My question involves judgment recovery in the State of: Iowa
I was served by a collection attorney in '05 for an old CC debt. I did a lot of research and answered pro se asking for discovery, interrogatories etc. I thought they had to respond to me but didn't hear anything back from them and with no experience, was outmaneuvered as the next thing I find, my wages had been garnished. This doesn't seem right but it must be legal for them not to answer me and have no notice of the next court date.
Long story short, in '06 my husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer. My job involved travel and when I needed to stay home to take care of him, I was fired in Jan of '07. He passed away two weeks later.
No job so garnishment stopped but the attorney went back to court this past year and I have to go to court for a debtors exam in March unless I can work it out with the CA ahead of time.
I still have no job but do have a home and 2 cars paid in full. No stocks, no 401K - just a bit of savings to live on. I obviously messed up doing this pro se to start with and am scared to death. I want to protect what little I do have and don't know how.
Some other issues I think may have some merit:
I've read various posts all over the web that say you have no chance of getting an old judgment vacated unless you weren't served properly. I assume that since I responded to the original lawsuit, I have no grounds to claim service was somehow improper?
On the other hand, I've also read that a court will set aside a judgment if you can show that the judgment was entered in error, that you had good reason for failing to respond to the summons, and/or that there is a good chance that you will prevail if the judgment is set aside and the case reopened. In other words, the court is allowed to relax the requirement of due diligence where equity and good conscience require it.
This CA is a known scumbag collector in Iowa. I'm sure he had no real documentation of the debt and would have lost the case had I known the ins and outs of the court process. Would the details I've posted above be grounds for a court to vacate?
Finally, in my research, I came across an interesting case: Cotton vs. Asset Acceptance for FDCPA violations. Cotton was seeking review of his state court default judgment and won. Cotton’s federal lawsuit does not target the state court’s decision, but instead targets Asset Acceptance’s alleged practice of filing and threatening to file lawsuits in time-barred FDCPA claims.
This case gives me hope that one could bring a federal case against any CA that has violated the FDCPA even though they have already won a judgment against you.
Thanks for any assistance!