verified

3. Possibly settle if I have to pay ($1500 in one payment or $2000 over several payments - i know that's a huge cut from the judgement but I dont remember the original debt being oer $3000 - it's just junk debt)

I've heard that Cach is notorious for shady practices.

When I called the court house - the woman in the clerk's office seemed totally clueless. She just suggested that I call the lawyer that sued me. I asked her why would I talk with a lawfirm that wasnt ethical enough to properly serve me in the first place. It's not like they would be jumping at a "do over" as they already have a default judgement). She didnt have an answer. Then I asked her what could be done to have the judgement vacated and she mentioned something about a "minute sheet".

I have no idea what to do because 1) I'm abroad and 2) I wont be in the US for very long and 3)I dont have anyone in my hometown that I can trust to handle this competently

any advice? :neutral:

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Guest usctrojanalum

You are in a pretty tough spot, outside of finding a lawyer who is willing to help you out - there is nothing you will be able to do from abroad. Two weeks probably not enough time to get a judgment vacated.

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You are in a pretty tough spot, outside of finding a lawyer who is willing to help you out - there is nothing you will be able to do from abroad. Two weeks probably not enough time to get a judgment vacated.

What do you think the costs of a lawyer would be for something like this? It's in small town Indiana.

I worry about lawyer fees adding up for what seems pretty simple.

I think I'll see if I can do the minute sheet thing before I arrive in the states.

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Is this your debt alone, nobody co-signed? Do you have any property in the U.S. and/or is your pay deposited in a U.S. bank. In other words, do you have anything they can get their hands on in the immediate future?

Personally, the above questions would play a huge role in how I handled this. The only down side is if there is some notation by the clerk you called about the judgement (I doubt it). I would be content, assuming they could get nothing, just waiting until I got back for good and then "all the sudden" finding about the judgment. That way you could fight it w/o an atty.

It should not be too hard to get the judgement vacated if you were not even in the country. You never know. There are some crazy laws sometimes that define what proper service is.

Find out if they can even by the slimmest of chances claim the service is proper. Not what you think or common sense would say is proper, but what the rules say. If not, then I would not worry too much. I'd fight it, but I'd do it myself when I got back.

I mean how are you going to show up for court when you sue them for FDCPA violations, if you find out they did something underhanded with the service, if you're not in the country. ;)

If this was improper service, I'd like to be in the courtroom when they try to fight a motion to vacate when you were not even in the United States. :shock:

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Is this your debt alone, nobody co-signed? Do you have any property in the U.S. and/or is your pay deposited in a U.S. bank. In other words, do you have anything they can get their hands on in the immediate future?

Personally, the above questions would play a huge role in how I handled this. The only down side is if there is some notation by the clerk you called about the judgement (I doubt it). I would be content, assuming they could get nothing, just waiting until I got back for good and then "all the sudden" finding about the judgment. That way you could fight it w/o an atty.

It should not be too hard to get the judgement vacated if you were not even in the country. You never know. There are some crazy laws sometimes that define what proper service is.

Find out if they can even by the slimmest of chances claim the service is proper. Not what you think or common sense would say is proper, but what the rules say. If not, then I would not worry too much. I'd fight it, but I'd do it myself when I got back.

I mean how are you going to show up for court when you sue them for FDCPA violations, if you find out they did something underhanded with the service, if you're not in the country. ;)

If this was improper service, I'd like to be in the courtroom when they try to fight a motion to vacate when you were not even in the United States. :shock:

Thanks Coltfan! :wink:

No, I dont have any assets or property in the United States. I also keep most of my money outside of the USA in fear that the creditor will freeze my bank account and take the money.

I left the USA for a job that would help me save and pay down debts without making new ones and I've been pretty successful so far. This judgement is pretty much the only bad thing left on my credit report so it's annoying in the sense that it's keeping me from getting prime credit accounts. I was hoping to return to the USA with restored credit.

My credit scores (with the judgement on my report) are in the high 600/low 700 range.

It's been about a year since the lawsuit happened, is it possible to have it vacated a year or two after the default judgement?

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I've seen and heard of judgements being vacated after six years. The theory behind vacating a judgement for improper service is that the person knew nothing about the judgement since they were never properly served.

You can't very well argue that somebody should have filed a motion to vacate sooner if you can't prove they never knew about the issue. That is why I mentioned the court clerk.

I'm not telling you to lie. However, it would be pretty hard to argue a person outside the U.S., that was not served, and got a judgement against them should have moved the court to vacate sooner.

It's just going to be hard to fight this from outside the U.S. without hiring an atty. Also, it might sound strange, but you do need to make sure no matter how crazy it sounds if that service was actually improper per the court rules.

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I'd be a jerk... call them up and negotiate a settlement - let them know you live overseas, have no US assets to attach and this is their 1 and only chance to get paid 15 cents on the dollar.

Let them know you love it in some tropical paradise and you have zero intention of coming back...

From there see what happens...

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Guest usctrojanalum

If this was improper service, I'd like to be in the courtroom when they try to fight a motion to vacate when you were not even in the United States. :shock:

They definitely have the upper hand though. OP said they were going to be home for two weeks. If OP brings the motion, all the plaintiff has to do is request a 3 week adjournment and the OP is basically out of luck.

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I'd be a jerk... call them up and negotiate a settlement - let them know you live overseas, have no US assets to attach and this is their 1 and only chance to get paid 15 cents on the dollar.

Let them know you love it in some tropical paradise and you have zero intention of coming back...

From there see what happens...

I thought about doing this but I dont think they would believe me.

If I were living abroad in a tropical paradise with no plans of returning (and they had no way of getting my assets), in reality I probably wouldnt care about having this judgement on my report.

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