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Old 05-10-2018, 08:38 PM
 
4 posts, read 3,648 times
Reputation: 14

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Hello,
This is my first time posting and I am hoping someone can give me some guidance. I live in New York and about three weeks ago I received a letter from my mortgage company stating that they received a subpoena from a law firm requesting information pertaining to my loan. Bank stated that they are required to notify me of the request. I called the law firm which also turned out to be a debt collection agency. I was told that they are trying to collect on a judgement that was filed against me in 1998. I told them that I was not aware of any judgment and was told that I owe them $30,000.00. I hung up the phone and started doing some research.

I found out through the Florida Court website that a judgment was entered against me in 1998. In 1994 I moved back to New York after living in Miami for 9 years. I had purchased a vehicle in Miami around 1992. When I moved to New York I faced some financial difficulties and could not afford to keep the car. After falling behind on payments, i wrote to the bank in 1995 explaining my financial situation and made arrangements for them to pick up the car.

For the last 23 years nothing has ever shown up on my credit reports. No one contacted me or sent me any notices. I was able to download a copy of the judgment and saw that the bank filed a complaint in 1996 for $6581.82 in Florida Civil Court, and a summons was issued that same year. I never was served any legal documents or received any paperwork pertaining to this lawsuit. It looks like the bank sold the debt in 1998 to the debt collector/law firm listed on the subpoena after a judgment was granted that same year. I purchased my home last year in 2017 and I guess that is how they were able to locate the mortgage company. They had my previous address and yet no one ever contacted me.

I called the Florida County Clerk and was advise to try and negotiate with the debt collector or seek legal counsel. I contacted a lawyer in Florida, paid the fee, and was totally disappointed. I told the lawyer that I wanted to quash the subpoena, and to request copies of the summons and documents from the court. Paperwork was never filed to quash the subpoena and the bank sent out my information.

I don't know what to do. Can someone please advise me? Should I get a lawyer in NY or do I have to go to Florida? Will they go after my home, bank account, garnish my pay? This is a total nightmare! Ia there anything that I can do? Any response will greatly be appreciated.
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Old 05-10-2018, 09:16 PM
 
Location: TX and NM on the border of the Great Southwest.
11,769 posts, read 15,788,877 times
Reputation: 22423
Quote:
Originally Posted by raso87 View Post
Hello,
This is my first time posting and I am hoping someone can give me some guidance. I live in New York and about three weeks ago I received a letter from my mortgage company stating that they received a subpoena from a law firm requesting information pertaining to my loan. Bank stated that they are required to notify me of the request. I called the law firm which also turned out to be a debt collection agency. I was told that they are trying to collect on a judgement that was filed against me in 1998. I told them that I was not aware of any judgment and was told that I owe them $30,000.00. I hung up the phone and started doing some research.

I found out through the Florida Court website that a judgment was entered against me in 1998. In 1994 I moved back to New York after living in Miami for 9 years. I had purchased a vehicle in Miami around 1992. When I moved to New York I faced some financial difficulties and could not afford to keep the car. After falling behind on payments, i wrote to the bank in 1995 explaining my financial situation and made arrangements for them to pick up the car.

For the last 23 years nothing has ever shown up on my credit reports. No one contacted me or sent me any notices. I was able to download a copy of the judgment and saw that the bank filed a complaint in 1996 for $6581.82 in Florida Civil Court, and a summons was issued that same year. I never was served any legal documents or received any paperwork pertaining to this lawsuit. It looks like the bank sold the debt in 1998 to the debt collector/law firm listed on the subpoena after a judgment was granted that same year. I purchased my home last year in 2017 and I guess that is how they were able to locate the mortgage company. They had my previous address and yet no one ever contacted me.

I called the Florida County Clerk and was advise to try and negotiate with the debt collector or seek legal counsel. I contacted a lawyer in Florida, paid the fee, and was totally disappointed. I told the lawyer that I wanted to quash the subpoena, and to request copies of the summons and documents from the court. Paperwork was never filed to quash the subpoena and the bank sent out my information.

I don't know what to do. Can someone please advise me? Should I get a lawyer in NY or do I have to go to Florida? Will they go after my home, bank account, garnish my pay? This is a total nightmare! Ia there anything that I can do? Any response will greatly be appreciated.
I don't know how the Florida courts work, but it seems to me that someone had to sign the original complaint summons? If you didn't sign it, in any place I have lived, the case should not have gone forward until you did sign one. Sounds as if you may have had a dishonest server that had someone else sign the summons for you (been there). When you didn't show up on the court date normally set in the summons, the judge had no choice but to enter a default judgment against you.

I would immediately seek legal help where ever you are now living. If the Florida lawyer won't help, find a debt lawyer who will. Once a judgment is rendered, to my knowledge, there are no statutes of limitation.

If they are requesting mortgage information, they are probably trying to get a lien assessed on your mortgaged property. That could be legal in NY. In some states it isn't.

Good luck.
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Old 05-10-2018, 09:37 PM
 
Location: Myrtle Creek, Oregon
11,040 posts, read 11,450,778 times
Reputation: 17199
Quote:
Originally Posted by High_Plains_Retired View Post
I don't know how the Florida courts work, but it seems to me that someone had to sign the original complaint summons? If you didn't sign it, in any place I have lived, the case should not have gone forward until you did sign one. Sounds as if you may have had a dishonest server that had someone else sign the summons for you (been there). When you didn't show up on the court date normally set in the summons, the judge had no choice but to enter a default judgment against you.

I would immediately seek legal help where ever you are now living. If the Florida lawyer won't help, find a debt lawyer who will. Once a judgment is rendered, to my knowledge, there are no statutes of limitation.

If they are requesting mortgage information, they are probably trying to get a lien assessed on your mortgaged property. That could be legal in NY. In some states it isn't.

Good luck.
A signature is not required, but the server is required to sign a sworn affidavit that the summons was served on the named individual. In some cases, service by certified mail is adequate.

I think the OP is expecting too much from the Florida attorney. He probably just wrote letters requesting documentation. Going back to court to challenge the judgment is a loser. It would cost more than the debt, and he would just lose again.

The advice to negotiate a settlement with the collection agency is good. Just make sure to get any settlement in writing before sending any money. The collection agency bought the debt from the bank for pennies on the dollar, so they have lots of room to negotiate. He actually owes the money, so the judgement is not going away. A consultation with an attorney familiar with NY law is a good idea.
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Old 05-10-2018, 09:42 PM
 
23,903 posts, read 31,123,865 times
Reputation: 28539
https://www.avvo.com/legal-answers/c...--1778710.html


https://www.fullmanfirm.com/services...ault-judgment/
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Old 05-10-2018, 09:53 PM
 
4 posts, read 3,648 times
Reputation: 14
Thank you for the quick response. I will definitely seek another lawyer and also request a copy of the summons.
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Old 05-11-2018, 07:38 AM
 
Location: Denver CO
18,975 posts, read 10,032,914 times
Reputation: 27746
You can try to vacate the judgement but there's a chance you were served via publication - a notice in the local newspaper. I don't know Florida law but many states have provisions for this.

Personally, I'd try to negotiate the debt, get a full release and be done with it. If you pay attorney fees, you could end up losing and still ending up having to pay anyway, on top of the attorney fees. Many times, they will settle these old dog cases for a pretty small percentage.
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Old 05-11-2018, 11:01 AM
 
Location: Brawndo-Thirst-Mutilator-Nation
15,148 posts, read 15,198,298 times
Reputation: 10872
Might be best off negotiating a deal......I but you could hammer-out a deal that gets you off-the-hook for a couple of grand.
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Old 05-11-2018, 11:33 AM
 
Location: Ft. Myers
15,568 posts, read 9,642,463 times
Reputation: 34355
How did $6500 grow to $30K ? Interest ? Penalties ?

Seems excessive.
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Old 05-11-2018, 12:04 PM
 
Location: 5,400 feet
2,198 posts, read 2,269,902 times
Reputation: 2840
The statute of limitations is also a defense against zombie debt collectors.
https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclope...art-29941.html

Here are other discussions:
https://clark.com/personal-finance-c...ing-back-debt/
https://clark.com/personal-finance-c...ebt-collector/
https://clark.com/consumer-issues-id...bt-collectors/
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Old 05-11-2018, 12:39 PM
 
Location: Denver CO
18,975 posts, read 10,032,914 times
Reputation: 27746
Quote:
Originally Posted by jiminnm View Post
The statute of limitations applies to how long someone has before they can file suit. In the OP's case, the suit was filed back before the statute ran, and this applies to a judgement.

This would be a more helpful link

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclope...gainst-me.html
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