We have been vacating consumer default default judgments since 2007. While not all default judgments can be vacated, many can be negotiated down. We need to know the circumstances.
A default judgment is void if you were not served with the summons and complaint - that is, if you were not given notice of the lawsuit in time to defend against it, the judgment against you is void. Void default judgments can be vacated - but you must prove that you weren't served. In some instances, the case can be dismissed entirely.
Failure to serve is common. Dishonest process servers can serve more people - i.e., make more money - by claiming to have served you instead of actually going out to your house and trying to find you. It's so common, in fact, there's a name for it: "sewer service".
When you fail to respond to the lawsuit - which you knew nothing about - Plaintiff gets a default judgment against you. Plaintiff then can collect the default judgment by garnishing your wages or levying your bank account.
Suddenly getting a reduced paycheck or a frozen bank account can be a terrible shock! .... but, if you act quickly, there are things you can do.
The first step is to reduce or eliminate the amount taken by filing a Claim of Exemption. If you prevail, your money will be refunded.
We can help you with this. If you have questions, call us. There is no charge for the consultation.
The next step is to find out how they claim you were served with the summons and complaint. This information appears on a document entitled Proof of Service of Summons (POSS) which Plaintiff files with court. For recent judgments, the POSS may be available on-line. Older case files may have to be retrieved from storage.
Once you know how they claim you were served, you can set about proving them wrong. For example, if they served you at a wrong address and you can prove you lived elsewhere on the date of service, you can file a Motion to Vacate the Judgment. If your proof is convincing, you should win. If it's very convincing, Plaintiff - instead of fighting you - may make a settlement offer which is too good to refuse.
Finally, here's the best news: the law requires that a defendant be served within three years of the Complaint being filed. If three years have passed since your case was filed and you have never been served, the court, after vacating the judgment, MUST also dismiss your case! And so, you owe nothing.
If you have any questions about how the law applies to you, call us at
There's no charge and no obligation. Just call.
By the way, even if the default judgment is valid - i.e., you were served with the summons and complaint but did not respond - we may be able to get you a discounted payoff.
Call us or send us a message in the form to the right.
We'd be pleased to provide some guidance.
William Rose, II
Rose Consumer Law
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