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What to do when three courts refuse to vacate a clearly Void Judgment?


graym
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I am posting with my girlfriend's permission, as this was her case. She filed a Motion for Relief and was denied, she timely appealed and was denied on the merits, she timely filed for Petition of Certiorari and was denied on the merits, without explanation. Since many of you probably think that I have no idea what a Void Judgment is, I'm simply going to attach the court documents (minus personal information) so everyone can view it for themselves (look at the Exhibits to the filing). Her Appeal was completely screwed up. The opposing side introduced new evidence into the Appeal (which they admitted), she timely filed a motion to strike, and then the Appeal was decided on the merits and denied on the exact same day the Motion to Strike was denied, without explanation. The portion of the record indicating a void judgment was not included in the appellate record. She was intending on filing a motion to supplement the record with her Reply Brief (The record was sent after she had already filed her initial brief), but she was never given an opportunity to file a Reply Brief, a fact which also should have resulted in reversal as it is a basic denial of due process.

Regardless of all of that, the Judgment is still clearly void because the record shows that she had no knowledge of the proceedings. The Final Judgment of Garnishment was issued on July 9th. One day later on July 10th, the opposing party files a Notice of Return Mail Pleadings informing the Trial Court that all documents in the entire case had been returned to them as undelivered and should now be hereby deemed filed with the court. Think about that for one second. Just chew on it, and let it salivate. After Final Judgment had been issued, the opposing party themselves informed the trial court that ALL DOCUMENTS in the entire case had been returned to sender. They should have been sanctioned for fraud, and yet somehow they won at the trial court level, the Appellate level, and 2nd tier review in the District Court of Appeals. The record clearly shows they knowingly, and intentionally, were sending documents to an erroneous address. They were advancing the proceedings by informing the trial court that she was merely not responding (which is ridiculous considering they knew she had not received any documents), and yet still won in 3 different courts.

If someone can explain this, explain away.

EDIT: Won't let me upload a PDF :( For the time being, here is a link: http://i.imgur.com/o4gytAI.png?1

post-164782-72985_thumb.jpg

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Graym,

I am by no means an expert on Florida Law, but your issues always come with twists and turns. So I did a small amount of research and reviewed the documents you have posted. (very hard to read them)

My observations are as follows:

1. In my experience there are several parts to a collection case. There is the tiral court ruling of the collection case that a defendant owes the money creating the Judgement. Then there is a second proceeding where the court allows for the Garnishment of the Defendants Assets.

On what date did the trial court find in favor of the Plaintiff, where a ruling was issued she owed X amount. In most instances this can be a year or more in the past, prior to the actual garnishment proceeding. Frankly, if this plaintiff is as dishonest as you portray them I would expect the judegment to have been issued at least 1 year prior to the garnishment proceeding.

As I read Florida Rules of Civil Procedure 1.540(B), you only have 1 year from date of judgement to challege the "Trial Courts" ruling, unless you are going to bring a challenge based on Fraud.

My hour of research shows there is a concept of "Void Judgment" in the law. The case seems to meet the criteria. The issue is you need a court to order/rule that it is a Void Judgement. You casully mentioning it in an appeal document doesn't make it so.

Given this the appeal filings and rulings were or may have been brought based on the wrong issues being asked. This is not uncommon with us as Pro Se filers. This is where the law school degree and practical experience with the local court system is a plus, knowing the procedure and order of argument to fit the procedure.

Now you face what many do, how to unwind the mess? Based on the facts, you likley have a winning arguement, but now you have not one but two appeal court rulings against you.

I remember you dad is an attorney, I would think you may want to seek his advice or a collegue of his, to make sure what ever you file next is asking the court for the ruling that you need to get the case back on track.

Best of Luck

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I was unable to upload it as a PDF, and IMGUR changes it to a PNG making it harder to read. If anyone can help explain a better way to make it more visible, I'll definitely post it.

The Final Judgment of Garnishment was issued on July 9th, 2013. On July 10th is when they filed the Notice of Return Mail Pleadings, which she received about July 15th. Also, it didn't include everything they said, most of which they sent with their 2nd Notice of Return Mail Pleadings. On July 27th she filed the Letter with the Trial Court. They didn't send the Final Judgment until after she filed her letter, which prevented her from simply Appealing the Judgment as her Motion for Relief had already been filed and hearing set, and she learned of the Judgment late. I've attached the docket of the original case. (It's not letting me upload it.....)

However, as the docket indicates, the trial court viewed her letter as a Motion for Relief from Judgment. The letter, filed with the Trial Court, also lays out why she is seeking relief (Had not received any papers) and the requested relief: to re-open the case. True, it's a Pro Se filing and not a formal motion, but that should not have precluded her from obtaining relief from a Void Judgment.

The only possible "twist" is if the Appellate Court viewed her Motion as being applied to the original Judgment, and not the Garnishment Judgment. She screwed up by unknowingly not including the Garnishee in the filing, despite listing it as a filing in the Garnishment action, and the opposing party responded by raising issues from both the original case, and Garnishment case which she later responded to. However, the original Judgment was over a year old so a Motion for Relief directed at the original Judgment would not have been an authorized motion (unless Void/Fraud) so it further makes no sense. The whole case is screwed up a million ways.

In my opinion, the next step would be for her to re-file the Motion to Vacate Void Final Judgment of Garnishment with the trial court in proper format, properly serving the garnishee and listing the exact arguments why it is Void, and ask for the last 2 years of proceedings to be purged from the record as Void since an Appellate Court could not have had Jurisdiction when the Trial Court did not have Jurisdiction. I'm also going to advise her to contact an Attorney. However, due to the fact the Court is over 400 miles away, getting an Attorney is going to be a problem since a local Attorney probably wouldn't want to take a case over 400 miles away, and she won't be able to meet with an Attorney local to the case due to distance. The good news is that since it's a Void Judgment, she's not under any time constraints on filings.

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@graym

Just to clarify:

1. The garnishment proceedings took place after she already had a judgment against her, correct?

2. What did her letter have to do with the garnishment? The letter seemed to be in regard to the lawsuit...the reason she was sued in the first place.

3. The statute she raised in the appeal (77.041) is to make claims as to why one's wages or income is exempt from garnishment (social security income, disability income, etc.). Did she have any such claims?

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1) Yes, there was an existing Judgment.

2) Her letter was based on the Garnishment. She filed it after receiving papers in the Garnishment Action. I guess that's the problem, it was unclear.

3) The Statute concerns how she is to be notified of the proceedings, it defines proper service. It also explains her rights to claim an exemption or request a hearing. How would anyone know if she had any exemptions when she was never given any opportunity to respond? By not following statute, they deprived her of notice of the proceedings. Whether or not she had any exemptions or not is irrelevant. It would be like you losing a case to sewer service, and then asking whether or not it was your debt after the fact. It's irrelevant at that point, the sole issue is notice of the proceedings and proper service.

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@graym

In regard to her letter, if she signed papers before a judgment was entered (possibly to offer to pay and not be sued?), that has nothing to do with the garnishment proceedings.

It might help if we knew why the courts denied relief from garnishment. What reasons were given? What did they say about 77.041?

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That statement is referring to a document signed prior to the Garnishment proceedings, and I agree it was confusing. She did not understand why she was being garnished, and offered that as a possible explanation in relation to the Garnishment. I 100% agree it was not filed properly, however at the top of the letter where she listed the case number she wrote "Garnishment Action" which shows her intent that this letter was in regards to the Garnishment Proceeding. Which is logical, nobody wants to be Garnished, especially when you don't know why you are being garnished.

No court offered any explanation as to the Garnishment Action. The trial court denied without explanation, the Appellate Court wrote an opinion stating it was not an abuse of discretion, and the District Court denied her Petition without explanation and denied her Motion for Rehearing/Request for Written Opinion. No court has addressed it. I think there was confusion as to which Judgment was being attacked due to the fact the Garnishee was not included in the proceedings. I think all rulings were applied to the wrong Judgment. Hence, why my personal opinion is for her to re-file it clearly and correctly and ask that the past 2 years of proceedings be purged from the record as Void.

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@graym

When was the judgment (original lawsuit, not the garnishment proceedings) issued?

Failure to serve is a technicality. While it's possible the writ of garnishment should have been dissolved, it could probably be refiled and proper service could be made. Unless she has valid exemptions, to have the writ dissolved is probably just putting off the inevitable.

Isn't your dad an attorney? What did he say?

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The biggest issue is that the Garnishment Judgment was for the wrong amount. In their Writ they asked for about $2,000 more than they were entitled to. The Court reduced it some, but still granted them about $1,000 more than they were entitled to. The interest was miscalculated by the Trial Court. This would have been addressed at hearing, but she never got the chance. It's like the Attorney's made up a number, and the Trial Court just cut it in half without actually bothering to do the math since it's a simple mathematical calculation based on the amount of the original Judgment + interest/costs.

Also, if it is overturned she would gain the right to sue them in a separate action for Abuse of Process. She would also be entitled to Restitution + interest, and they would lose out on their costs. She could use the Abuse of Process suit as leverage to negotiate if she wants to. There are many reasons why it makes sense to overturn the Void Judgment, not the least of which is the fact they were awarded more than they were entitled to.

The original Judgment is from 2009 so it's beyond the 1 year Motion for Relief but it would appear that the original Judgment is also Void as documents in the case do not have any certificates of service on them. They did the same thing in the original case that they did in the Garnishment proceeding. They had trouble finding her and filed documents without any Certificates of Service. One of which is the Affidavit of Indebtedness showing how the debt was calculated which the Judgment was based on. It shows that they started calculating interest prior to the date they purchased the debt, and that they apparently awarded themselves Attorney's fees. I'll upload the document later. Based on the complete lack of certificates of service on the documents, she should also be able to overturn the original Judgment as Void as well. It's as if they felt they were entitled to Judgment and informing her of the proceedings was a mere inconvenience to them. They effectuated service properly via substitute service, which she never actually received, but these documents were all filed with the Trial Court after service was effectuated, without any certificates of service on the documents which makes no sense as to why the Court allowed it. There are also faxes sent to the Court, with references to conversations they had without her knowledge as well. It looks like the Court reminded them that they never filed an Affidavit, and they rushed it in by fax just prior to the pre-trial hearing which is why it was never served on her. She found all this for the first time when she ordered a copy of the case in preparation for her Petition with the District Court so the argument was never raised. Pretty amazing stuff that this was allowed to happen.

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@graymIn 2009, she was never served a summons and complaint? And she was never served with a notice of a default judgment?

 

Not personally no. It was served substitute on her ex-fiancé who was staying with her at the time. She never saw it though. The simple version is that they called her, she appeared, unknowingly signed a Stipulation Agreement which is a problem. However, the documents filed in the court prior to the Stipulation Agreement, after the original service in the case, were never served on her and contain no certificate of service at all on the documents. One document is the Affidavit of Indebtedness, which is the only place in the entire case where a calculation of the Judgment is found, and it also shows the amount of the Stipulation Agreement and Judgment were wrong. They started calculating interest prior to the date of purchase of the debt, and they awarded themselves attorney's fees. However, on the Stipulation and Judgment, everything is grouped together so neither document mentions pre-judgment interest or Attorney's fees at all, despite the fact they are clearly included. Subsequently, the Final Judgment awarded Attorney's fees but does not actually state that it does. Also, due to the wrong calculation on the Affidavit, the amount of the Final Judgment is in excess of the amount small claims courts were designed for, even after you subtract interest, attorney's fees and costs.

Regardless, the fact that the Stipulation Agreement and the Judgment were based on the Affidavit of Indebtedness which was never served, that should be enough to vacate the Judgment as Void. When the document was filed with the court without a certificate of service, the court should have ordered them to serve a copy on the Defendant.

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Is this the same case from another thread you started where you proclaimed loudly and vociferously that the FL Supreme Court was going to rule for your girlfriend despite myself and several others explaining the law to you repeatedly?

Here is the bottom line: she was sued and even though they did not serve her PERSONALLY the service was legal upon her residence therefore it stands. The fact that her soon to be ex lied to her about it is between her and the ex, the creditor is not a party to that problem. The service was legal therefore it does not render the judgment void no matter how much you want that to be so.

Next: she DID go to the court hearing and if she didn't understand what it was she is a grown adult of legal and sound mind. She should have asked or hired a lawyer. At the conference she signed a consent judgment. At that point it was game over to her. She made a one time payment of $200 but failed to make any more per the stipulation. That consent judgment she signed is an AUTOMATIC judgment and the creditor is no longer required to go to court to collect or to serve her with evidence. Once she defaulted on that it was over on negotiating anything. The whole point to a consent judgment is so that the creditor does not have to serve documents, an affidavit of indebtedness, or use the courts again other than to garnish.

Last: She appealed and lost on the merits. We told you months ago the chances of the Supreme Court over turning that were zero. You argued a bunch of nonsense anyway. The reality is the Supreme Court ruled correctly. This is NOT a void judgment despite all the smoke and mirrors you tried to file in a brief for your girlfriend. The fact that your father a lawyer will not help her speaks volumes.

The calculations they are making may seem erroneous to you but the details are in that stipulated judgment she agreed to. It likely calls for court costs, attorney fees, and post judgment interest back to the date she signed it if she defaulted again. The court does not have to explain the garnishment action. It is very very simple: she signed a consent judgment, she defaulted, they garnished because she defaulted AGAIN. Then she filed a series of frivolous appeals considering they had a consent judgment

.

There is no where to go with this now. She has exhausted all remedies within the courts and lost. Her only other option is the head of household income exemption to garnishment in Florida if she qualifies.

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Is this the same case from another thread you started where you proclaimed loudly and vociferously that the FL Supreme Court was going to rule for your girlfriend despite myself and several others explaining the law to you repeatedly?

Here is the bottom line: she was sued and even though they did not serve her PERSONALLY the service was legal upon her residence therefore it stands. The fact that her soon to be ex lied to her about it is between her and the ex, the creditor is not a party to that problem. The service was legal therefore it does not render the judgment void no matter how much you want that to be so.

Next: she DID go to the court hearing and if she didn't understand what it was she is a grown adult of legal and sound mind. She should have asked or hired a lawyer. At the conference she signed a consent judgment. At that point it was game over to her. She made a one time payment of $200 but failed to make any more per the stipulation. That consent judgment she signed is an AUTOMATIC judgment and the creditor is no longer required to go to court to collect or to serve her with evidence. Once she defaulted on that it was over on negotiating anything. The whole point to a consent judgment is so that the creditor does not have to serve documents, an affidavit of indebtedness, or use the courts again other than to garnish.

Last: She appealed and lost on the merits. We told you months ago the chances of the Supreme Court over turning that were zero. You argued a bunch of nonsense anyway. The reality is the Supreme Court ruled correctly. This is NOT a void judgment despite all the smoke and mirrors you tried to file in a brief for your girlfriend. The fact that your father a lawyer will not help her speaks volumes.

The calculations they are making may seem erroneous to you but the details are in that stipulated judgment she agreed to. It likely calls for court costs, attorney fees, and post judgment interest back to the date she signed it if she defaulted again. The court does not have to explain the garnishment action. It is very very simple: she signed a consent judgment, she defaulted, they garnished because she defaulted AGAIN. Then she filed a series of frivolous appeals considering they had a consent judgment

.

There is no where to go with this now. She has exhausted all remedies within the courts and lost. Her only other option is the head of household income exemption to garnishment in Florida if she qualifies.

 

Nothing in the original Judgment has anything to do with the Garnishment Judgment. In Florida, they are two distinct actions. Regardless of whether or not you think the ORIGINAL Judgment is valid, that doesn't make the Garnishment Judgment valid. Secondly, she has not yet raised the arguments regarding the original Judgment so she has not lost on the merits as to those arguments. Her Motion was directed at the Garnishment Judgment. This is very far from being over, and her Appeals were certainly not frivolous, she should have won on the basis the Garnishment Judgment is void. All that means is she has to make it clear, use proper format, and re-file it with the Trial Court and re-start the entire process. Res Judicata does not apply to attempts to vacate Void Judgments, and no court even ruled on service in the Garnishment proceeding.

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"Nothing in the original Judgment has anything to do with the Garnishment Judgment. In Florida, they are two distinct actions. Regardless of whether or not you think the ORIGINAL Judgment is valid, that doesn't make the Garnishment Judgment valid."

 

This is where your confusion on what is going on shows.  The garnishment is NOT a judgment.  It is nothing more than an order by the court that requires BY LAW the employer withhold the required percentage from the employees wages based upon a prior court action or judgment of debt.  It is NOT a separate judgment and there is no requirement the court notify the garnishee prior to entering it.  In fact they do not notify in advance so that debtors cannot hide assets.

 

The judgment is VALID because she signed it.  It is a consent judgment meaning she gave her consent for the creditor to have a judgment against her in exchange for making payments.  This is so if she defaults again they do not have to start the lawsuit process over again they can simply garnish and collect.  Which they DID.

 

"Secondly, she has not yet raised the arguments regarding the original Judgment so she has not lost on the merits as to those arguments. Her Motion was directed at the Garnishment Judgment."

 

She can't raise the arguments because a consent judgment also waves the right to appeal.  That is over too.  Even if there was a right to appeal it is only 30 days and once that lapses she is time barred from pursuing it.  

 

"This is very far from being over, and her Appeals were certainly not frivolous, she should have won on the basis the Garnishment Judgment is void. All that means is she has to make it clear, use proper format, and re-file it with the Trial Court and re-start the entire process."

 

Oh, this is VERY over but you are not smart enough to realize it yet.  There was nothing for her to win.  ONE MORE TIME:  she consented to the judgment which makes it valid. (she is a legally competent adult able to enter into a contract so that makes the consent judgment VALID)  Once she defaulted on the new agreement to pay (regardless of what they told her verbally, what she SIGNED governs) they do not have to serve her with anything else, sue her again, all they have to do is ask the court for an ORDER TO GARNISH.  They did.  That makes the garnishment order VALID.  

 

She can be clear and concise all she wants but it will not make the fact pattern any different nor will it stop the garnishment.  She needs to either file for the exemption or file for bankruptcy.  Otherwise they are going to start taking 25% of her paycheck until it is satisfied.  Regardless of what frivolous paperwork you draw up for her and file with the court.  Keep in mind you will be paying more filing fees and could end up with paying the creditor's attorney fees for having to defend against these baseless filings.

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@graym

 

 

"A judgment is void if, in the proceedings leading up to the judgment, there is `[a] violation of the due process guarantee of notice and an opportunity to be heard.'" Shiver v. Wharton, 9 So. 3d 687, 690 (Fla. 4th DCA 2009).

 

The judgment is probably not void.  She was served, appeared, and signed a stipulation.  It doesn't matter that she says that they scared her and that she didn't sign the agreement before reading it.  If that's all it takes to get out of an agreement, no agreement would ever stand.

 

In the appeal, she said that the documents were returned as undelivered, but then were sent to her new address.   Did she not receive the documents at her new address?

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This is where your confusion on what is going on shows.  The garnishment is NOT a judgment.  It is nothing more than an order by the court that requires BY LAW the employer withhold the required percentage from the employees wages based upon a prior court action or judgment of debt.  It is NOT a separate judgment and there is no requirement the court notify the garnishee prior to entering it.  In fact they do not notify in advance so that debtors cannot hide assets.

A Garnishment is a separate action where the Judgment Creditor brings suit against a Garnishee.  The Garnishee steps in the place of the Judgment Defendant, and is forced to defend it.  At the end of the proceedings, it does go to Judgment which is the conclusion of the proceedings.  The Judgment is entered against the Garnishee.   It *IS* a Judgment.  In fact, there is specifically a section of the Florida Statutes titled: JUDGMENT:

 

Florida Statute 77.083:

 

77.083 Judgment.Judgment against the garnishee on the garnishee’s answer or after trial of a reply to the garnishee’s answer shall be entered for the amount of his or her liability as disclosed by the answer or trial. Instead of scire facias, the court may subpoena the garnishee to inquire about his or her liability to or possession of property of the defendant. No judgment in excess of the amount remaining unpaid on the final judgment against the defendant or in excess of the amount of the liability of the garnishee to the defendant, whichever is less, shall be entered against the garnishee.

 

That's also why the document I attached in the first post (Exhibit ( B ) is titled: Final Judgment of Continuing Writ of Garnishment.  The key word there being JUDGMENT. 

 

The statutes also spell out how service is to be performed in the proceedings.  Even though the Judgment Debtor is not an active participant in the Garnishment action, they are still entitled to notice of the proceedings because they are impacted by the outcome, can move to dissolve the writ, request a hearing, and claim any possible exemptions prior to Judgment.  Failure to properly serve the Judgment Debtor in a Garnishment action does result in Void proceedings.  You can't deprive a person of their property without providing them an opportunity to be heard.  That's a very basic aspect of our Constitution.  There is a specific section on what they needed to do to serve her, and there is absolutely no leeway to do it incorrectly because the court's subject matter jurisdiction is derived from the statutes.  You screw it up, it's void.  It's that simple.  In her case, the Judgment is clearly void.  

The statute states:

 

(2) The plaintiff must mail, by first class, a copy of the writ of garnishment, a copy of the motion for writ of garnishment, and, if the defendant is an individual, the “Notice to Defendant” to the defendant’s last known address within 5 business days after the writ is issued or 3 business days after the writ is served on the garnishee, whichever is later. However, if such documents are returned as undeliverable by the post office, or if the last known address is not discoverable after diligent search, the plaintiff must mail, by first class, the documents to the defendant at the defendant’s place of employment. The plaintiff shall file in the proceeding a certificate of such service.
 
For proper service, when the documents were returned as undelivered, they were required to mail it to her at her place of employment.  Not, wait 4 months and mail them after the Final Judgment has been issued for obvious reasons.  Since they failed to follow statutes governing service, the Final Judgment of Garnishment is Void.
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The word "JUDGMENT" has different meaning in different context and in the statute you quoted it is not the same as a verdict/judgment.  I would keep trying to explain it to you but it is just too exhausting.  You don't want to hear it.  Keep tilting at the windmill but the reality is the ONLY thing that may be void is the initial garnishment order but even if it was she appealed ALL THE WAY to the Supreme Court in FL who ruled against her.  If she files on the same issue again the court is going to hammer her.  It has already been decided.  Your not liking or agreeing with it doesn't matter.

 

They are going to get this garnishment and unless she files for the FL exemption or BK it will go through.  NOTHING you say do or whine about is going to change it.

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"A judgment is void if, in the proceedings leading up to the judgment, there is `[a] violation of the due process guarantee of notice and an opportunity to be heard.'" Shiver v. Wharton, 9 So. 3d 687, 690 (Fla. 4th DCA 2009).

 

The judgment is probably not void.  She was served, appeared, and signed a stipulation.  It doesn't matter that she says that they scared her and that she didn't sign the agreement before reading it.  If that's all it takes to get out of an agreement, no agreement would ever stand.

 

In the appeal, she said that the documents were returned as undelivered, but then were sent to her new address.   Did she not receive the documents at her new address?

 

The Appeal was referencing the Garnishment action, not the original case.  In the Garnishment action she did not receive the documents until after the case was over.  In the original case she signed a stipulation agreement, and I agree with you that saying you were scared is completely worthless.  The main issue is the fact that she was not served, and never saw, the documents which both the Stipulation Agreement, and the Final Judgment, were based on.  Regardless of the Stipulation Agreement, she was entitled to see these documents.   The fact that these documents were never served is a violation of due process, and an opportunity to be heard, because she had no knowledge of these facts prior to entering into the Stipulation Agreement.  The fact that the document she never saw directly contradicts what is listed in the Stipulation Agreement, would have prevented her from entering into said Agreement in the first place. 

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The word "JUDGMENT" has different meaning in different context and in the statute you quoted it is not the same as a verdict/judgment.  I would keep trying to explain it to you but it is just too exhausting.  You don't want to hear it.  Keep tilting at the windmill but the reality is the ONLY thing that may be void is the initial garnishment order but even if it was she appealed ALL THE WAY to the Supreme Court in FL who ruled against her.  If she files on the same issue again the court is going to hammer her.  It has already been decided.  Your not liking or agreeing with it doesn't matter.

 

They are going to get this garnishment and unless she files for the FL exemption or BK it will go through.  NOTHING you say do or whine about is going to change it.

 

........... Just quoting this so you can't try to edit it later.  So you're now trying to state that despite the fact that it is called a Judgment, it's not actually a Judgment?  Can't make this stuff up.  It acts like a Judgment, looks like a Judgment, is called a Judgment, you can Appeal from a Final Judgment of Garnishment, but it's not a Judgment?

 

Here's an Appeal from a Final Judgment of Continuing Garnishment:

 

105 So.3d 614
District Court of Appeal of Florida,

Fourth District.

 

Sandra PINEIRO, Appellant,
v.
AMERICAN EXPRESS CARD SERVICES COMPANY, Barry S. Franklin & Associates, P.A., formerly known as Franklin & Criscuolo, Appellees.
 
We therefore reverse the October 7, 2010, final judgment in continuing garnishment and direct the circuit court (1) to enter an amended final judgment in continuing garnishment that removes from the $15,231.36 figure that amount attributable to attorney's fees and (2) to enter a separate final judgment for attorney's fees incurred by the appellee in “legal proceedings” seeking to enforce the original final judgment.
 
But I guess it's not a real Judgment.  It's just a make-believe Judgment that coincidentally acts just like a normal Judgment.
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The Appeal was referencing the Garnishment action, not the original case.  In the Garnishment action she did not receive the documents until after the case was over.  In the original case she signed a stipulation agreement, and I agree with you that saying you were scared is completely worthless.  The main issue is the fact that she was not served, and never saw, the documents which both the Stipulation Agreement, and the Final Judgment, were based on.  Regardless of the Stipulation Agreement, she was entitled to see these documents.   The fact that these documents were never served is a violation of due process, and an opportunity to be heard, because she had no knowledge of these facts prior to entering into the Stipulation Agreement.  The fact that the document she never saw directly contradicts what is listed in the Stipulation Agreement, would have prevented her from entering into said Agreement in the first place.

 

 

Yes, she was served.   The summons and complaint were left at her apartment with a person who resided there and was, I assume, older than 15 years of age. 

 

Why would other documents have to have been served to her?   Were they required to be attached to the complaint?   If not, they would have been documents that would have been sent in response to discovery requests or attached to an MSJ.  From what you've said, the action never got that far.

 

She chose to sign the stipulation without reading it.   She could have read it and asked to see the referenced documents but chose not to do so.   

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@bassplayr

 

I was basing my response about service on this:

 

In the original case she signed a stipulation agreement, and I agree with you that saying you were scared is completely worthless.  The main issue is the fact that she was not served, and never saw, the documents which both the Stipulation Agreement, and the Final Judgment, were based on.   The fact that these documents were never served is a violation of due process, and an opportunity to be heard, because she had no knowledge of these facts prior to entering into the Stipulation Agreement.  The fact that the document she never saw directly contradicts what is listed in the Stipulation Agreement, would have prevented her from entering into said Agreement in the first place.

 

.

 

I agree about the plaintiff getting a slap on the wrist for the garnishment proceedings.  The failure to serve her in those proceedings is a technicality that might dissolve the garnishment but that could probably be corrected with a new filing.  It just delays the inevitable.

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If a document is filed in a case, you have to serve the opposing party.  Period.  You can't introduce something into a case for the Judge, without the opposing party getting to see it.  There's a significant difference between discovery and something getting filed in the case.  This has nothing to do with discovery.  It's not a document they withheld from her in Discovery.  They filed this document with the Trial Court and it's on the Docket Sheet.  It's how they sought Attorney Fee's in the case, something she is entitled to receive a copy of.   The stipulation agreement is based on this document, but instead of listing the breakdown of each item and how it was calculated, they simply stated on the Stipulation agreement that she was indebted to them for X amount.   How can you possibly say a person is indebted to you for Attorney's fees, before you have even been awarded Attorney's fees?  You can't stipulate to facts that are clearly untrue and directly contradicted by the record. 

 

560 So.2d 336
District Court of Appeal of Florida,
First District.
HOWARD JOHNSONS & Liberty, Mutual Insurance Company, Appellants,
v.
Jose PINEDA, Appellee.
 
A stipulation should not be ignored or set aside in the absence of fraud, overreaching, misrepresentation, withholding of the facts by an adversary, or some element as would render the agreement void.
 
This case clearly indicates that it is possible to set aside a stipulation agreement if one party withholds facts from the opposing party.  That is exactly what happened.  The Affidavit breaks down the amount owed, and indicates how it is being calculated.  They filed that document with the Court, but never served a copy on her.  However, contrary to what it states in the Affidavit, the Stipulation Agreement does not mention any of the items listed in the Affidavit and intentionally misrepresents the debt.   Instead of listing pre-judgment interest, and Attorney's fees, the Stipulation Agreement only states that she is indebted for X amount.   Those are not the facts.  She was not indebted for the amount listed on the Stipulation Agreement, as the Stipulation Agreement included Attorney's fees, costs and pre-judgment interest that was wrongly calculated.  Would she have signed the Agreement if those facts were not withheld?  Who knows, but withholding facts is grounds to overturn it and there is case precedent in doing so. 
 
 
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I agree about the plaintiff getting a slap on the wrist for the garnishment proceedings.  The failure to serve her in those proceedings is a technicality that might dissolve the garnishment but that could probably be corrected with a new filing.  It just delays the inevitable.

 

It's not a small thing to have a garnishment dissolved after the money has been wrongly paid out.  Yes, it might be a "technicality" as you put it, but notice of the proceedings is a rather important technicality. 

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