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A Settlement Offer on a Judgement?!?


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About two years ago, I had two judgments ordered against me in a single collections case involving two separate accounts. Since that time, I have not paid the judgment amounts, nor has the CA attempted to collect on the judgement.

Recently, I receive two separate letters from the law firm representing the CA in the lawsuit. Each letter indicates a balance due that is identical to the judgement amounts... but offer a deeply discounted settlement amount for each account.

At first glance, this sounds like a great opportunity to finally settle the judgement amount, which was also deeply discounted by the judge from the original claim amount. But it almost feels too good to be true... almost like it could be a trap. I just need some guidance on this.

My first thought is to contact the law firm directly and ask them that if I pay the agreed settlement amount that the "balance due" will be considered paid in full. I would approach this by NOT bringing up that I believe the original balance due was a judgement amount.

I also have a notion of filing copies of these settlement offers with original court, to be added to the case paperwork and summary. That way it's on record that the law firm made this offer and can't back out of it.

I also worry that this is is not based on the actual judgement, even though the totals are identical to the judgement amount, and is otherwise a side attempt to cheat some money out of me, allowing them to still call on the full judgement amount.

If I do decide to pay these settlement amounts, is there a recommended way of doing so? They offer payment online options, but that's sort of a "trusting" method. I'm also hesitant to send a check with my banking info on it. Either way, I "trust" I will receive an acknowledgement from them that it is settled, and I'm not comfortable with that.

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Are the settlement papers signed by the attorney and do they state that the judgement would be considered paid in full if you paid the settlement amount? If so, then those letters would be fine to prove accord and satisfaction in the event that they tried to come after you for the rest.

As for the court, if the plaintiff attorneys do not do it, you have to file a Satisfaction of Judgement with the court and include the papers. They usually cost $5 - $10.

They have probably realized that there is no way they will collect the actual judgement and so are trying to get something.

As for payment, get a bank check or money order and staple the receipt to the agreement to satisfy the judgement. That will show that you paid it.

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10 hours ago, RelayerPA said:

About two years ago, I had two judgments ordered against me in a single collections case involving two separate accounts. Since that time, I have not paid the judgment amounts, nor has the CA attempted to collect on the judgement.

Recently, I receive two separate letters from the law firm representing the CA in the lawsuit. Each letter indicates a balance due that is identical to the judgement amounts... but offer a deeply discounted settlement amount for each account.

At first glance, this sounds like a great opportunity to finally settle the judgement amount, which was also deeply discounted by the judge from the original claim amount. But it almost feels too good to be true... almost like it could be a trap. I just need some guidance on this.

 

A judgment was issued against you by a court.  You are being contacted by an attorney representing the plaintiff who won the judgment.  Is it the same attorney who represented plaintiff in court?  How could this be a trap?

In PA, judgments last for 20 years as long as they are renewed every 5 years.  From what you said, it’s another 3 years before the judgment must be renewed. 
 

10 hours ago, RelayerPA said:

My first thought is to contact the law firm directly and ask them that if I pay the agreed settlement amount that the "balance due" will be considered paid in full. I would approach this by NOT bringing up that I believe the original balance due was a judgement amount.

What does the letter state about paying the settlement amount?

It doesn’t matter if you bring up that the original balance is a judgment amount.  A judgment was issued against you, and the law firm knows its a judgment.  Nothing you say or don’t say can change either of those facts.  Admitting or not admitting the balance is a judgment award can’t affect anything because a judgment is recorded with the court.

10 hours ago, RelayerPA said:

I also have a notion of filing copies of these settlement offers with original court, to be added to the case paperwork and summary. That way it's on record that the law firm made this offer and can't back out of it.

You don’t need to file those letters right now.  Just hold on to them.  If you choose to settle, be sure to pay within the time stipulated in the letter.  Make sure you have proof of the amount you paid, the date you made the payment and to whom it was sent.

As stated by @WhoCares1000, the attorney would be required to file a Satisfaction of Judgment with the court.  Your court rules or state laws should inform you as to when that satisfaction should be filed.  If they don’t file it within the required time, demand they do so.  
 

10 hours ago, RelayerPA said:

I also worry that this is is not based on the actual judgement, even though the totals are identical to the judgement amount, and is otherwise a side attempt to cheat some money out of me, allowing them to still call on the full judgement amount.

 Again, is it the same law firm who represent the plaintiff in court?

10 hours ago, RelayerPA said:

If I do decide to pay these settlement amounts, is there a recommended way of doing so? They offer payment online options, but that's sort of a "trusting" method. I'm also hesitant to send a check with my banking info on it. Either way, I "trust" I will receive an acknowledgement from them that it is settled, and I'm not comfortable with that.

If you’re paying the law firm who represented the plaintiff, how else would you pay?  Is the law firm known for stealing money?  Lawyers can lose their license for cheating people.  If this is an established law firm/attorney, it/he is not going to risk losing his license.  If you can pay by check, send a cashier’s check instead of a personal check if you’re so uncomfortable with sending a personal check.

The settlement offer confirms the settlement amount (as long as you do what it requires you to do).  Why are you not comfortable receiving an acknowledgment from them?

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I was able to verify that the settlement letters (both of them) are from the same law firm that represented the CA that got the judgement against me. There were two letters that state "Balance due as of...", each with the current account balance representing the exact amount of each judgement settled in the single court case. So that tells me that the law firm must be referencing the judgement amounts. Those specific amounts were what the judge determined and noted in the judgement.

As a side note, the two entries in my credit report from the CA were lowered from the original requested amount to the settled judgement amount shortly after the court case was over.

The letters, however, do not explicitly state that the amounts are a "judgement" amount. It only states that the amounts are a "balance due." The offer is written as, "...we are happy to offer you a 55% settlement on your account." The offer states that a single payment of (55% off the current account balance) will be accepted.

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