Can a case be judged or decided even though the respondent was not there and knew nothing about hearing?

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Can a case be judged or decided even though the respondent was not there and knew nothing about hearing?

My husband had this case that he went to a clinic. It filed a small claim against him 12 years ago and the hearing was set last month/ However, he doesn’t know about it because we moved to another city. Now we just only learned it when his paycheck was garnished for about $100 and this will be every paycheck for the next 39 paychecks. Since they sent that decision to my husband’s company, how come the company did not send a subpoena to his work so that he would know about the hearing?

Asked on July 13, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Ohio

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

What you are saying here is that your husband was not given proper notice of the hearing and that a judgement was taken "in default" and then his wages garnished.  Now, a party can be greanted a default judgement if they show that they properly served the other party.  If the address they served was an imporper address - and you can show that they could have reasonably knew that - then you can make a motion to "vacate" the default.  Generally you have to have what is called a "meritorious defense" in the matter.  Please get some help here.  I think that there may also be a statute of limitations issue with the debt.  Good luck.


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