If you were never served with notice of the lawsuit in time to defend it,
the judgment against you is void and may be set aside. But you should act Now! You may lose your rights if you delay.
Sometimes the first time you learn of a judgment is when your wages are garnished or your bank account is frozen. ("Surprise, you have no money !" ) It makes people crazy. And while you may be entitled to your money back, your rent or mortgage payment will likely come due before this happens. So, you need to make arrangements, FAST.
Wage Garnishment and Bank Levy are Tools for Collecting Judgments.
If a debt collector has garnished your wages or levied your bank account, there is a judgment against you. If you were never served with the summons and complaint, the judgment can be set aside for lack of valid service. This is done by filing a Motion to Vacate the Judgment on the grounds that you were never given proper notice of the lawsuit in time to defend yourself in court.
What constitutes valid service?
Under California law, a plaintiff must provide the defendant with notice of a lawsuit either by "personal service" or "substitute service" of the summons and complaint.
Personal Service. A copy of the summons and complaint is handed to the defendant.
Substitute Service. A copy of the summons and complaint is handed to (1) an adult occupant of the defendant's residence; or, (2) an adult who appears to be in control of the defendant's place of business or place of employment, such as a receptionist or the counter clerk at a private mailbox service.
When there has been substitute service, a copy of the summons and complaint must also be mailed to the defendant.
Non-Service a Common Practice. One of the greatest injustices in the law is taking a default judgment without serving the defendant. This is a shameful and greedy perversion of the constitutional principles of fairness and due process. It is also a common practice. The sheer volume of these cases, suggests that non-service is lesst an honest mistake than an intentional tactic to gain unfair advantage.
If you find that there is a judgment against you, you must take immediate action or you may damage your ability to set it aside. Delay works in the debt collector's favor. While a judgment based on non-service is void, the older a case gets, the more reluctant judges are to increase their workload by reopening an old case.. So you must act now.
Another option which can produce quicker results is to negotiate a settlement of the judgment.
If you'd like to discuss your options, please call me at: (877) 320-2380. There is no charge for the consultation.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!