What to do if I learned of a civil court judgement against me by spotting it in a credit report years later but I had never been served a summons?

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What to do if I learned of a civil court judgement against me by spotting it in a credit report years later but I had never been served a summons?

Do I have any recourse?

Asked on January 16, 2013 under Bankruptcy Law, Oregon

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The opposing party must have falsely claimed that you were served and that you did not file an answer to the complaint (the complaint is the lawsuit attached to the summons).  The opposing party then obtained a default judgment.

You can file with the court a motion to set aside the default and serve a copy by mail on the opposing party.  Your argument in your motion is that you were never served and therefore did not have an opportunity to timely file an answer to the complaint and did not have notice of the lawsuit.  If the court grants your motion, the case will then be back on track and litigation will continue.

At the law library, look under motions and under default in the index of Pleading and Practice.  This will give you the general format for your motion.  A motion also requires a memorandum of points and authorities which is supporting case law, statutes, etc.  Look for a book called Points and Authorities.  Look in the table of contents for memorandum of points and authorities in support of a motion to set aside a default.  Use that as your memorandum of points and authorities.  File your motion with memorandum of points and authorities and a proof of service with the court and serve a copy by mail on the opposing party.  You can either use a court form proof of service or you can write your own.  The proof of service verifies the date of mailing to the opposing party.  If you write your own proof of service, it just says that you are at least eighteen years of age and the attached documents were sent via first class mail unless stated otherwise to _________ (name and address of opposing party) on __________ (date).  You sign and date at the bottom.  The date you sign should be the same as the date of mailing and the same date you file your documents with the court.

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I suggest that you print out what you observed regarding the civil court judgment against you and then go down to the court house where the default judgment against you is entered. Copy the proof of service and the default and default judgment against you.

Once done, consult with a consumer law attorney about the possibility of filing a motion to set aside the default and default judgment because your were never served with the summons and complaint.


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