annasten

I Won a Judgment Against Junk Debt Buyer in GA, but...

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I Won a judgment against a junk debt buyer in GA, but I am still concerned.

 

I just want to be sure I understand that the JDB cannot sue me again for this debt, correct?

 

Has anyone ever heard of a JDB filing an appeal with the GA Court of Appeals? The opposing attorney was very unpleasant, as expected, but he seemed especially angry when the judge ruled against him.  I won only on a technicality, so I'm not sure if the judgment could be overturned by the appellate court.

 

I know I probably shouldn't worry, but that attorney was really angry; I don't think he had ever lost before that judge before.

 

Anna

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@annasten

 

If the judge signed a judgment that says something like "judgment for the defendant", and did not include "without prejudice' that is usually considered an adjudication on the merits of the case (with prejudice), and the JDB cannot sue you again.   Good job standing up for yourself.  :yahoo:

 

JDBs have been known to appeal but there are no strict factors that would indicate why they appeal.  One of those factors might depend upon the amount of the debt.  If it's a low amount, the JDB could decide that an appeal would not be worth the effort. 

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While they could appeal the decision, chances are they won't.  They already lost money going to trial considering they paid pennies on the dollar for the account to start with.  I wouldn't lose sleep over it.  Good job.

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@annasten

 

If the judge signed a judgment that says something like "judgment for the defendant", and did not include "without prejudice' that is usually considered an adjudication on the merits of the case (with prejudice), and the JDB cannot sue you again.   Good job standing up for yourself.  :yahoo:

 

JDBs have been known to appeal but there are no strict factors that would indicate why they appeal.  One of those factors might depend upon the amount of the debt.  If it's a low amount, the JDB could decide that an appeal would not be worth the effort. 

The amount is $2,200, so hopefully that is low enough for them to leave me alone.

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Did the judge dismiss with or without prejudice? Or does it just say judgement for the defendant?

At any rate, good job, congrats!

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Did the judge dismiss with or without prejudice? Or does it just say judgement for the defendant?

At any rate, good job, congrats!

Judgment is entered in favor of the Defendant.

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Nope they can't come back and sue again, they could appeal, but I doubt they will. You should give us a blow by blow, so we can laugh. . Again, good job!

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Nope they can't come back and sue again, they could appeal, but I doubt they will. You should give us a blow by blow, so we can laugh. . Again, good job!

The scary thing is the judge didn't know or care about Georgia state law. He said the Bill of Sale was proof of assignment and standing for the JDB. When I pointed out several laws from the Georgia Court of Appeals that contradicted that, he said he wasn't familiar with those laws and that I had probably misunderstood them. I was speechless, but I had a feeling he was going to rule against the JDBs Affidavit, so I kept my mouth shut.

 

Luckily for me, the previous Defendant had attacked the Affidavit based on GA hearsay law, but the judge said as long as the Affidavit said "personal knowledge" he would allow it.

 

Well, when it was my turn, I pointed out to the judge that the JDBs Affidavit in my case did not have the words "personal knowledge". The judge and the lawyer for the JDB argued for several minutes, but the judge knew what he had just said in front of several witnesses just a few minutes before and ruled against him. And that is the only reason I won the case.  The judge ignored all the Georgia case law as well as laws from the Georgia Court of Appeals.

 

That's why I was worried. I got the impression that the JDB attorney is not used to losing in front of this particular judge. 

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^ Very sharp on your part. Congrats!

 

Though it's too bad, I suspect if the defendant before you had not gotten that out of the judge during their case, that your judge may have ruled against you. I guess he felt trapped by his own words. Great for you, but a sad state of affairs for these types of cases in his courtroom.

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Since this is the same a small claims court, an appeal is really a trial de novo in regular court (with all the tight rules of evidence). This means that you can do all sorts of discovery (and so can they) and you can bring up your points on the Bill of Sale with a judge who is probably more knowledgeable about the cases you mentioned. In other words, they are taking a big risk with the appeal that they might still lose, even if the lower judge is overruled on the technicality. That is why it is always important to have more than one avenue for attack.

This is why many small claims courts are now mailing out decisions rather than making them on the spot. This allows the judge to make contradictory decisions without the parties knowing it. If they have to do a decision in person, the reschedule it to a time when they are sure most people are not in the courtroom.

I am going to guess that once this attorney gets back to the office and has time to discuss this with his superiors, they will realize that they really do not want a trial de novo in front of a different judge once they read the transcript because they might still lose (and doing an appeal costs tons of money). They will accept the 1 loss knowing that they got judgements on the other 99 cases and move on. They will probably sell on the debt instead.

As for the debt coming back, a judgement for the defendant is the best thing you can have because they definitely cannot sue you and you can argue with the CRA that a judge had decided that you do not owe the debt with means you can get those tradelines removed.

I wish you luck and congrats.

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@annasten   A HUGE congratulations to you on the win.   :punknanner:

 

Can we get a few more details?   What county?  Who was the plaintiff and the plaintiff's lawfirm?

 

This definitely sounds like a Magistrate judge who has no idea what the laws are and got caught by his own words.    But the truth is that a State Court judge might be no better.  One of my cases was in State Court and the judge had no clue about the laws either.    It sounds like your judge's technicality was his own ignorance.

 

( @WhoCares1000  , just FYI,  there would actually be no transcript if this was Magistrate Court.  And there would be no transcript if it was State Court either, unless one of the parties had requested a court reporter to be present and paid for it. )

 

So your paperwork from the judge did not specify either "with" or "without" prejudice?     If it is the equivalent of "without prejudice" then you will likely get a summons from the State or Superior Court if the lawyer decides to appeal.  The case would just start over from the beginning, like the Magistrate court case never happened.  It will cost them more money to re-file the case in a higher court but not a significant amount.  State and Superior courts see JDB cases all the time.  It is not just limited to Magistrate.  

 

If they lost in State or Superior Court, I seriously doubt a JDB would appeal to the Court of Appeals.  That is extremely dangerous ground for a JDB.  They don't want to risk having the Appeals Court making any binding ruling against how all JDB's run their business.  All it would take is one great case to kill their business model.

 

I've never seen a JDB attorney get angry or mad.  But I have seen them arrogant, cocky, and pushy.   I've seen a couple that were very polite also, when they knew they were going to lose to me unless they dismissed before the trial started.

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If it was a ruling in your favor then you won outright, there is no with or without prejudice, because the judge ruled in your favor rather than a dismissal.

They can appeal or accept the loss.

Congratulations.

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The scary thing is the judge didn't know or care about Georgia state law. He said the Bill of Sale was proof of assignment and standing for the JDB. When I pointed out several laws from the Georgia Court of Appeals that contradicted that, he said he wasn't familiar with those laws and that I had probably misunderstood them. I was speechless, but I had a feeling he was going to rule against the JDBs Affidavit, so I kept my mouth shut.

 

Luckily for me, the previous Defendant had attacked the Affidavit based on GA hearsay law, but the judge said as long as the Affidavit said "personal knowledge" he would allow it.

 

Well, when it was my turn, I pointed out to the judge that the JDBs Affidavit in my case did not have the words "personal knowledge". The judge and the lawyer for the JDB argued for several minutes, but the judge knew what he had just said in front of several witnesses just a few minutes before and ruled against him. And that is the only reason I won the case.  The judge ignored all the Georgia case law as well as laws from the Georgia Court of Appeals.

 

That's why I was worried. I got the impression that the JDB attorney is not used to losing in front of this particular judge. 

 

 

I've said a million times, that GA Magistrate courts do not use the rule of law.  This judge probably never studied law previously.  Magistrate judges are free to ignore rules and law and make up their own ruling based on whatever they feel like.  This is actually stated in the Magistrate Court rule book.  It literally states that Magistrate Court does not operate by any court rules but their own.

 

Just like in many other states that other members have talked about many times, you can not go in expecting that your solid case laws and their lack of evidence will mean squat.  The only thing that matters in these types of cases is a counter claim or pushing arbitration.

 

@annasten you got very lucky and it was a good thing you were paying close attention to the cases before you.  Being very sharp and alert paid off for you, thankfully.  At least now this is behind you! Congrats!

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I've said a million times, that GA Magistrate courts do not use the rule of law.  This judge probably never studied law previously.  Magistrate judges are free to ignore rules and law and make up their own ruling based on whatever they feel like.  This is actually stated in the Magistrate Court rule book.  It literally states that Magistrate Court does not operate by any court rules but their own.

 

This is why I doubt they will appeal. If they do, the issue then gets into a normal court with normal rules that must follow previous rulings rather than the judge's whim. It is essentially a Trial De Novo. Would really suck for them to spend all of that money only to find that their issue never even comes up because you beat them on the head with the Bill of Sale issue before they get a chance to bring it up. Better for them to lick their wounds and concentrate on the 98 other cases that they got defaults on.

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This is why I doubt they will appeal. If they do, the issue then gets into a normal court with normal rules that must follow previous rulings rather than the judge's whim. It is essentially a Trial De Novo. Would really suck for them to spend all of that money only to find that their issue never even comes up because you beat them on the head with the Bill of Sale issue before they get a chance to bring it up. Better for them to lick their wounds and concentrate on the 98 other cases that they got defaults on.

 

I still think it is possible they would appeal to the higher court for two reasons.    1. - It does not cost very much to appeal.   2. -  They don't care about losing, they are just betting on the defendant to not answer the complaint or show up in court so the JDB can get a default judgement.  

 

These cases do not represent a person's life or even the law, to the soul-less zombie JDB attorneys they are just stacks of white paper that turn into default judgements 95% of the time that might turn into stacks of green paper later. 

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They are bottom feeders, so most likely they will move on to the next stack of potential defaults.

You can always check the court docket and see how often they appeal, or see if there's much case law.

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I think you are taking this way too personal here. For you, this is only one case. For them, you are one of probably 100s if not 1000s of cases. The decisions they make will be business in nature. They only look at profit and loss and they will see continued losses with your case and decide to cut their losses. The attorney can be as pissed off as he wants for losing, at the end of the day, the client will probably say no to an appeal.

Out of 100 cases, the JDB gets a default judgement for 98 of those cases. By the time you put in court fees, attorney fees, and cost of the debt (all of which the recover on the 98 defaults), they make about 8 times their investment whether they win or lose the other 2 cases. Even if they collect on only 1/2 of the defaults, they still get 4 times their investment (although they probably collect on most defaults someday and still get court ordered interest in the mean time). Not only that, but they can limit the loss on the 2 cases by selling them on.

Now, I would watch the court website for the next 30 days (or however long they have to appeal) to see if they will appeal but I am sure the consensus on this board is that at the end of the day, the JDB will make the business decision to not appeal because the risk of additional losses out weights the possible reward. It is a business decision to them, nothing personal and once you realize that, you will see why we say an appeal is unlikely.

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@annasten

 

The scary thing is the judge didn't know or care about Georgia state law. He said the Bill of Sale was proof of assignment and standing for the JDB. When I pointed out several laws from the Georgia Court of Appeals that contradicted that, he said he wasn't familiar with those laws and that I had probably misunderstood them.

 

 

 

Which cases did you cite to the judge?

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If you had 20,000 lottery tickets that could possibly bring you money, but misplaced one of them, you wouldn't spend much time hunting it down. You would instead move on and start scratching on the other tickets. It's kind of the same situation for them.

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