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naturewit

I lost once to Midland. Now they're suing AGAIN!

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Sorry if I'm not putting this post in the right place. I'm really discouraged and would really appreciate some advice.

 

Two years ago, just as I was beginning a new career late in life, Midland sued me through Pressler&Pressler. I did a lot of research and played "lawyer" myself, burning myself out and ultimately losing. They garnished my wages and I have paid about half of a $14,000 judgment that they won.

 

I left my job in January and they stopped getting paid. ( I have been out of work and dealing with a personal health issue. I'm not disabled and will, at some point finnd another job and get back to work (where, presumably, they'll garnish those wages

too).

 

My sister's address is presently my "permanent address" inasmuch as I left the apartment I rented for the prior 15 years. She received a notice from the superior court that another fim is representin Midland for another debt (about $6,500).

 

[Also, the SOL in her state is 3 years, mine is 6; I left my residence March 31st, though I have not changed my license, registration or voting records, so i don't know if I can use the "SOL" defense, probably not, right?]

 

My credit is already shot inasmuch as I've got a judgment against me and so bankruptcy, while unappealing, is not the worst option.

 

My question is, can I call this law firm, explain to them that I might go bankrupt, in which case they won't receive anything, and ask if they can 'make a deal' to combine and reduce the 2 debts? Should I just declare bankruptcy?

 

The last time I tried to fight them on my own it really sucked the life out of me and I ended up losing anyway.

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Considering your health issues, etc., it might be that bankruptcy would be a good option. It will depend upon whether or not you have assets you want to protect, but most Bankruptcy Lawyers will provide an initial free consult. I would recommend meeting with 2-3 different ones. Not sure what BK costs in NJ, but will be around $1500 - $2000 for a chapter 7. Your credit will repair quite rapidly after filing for BK, it takes about 2 years compared to a minimum of 7-8 with judgments and you will be relieved if all the pressure. Good Luck!!  xkingx

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If no one has welcomed you to the board, let me be the first. We have several attorneys on here from various states that try to advise us. I believe that some of our members have utilized those attorneys when they both lived in the same state. That, in it's self has helped members out further. Once in awhile, we get someone on here that tends to bad mouth and berate the attorneys trying to help us out. Just pay them not attention, block their post if need be. Good luck, and again welcome.

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Bk would be a personal choice. Weigh out the debt against what you make. If it were me, and I qualified for bk, if I had more than 20k in debt, earning 50k a year, I would do it. It would take me years to pay that off. I would not pay it willingly to a JDB. But I would fight it first in court, make them spend money then hit them with a bk. The fact you already have a 14k judgement is a factor. How much outstanding debt to you have? Do you have assets you would need to consider?

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@naturewit, Midland Funding will often dismiss when the consumer obtains legal counsel.

... and then they will sell the debt to another JDB in their next portfolio sale.

 

 

@naturewit

Go talk to 3 or 4 BK lawyers.  You literally have nothing to lose by doing so, and if you wait until you have another job, you will not be in the same income bracket and may not qualify for Ch. 7 at that point.

 

Don't bother threatening Midland with BK.  They hear it a thousand times a day.  Midland knows that if people really intended to file BK, they would just do it.

 

One of the biggest regrets of my life is not filing Ch. 7 when I had the chance.

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I disagree.  In the 3 years I have been defending JDB lawsuits, I have seen this happen only one time.  In Oklahoma, as I suspect it is any many states, if the JDB (or whomever they may assign it to as you allude) fails to file suit within 1 year from the date of dismissal, the case (and debt) is permanently time-barred by the statute of limitations (savings statute).  Number of times I have seen a dismissed JDB case be re-filed within that year?  Zero.

OP seems to be in New Jersey which does not have savings statutes.

The odds of being sued a second time are arguably low, but your representation of "zero" is not a responsible accounting of the actual potential.

 

@naturewit, speaking with a BK lawyer may be the a good way to discharge the judgment against you, but depending on the amount of your total debt, BK may hurt more than it helps.  I have several friends that file Chapter 7's in Oklahoma that will not file a BK for someone with under $30,000 of debt.  However, I know of many more that will gladly take your money without considering how it could affect you in the form of higher interest rates, etc, in the future.

 

Higher interest rates and "etc" compared to what? Prevailing on a lawsuit does not remove the item from your credit report, so are you trying to tell us it's better to have judgments and/or collections on your credit report without the 'included in bankruptcy' flag? Rubbish...

By the way, OP is already being garnished for a $14,000 debt which will also be wiped out by Ch. 7.

If one does the BK game right, they can have a 650 FICO in 2 years following Ch. 7. There's lots of advice on this very message board on how to do it. Knowing what I know now, I'd love to trade in my 450 FICO and turn back the clock on my decision to fight my creditors in court one at a time.

Also,

Most debt defense attorneys will offer you a free consultation and most charge a flat fee that is a small fraction of what Midland is suing you for.

OP is being sued for $6500. Lawyers I talked to here have quoted me +/- $1750 to defend me in a debt collection lawsuit. I don't consider 1/4 a small fraction. And, as you know, that is likely non-recoverable. For a few bucks more you can file Ch. 7 and be done with virtually everyone you have ever owed money to.

Or keep paying $1750 each time a new one decides to sue.

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@Harry SeawardI am likely the largest volume "debt defense" and FDCPA firm in Oklahoma.

I don't want to get too insulting because I appreciate when actual lawyers take time out to offer advice here, but when I talked to BK lawyers, guess what their advice was?

 

 

I understand the FDCPA violation game as well as anyone, and it works well for those so inclined to employ it.  For someone that is disabled, buried to their eyeballs in debt and having had their paycheck garnished, and knowing when they do get another job that paycheck will be garnished also, it doesn't make sense to dally around with trying to pick off individual debts with threats of FDCPA violation suits.  Even if you can get pending lawsuits dismissed, it still doesn't fix the dangling $14,000 judgment and having to deal with new lawsuits each time they crop up.  You may very well be the best at your craft, but someone situated similarly to OP could very well suffer stress-related heath repercussions that amplify each time they get served with a new lawsuit.

AND ... FDCPA violations are NOT applicable to original creditors suing to collect their own debt. You have essentially no (Federal) statutory authority by which to leverage dismissal. (Some states do have debt collection laws that apply to original creditors, but a private right to action under these laws is not common).

Bankruptcy carries a social stigma as well as a credit stigma. It closes many doors, can affect hiring and housing decisions, but it can provide relief when needed. It may be a good plan for him depending on his circumstances.  However a BK (and accounts that are discharged by it) stay on your credit report for 10 years as opposed to 7 years.  To say that BK will give you better credit score is rare advice.

You haven't presented anything to show that a debt without the IIB flag is better than one with an IIB flag. And this idea is also contrary to any experience I have ever heard.

Maybe in the 50's BK was a scarlet letter, but this is 2014. There were 1.5 million personal BK filings in each year of 2009 and 2010. It's dropped each year since and the figure was just over 1 million in 2013. Roughly 2/3 of filings each year are Ch. 7. I haven't heard anyone say they have been denied credit due to BK that wouldn't have also been denied due to defaulted debts showing on their credit reports. Quite the contrary, in fact. Everyone reports that the second their BK is discharged they get a mailbox full of credit offers.

If I have to charge a fee at all, my fee for defending JDB suits is significantly lower.  Many times I do not have to charge consumers at all because I am able to spot an FDCPA violation.  I've returned numerous retainers to clients after we've sued the junk debt buyer after they've contacted my client after the state court dismissal directly or fail to properly update  their credit report.

Maybe it's the difference in the cost of living in OK vs. AZ, but the $1750 I cited was the average with minimal difference between the high end and low end. It's been some time now, but I think the range was $1,500-$1900 across 3 or 4 different lawyers.

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WOW!

 

I've been offline for a couple of days and returned to see all of this. I am So grateful for all of your responses and assistance. I clearly need to talk to a few lawyers and I will. I think I said in the original post that I fought them by myself the first time and it literally sucked the life out of me. Stress, indeed and I've dealt with my share of it beyond this stuff. but I can't go through this again, not alone.

 

Thank you again for your help, everyone.

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So, now you have us to help. Get on here and read and research until you understand the process. We can help you with that, but you must be willing to fight and not back down, they use fear and intimidation to beat you down. Time to buckle down.

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@paramountlaw please be careful.  While we do welcome advice from consumer lawyers, we recognize there is a fine line between bona fide legal advice and "debt fixer" hype.

 

Your experience in OK may not accurately reflect what happens in other parts of the country.

 

We have seen many instances of lawsuits dismissed for one JDB that simply get sold and refiled by another.

 

And, filing BK 7 (even BK 13) is sometimes a necessity.  In truth, a BK 7 no longer carries a "social stigma"...chances 1 or 2 of your neighbors have filed in the last 5 years.

 

And, if you're going to offer advice on BK, get your facts straight.  Yes, a BK 7 stays on your credit reports for 10 years...but, any tradelines that were IIB disappear at 7-1/2 yrs.  Chances are, if a consumer is employed and can demonstrate income, they can get a new car loan immediately after discharge, some credit cards within a year, and even a home loan within 2 yrs.

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@paramountlaw

 

We do not discourage consumer attorneys from this forum.   There have been consumer attorneys who have provided suggestions/advice in the past and one in particular still helps out on a regular basis. 

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@paramountlaw

 

@Harry Seaward, bankruptcy has lasting repercussions for consumers, and should only be considered as an avenue of last resort. Advising otherwise is short-sighted.

Again, you have yet to provide a single example of how having a derogatory item appear on your credit report with an IIB flag is not better than the same item without the IIB flag. (Remember, just because you sue and win against a JDB does NOT remove the original item from your credit report).

And I do not agree that BK should only be used as a last resort.

Here is my personal experience:

In 2007 I made some dumb financial decisions (bought a house while working a job where I knew my salary was artificially inflated, opened several credit cards and ran up the balances, etc). In 2008 I lost that job. I borrowed tens of thousands of dollars from my family just to make minimum payments on my bills with the hope that I would find another job close to what I was making. It never happened and at the end of 2009, I had to stop paying everything. I defaulted on 7 or 8 credit cards, a car loan and my mortgage. The cards all got charged off and went to collections, the car was repo'ed and the house was sold at auction. Obviously without a job to repay all of these debts, I was in a prime position to qualify for Ch. 7. Had I filed Ch. 7 at the moment I knew I was unable to repay my debts, I would have done so with no derogatory items on my credit report. The only thing that would have shown would have been that I filed BK and all of the accounts with balances were included in the BK. No lates, no charge offs, no collections. I probably would have still had the car repossessed and lost the house, but there wouldn't have been any late payments associated with those accounts. Instead, after 6 years, I have a zillion late payments showing, have been sued by 3 OC's and a JDB and my FICO is in the mid-400's.

Now, let's take a look at my sister's story. Around the same time, she realized she was in over her head financially. She didn't waste a minute and filed for Ch. 7. Now after 6 years, she has no late, charged off or collection items on her report, has been able to finance a car, was able to keep one of her homes and has a 680 FICO.

So you tell me. Which of these stories has the more negative and lasting repercussions?

 

Unfortunately, many Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys do not know the debt defense field, never fight lawsuits filed by debt buyers, and do not file FDCPA actions. Many use software like Bestcase, enter information from the client's credit reports into the software, attend the meeting of creditors, and collector their fee. Of course this is not always the case, however, and the there are many qualified attorneys that do all 3 areas of this type of work. OP should try to find a firm that advertises all 3 of these specialties (debt defense, FDCPA and bankruptcy).

They don't know the debt defense field because they don't need to. All of a consumer's debts will be wiped out with the BK. It's a moot point.

 

I'm not sure why you are discussing original creditors in this post. OP is being used by a third party debt collector who may have already (or may soon) violate the FDCPA which could allow a mechanism for free legal representation.

I'm discussing it because it's relevant to your approach of using the FDCPA as leverage to fighting debt related lawsuits. The FDCPA is limited in scope in that it only applies to debt collectors and JDBs. Many people that are being sued by debt collectors and JDBs also have the threat of lawsuits from original creditors. If you can use the FDCPA leverage on only half of your debts, what is the point when you can file BK and knock everything out in one fell swoop?

If you have only one single debt item ever, sure, take the FDCPA approach. You probably won't go wrong. If it's several debts, which is the case here (not to mention, one of them has already been converted into a judgment and garnishment), it makes no sense whatsoever to try to pick the debts off one at a time.

As I was trying to hint at earlier, your approach to using "debt defense" is undoubtedly directly related to the fact that this approach is what pays your mortgage. No harm in that, as I'm sure that's the same reason the BK lawyers were telling me it was better for me to file BK. All anyone here can ask is that you be clear in your motives.

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@paramountlaw

 

We do not discourage consumer attorneys from this forum.   There have been consumer attorneys who have provided suggestions/advice in the past and one in particular still helps out on a regular basis. 

 

Consumer lawyers are definitely WELCOMED here. Ideally, we would have one for every state.

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Well, I started this thread and I thank everyone for their input. And I wish you all well too. I called the court and I missed the court date. (I'm out of the country and the letter from the court was forwarded to my sister's house so I didn't get notified until she told me),

 

Anyway, it appears that the best thing to do is bankruptcy or figure out a way to make a lot of money soon. It took too much out of me last time I tried to fight them myself.

 

Thank you again to everyone and best wishes,

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Sorry to rekindle an old thread but I need help/advice and I need it from someone experienced and clear thinking.

 

I've been in a funk of depression (all my life), exacerbated by this current mess and I've been frozen and burnt out but I need to act and I want to be smart about my actions (my inaction has left me in quite a mess...)

 

I defaulted on three credit cards after I graduated from school on 2008. I looked at my credit report today and Midland sued me for 2 of them and got judgements both times, once in Oct. 2011 and again a few months ago. (The third CC was for BOA and which shows as "cancelled by credit grantor" on the report...not sure what that means...)

 

They recently got a lien against my bank account and tried to take money for the 2011 debt (~14K, of which they were paid about 7K via wage garnishment). The recent judgement they got against me this year was also for about 7K.

 

After the notice that they'd received this most recent judgement, they sent me a letter saying that it's not too late to settle with them, for (maybe) less than they won in judgment.

 

About a week later, I was notified from my bank that I had a lien placed for the balance of the prior judgement yet to be paid.

 

So I still owe them a total of about 14K, and obviously they mean business but they did send that letter saying maybe we could 'deal.'

 

I have some debt that can't be discharged (about 13K) but the total of what I owe, according to my credit report is about 16K, of which 14K is due to Midland.

 

MY QUESTION - "It it likely or even possible that I could get both judgements settled for anywhere near the BK attorney's fees of about $1,800?"

 

I've already spoken with a BK attorney who is, of course, encouraging me to go BK. But I'm wondering if I went to Midland and said, "Look, you've already gotten 7K from me, and if I declare BK you'll get nothing....

 

I'm not sure what kind of a deal I could work....

 

I've got this fantasy about making a d4eal with them, spending some money to them, maybe, but having judgements removed from my credit report and getting them - and the risk of wage garnishing - off my  back. Is that just a fantasy?

 

(...also, I forgot to mention that in my debt is also an additional $13K for my car payment...maybe I should get out from nder that too but I really want to come out of this strong and victorious, not losing everything (I already lost everything I owned, literally, earlier this year...)

 

Thank you very much for your time.

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They already have judgements, I would say they will not settle for any thing less than 50%, and will want it in one lump payment at that. They don't care if you threaten the bk bomb, but I suppose it wouldn't hurt to ask, the most they could do is say no.

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