Can a firm legally take your personal belongings or sue you?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can a firm legally take your personal belongings or sue you?

I worked for a small business that folded within the first year. At the time I thought I was helping to grow the business and sign as a guarantor for working capital. The owner old boss changed paperwork and an old co-worker and myself are receiving threatening calls from a legal firm. They said they will come take my furniture and belongings to sell at auction. What legality do they have? They say the are going to seek legal action but my old boss has supposedly been paying back a monthly fee to this company. It’s been over a year and I haven’t heard a word on the matter until yesterday. What should I do?

Asked on May 2, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

It sounds like this firm is trying to engage in collection actions which are generally illegal in the State of Texas.  IF they have a judgement against you, they could potentially ask the court to issue what is called a 'Writ of Attachment' to seize certain assets to secure payment of a valid judgment.  However, personal property items and your regular vehicles that you use for employment are generally protected.  Regardless, to go to this extreme relief, you would have had to have been served with a second lawsuit, been served with notice, and then you would have the chance to object.  If none of this has happened, then they are threatening something that they don't have the legal ability to do....which is a violation of federal and state collection laws.
This really sounds like an agressive scam.  You really need to hire an attorney for the limited purpose of sending a demand letter and requesting that all future communications go through the attorney.  I suspect that once they get a demand letter, they will cease communications.  
Another option is to file a complaint with the Texas Attorney General.  Go to their consumer web page.  This is free and has some very helpful information.  The main draw back is that they tend to be slow to respond to complaints....just because of the sheer volume of complaints.  The FTC can also do a similar investigation on the federal level.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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