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Transfer of Foreign Judgment - Do I bother to try to vacate?


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Hello All,

 

Here is the background on my issue:

 

On Sept 16, 2008, my husband was served a summons for me for a Citibank debt.  At the time, I was interviewing and then subsequently took a job in Durango, CO.  I started living and working in Durango in mid-November of 2008.  As the suit progressed, I filed a Motion to Dismiss in July of 2009, due to the jurisdiction issue, i.e. I could not defend myself as I was no longer living in MN.  This was denied and I received a default judgment.

 

Five years later, I receive a Notice of Filing Foreign Judgment to transfer the Judgment from Minnesota to Oregon, where I live now.  Note that the paperwork has not been filed by Suttle & Hammer, the attorneys for CITIBANK.  They have indicated in the documents that they will file in the court on or before November 20, 2014.

 

Given that I was served via my husband and I did not respond (I don't even recall all of the goings-on at this time, not the least stressful time of my life) to the initial summons per the Minnesota court, should I even bother with trying to vacate the judgment in Oregon?  Or should I just try to negotiate a settlement?  The original Judgment was for $5,322.83, the Plaintiff now wants $6,439.31.

 

(I still find it so strange that the Plaintiff is CITIBANK, even though they discharged the debt so long ago I am sure.)

 

Any input is welcome.

 

Thank you!

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Unfortunately, you cannot apply OR SOL for Foreign Judgments: it's 15 years.

 

O.R.S. 24.385¹

 

Statute of limitations

 

An action to recognize a foreign-country judgment must be commenced within the earlier of the time during which the foreign-country judgment is effective in the foreign country or 15 years from the date that the foreign-country judgment became effective in the foreign country. [2009 c.48 §8]

 

http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/24.385

 

In AZ such SOL is only 4 years ( ARS 12-544(3) )

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On Sept 16, 2008, my husband was served a summons for me for a Citibank debt.  At the time, I was interviewing and then subsequently took a job in Durango, CO.  I started living and working in Durango in mid-November of 2008.  As the suit progressed, I filed a Motion to Dismiss in July of 2009, due to the jurisdiction issue, i.e. I could not defend myself as I was no longer living in MN.  This was denied and I received a default judgment.

 

Service via a spouse at the residence is legal.  They are not required to serve you personally.  The service of the summons on your husband was a legal process of service.  Second issue is the venue:  they filed suit in September long before you moved out of state therefore MN is the appropriate jurisdiction because you had not established legal residency in CO at the time the suit was filed so the denial of dismissal was appropriate.

 

Given that I was served via my husband and I did not respond (I don't even recall all of the goings-on at this time, not the least stressful time of my life) to the initial summons per the Minnesota court, should I even bother with trying to vacate the judgment in Oregon?  Or should I just try to negotiate a settlement? 

 

So far based on what you posted there does not appear to be a legal basis to vacate the judgment.  You were properly served in the correct jurisdiction but did not defend the suit resulting in the default judgment.  Settlement is your best option because if they have domesticated that judgment in your current state then they are getting read to garnish wages and/or levy bank accounts.

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I would file a motion to vacate the judgment as it is void due to failure to obtain jurisdiction over you, however the sticking point is going to be in how you worded the previous Motion to vacate if you accepted jurisdiction then the local court now will be powerless. You can motion and then see where that goes. Looking like options are very limited.

 

I would mention that federal law says that local court is where the action has to be filed. a void judgment can be vacated at anytime however. Especially if there is an arbitration agreement, the judgment is void.

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I would file a motion to vacate the judgment as it is void due to failure to obtain jurisdiction over you

 

No the judgment is NOT void.  The suit was properly filed and served long before the OP moved to another state.  Therefore the original state where filed retains jurisdiction.  Moving once the suit is filed does not render jurisdiction null and void.  

 

On Sept 16, 2008, my husband was served a summons for me for a Citibank debt.  

 

I started living and working in Durango in mid-November of 2008.  

 

I filed a Motion to Dismiss in July of 2009, due to the jurisdiction issue,

 

This was denied and I received a default judgment.

 

The bolded statements from the original post explain it all.  First the service on the suit to the spouse at the residence is proper so that is not defective to render the default judgment void.  Second is the date it was filed:  September 2008.  Third:  the OP did not leave the state until two months later after the suit was answered and filed with the court admitting to jurisdiction.  Fourth:  A MTD was filed and ruled which means the jurisdiction matter has already been decided by the court back in 2009.  It is WAY too late to re-open that issue now five years later.

 

When the OP did not show up for trial after being properly served in the correct jurisdiction and did not defend herself then a default judgment was the proper ruling by the court.  

 

The final issue is the OP waited FAR too long to deal with this.  Even with defective service or other problems courts consistently rule that after one year the judgment is valid and final because the Defendant waited far too long to address it.  The OP has known about this judgment since it was issued.  Now that the law firm is making moves to collect it is understandable that they would want it vacated but there is NO legal basis in the law to do so. 

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I would file a motion to vacate the judgment as it is void due to failure to obtain jurisdiction over you, however the sticking point is going to be in how you worded the previous Motion to vacate if you accepted jurisdiction then the local court now will be powerless. You can motion and then see where that goes. Looking like options are very limited.

 

I would mention that federal law says that local court is where the action has to be filed. a void judgment can be vacated at anytime however. Especially if there is an arbitration agreement, the judgment is void.

Was it even legal to sue in the jurisdiction? Because of several reasons any debt collector judgment could be void, It would be smart to check carefully to see one if service was legal. In many instances, the service is not legal due to improper venue, improper person served, lack of jurisdiction due to arbitration agreement, or that residence in another state was established. Any reasons to attack the judgement should be tried because valid defenses may force the court vacate the default judgement and try the case on the merits. One reason is lack of knowledge of the proceedings, another is mistake or inadvertence in failing to answer.

 

The OP can show that she had established residence other than the marital home due to any number of reasons. The OP could have not been shown the paperwork by a spouse.

 

Trial courts are supposed to allow defense of a case if there are valid defenses and if the interests of justice would be served.

 

So checking with an attorney would be a good step. If a judgment is void then it can be attacked AT ANY TIME.

 

Now, as to everyones opinions all are valuable, let us stay civil and discuss these issues.

 

and Clydesmom Bless your heart.

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An agreement to arbitrate in and of itself doesn't render a default judgment void.   It has to be raised in one's answer or by a timely motion to compel.

But the very fact that it was obtained outside of the contractual arbitration forum renders it void between the two parties. You see it would be a breach of contract that is why I worried about the previous motion to vacate, whether the OP inadvertently submitted to the courts jurisdiction.

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Service via a spouse at the residence is legal.  They are not required to serve you personally.  The service of the summons on your husband was a legal process of service.  Second issue is the venue:  they filed suit in September long before you moved out of state therefore MN is the appropriate jurisdiction because you had not established legal residency in CO at the time the suit was filed so the denial of dismissal was appropriate.

 

 

So far based on what you posted there does not appear to be a legal basis to vacate the judgment.  You were properly served in the correct jurisdiction but did not defend the suit resulting in the default judgment.  Settlement is your best option because if they have domesticated that judgment in your current state then they are getting read to garnish wages and/or levy bank accounts.

If the OP no longer resided with their spouse, service would not be legal. It would be Improper service at an old address. Just because someone says My spouse was served does not mean that the spouses are together, they could be living in separate domiciles. So before we say Nope, lets take some more time to get a little more information. In these cases, I have seen, that later in the discussion that valid defenses were available to try.

 

Let us not rush to judgment but help a new friend to thoroughly explore her options.

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@Seadragon

 

If she was living at the address where the complaint was served, then according to MA rules, she was properly served.

 

Rule 4:  Process

(d) Summons: Personal Service Within the Commonwealth. The summons and a copy of the complaint shall be served together. The plaintiff shall furnish the person making service with such copies as are necessary. Service shall be made as follows:

(1) Upon an individual by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to him personally; or by leaving copies thereof at his last and usual place of abode;

 

Improper venue is an affirmative defense that must be raised in an answer to a complaint.  Since she was properly served but did not answer the complaint, that defense was waived.

 

Claiming that one's spouse didn't show them the summons and complaint won't get her anywhere.  The fact that she filed a motion to dismiss shows that she knew about the lawsuit.

 

But the very fact that it was obtained outside of the contractual arbitration forum renders it void between the two parties. You see it would be a breach of contract that is why I worried about the previous motion to vacate, whether the OP inadvertently submitted to the courts jurisdiction.

 

 

It would only be a breach of contract if arbitration were required without having to elect it.  If it's not required and neither party elects or motions to compel arbitration, then the contract hasn't been breached just by filing a lawsuit in a court.

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But the very fact that it was obtained outside of the contractual arbitration forum renders it void between the two parties. You see it would be a breach of contract that is why I worried about the previous motion to vacate, whether the OP inadvertently submitted to the courts jurisdiction.

 

No it is not a breach of contract.  As @BV80 said arbitration is an OPTION but it is one that one or both parties must elect or compel it is not automatic.

 

Of course you do realize in agreeing to arbitrate the consumer would be admitting they had a credit card account and waiving their claim of lack of standing against a junk debt buyer right?  Which is exactly why most consumers lose in arbitration and then howl it was unfair.

 

If the OP no longer resided with their spouse, service would not be legal. It would be Improper service at an old address. Just because someone says My spouse was served does not mean that the spouses are together, they could be living in separate domiciles. So before we say Nope, lets take some more time to get a little more information. In these cases, I have seen, that later in the discussion that valid defenses were available to try.

 

Let us not rush to judgment but help a new friend to thoroughly explore her options.

 

No one rushed to judgment.  The OP openly stated they still lived at the home, they knew about the lawsuit, and they opted not to defend it.  You can try to introduce all the imaginary scenarios you want but the reality of the situation is NONE of them happened and therefore your challenges to this six year old judgment are not available because they are based on your fantasy and not the FACTS of the case.  In fact I even quoted to you from post #1 where the OP laid it all out.  Did you not read the part where the OP said they were served, knew about the suit, and LOST a motion on jurisdiction?  What part of that do you not understand?

 

Trial courts are supposed to allow defense of a case if there are valid defenses and if the interests of justice would be served.

 

This court DID allow the OP an opportunity to defend.  She chose NOT to.  If she was not willing to return to MN for the trial then she had the option of hiring a lawyer.  Leaving the jurisdiction voluntarily after you have been sued does not end the court's power to hear the case.  

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Hello All!

 

Actually, I lived 4 hours away due to my job.  I did not know that would have any bearing.

 

Thank you all for replying.  I have until Nov 20 (or before) per the lawyers who are wanting to transfer the judgment, to come up with something, whether it be some sort of settlement letter or motion to vacate.

 

Yes, I wish I had known about this site years ago.  I have successfully defended myself before in court a couple of years later with information from this site, but at the time of this issue I was dealing with a service that didn't help me much with proper information.  

 

Ah, to be able to move on from bad decisions...

 

Thank you all, again!

 

Best,

MA

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No it is not a breach of contract.  As @BV80 said arbitration is an OPTION but it is one that one or both parties must elect or compel it is not automatic.

 

Of course you do realize in agreeing to arbitrate the consumer would be admitting they had a credit card account and waiving their claim of lack of standing against a junk debt buyer right?  Which is exactly why most consumers lose in arbitration and then howl it was unfair.

 

 

No one rushed to judgment.  The OP openly stated they still lived at the home, they knew about the lawsuit, and they opted not to defend it.  You can try to introduce all the imaginary scenarios you want but the reality of the situation is NONE of them happened and therefore your challenges to this six year old judgment are not available because they are based on your fantasy and not the FACTS of the case.  In fact I even quoted to you from post #1 where the OP laid it all out.  Did you not read the part where the OP said they were served, knew about the suit, and LOST a motion on jurisdiction?  What part of that do you not understand?

 

 

This court DID allow the OP an opportunity to defend.  She chose NOT to.  If she was not willing to return to MN for the trial then she had the option of hiring a lawyer.  Leaving the jurisdiction voluntarily after you have been sued does not end the court's power to hear the case.  

Glad your on OUR side.

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