Can a collection agency obtain a judgement against you if neither the court nor the agency contacts you about the case?

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Can a collection agency obtain a judgement against you if neither the court nor the agency contacts you about the case?

My fiancee received an earning withholding order for a case brought in 12/09 and completed in 03/10. She was never contacted by the court or the collection agency about the lawsuit. She is easy to find with several bank accounts and credit cards with her correct address. In late July, we started receiving automated phone calls that sounded like telemarketer calls but never asked for her by name. So, basically, we we never given the opportunity to learn how the debt was incurred, make arrangements to pay the debt if legitimate, or get legal representation for the court case.

Asked on September 10, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If the service was not properly filed, your fiancee can go to court, have it vacated (dismissed), and have the garnishment released. But the fact is the creditor can file again. If not, she should have no problems; it they do re-file and this time properly serve her, she can raise various defenses in court. 

Since I don't have more details of the case it's hard to say whether or not your fiancee can successfully defend against the creditor's claim. There are, however, certain defenses that can be asserted in court.  I'm providing a link to a site that will explain further; it deals with NYC but most of the information is applicable in any court:  http://www.nedap.org/hotline/defenses.html


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