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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011

    Post What Can I Legally Do About a Judgement That Was Granted Against Me

    My question involves judgment recovery in the State of:NY

    In April 2010 my wages started being garnished because of a Judgement that was granted against me in September 2008. My problem is that I was never notified by the collection agency or their lawyer about the possible garnishment before they took legal action against me. In fact the only letters for payment demand I received from this collection agency prior to the judgement was for an old Columbia House debt of $80, not the $1900 they were awarded in the Judgement. Also, I was never served a summons and no one signed for one on my behalf . If I read NYS law regarding garnishments correctly, I should have been served notice by a sheriff. It just does not seem legal that a garnishment of my wages would be granted in court without me knowing about the debt or the judgement placed against me.

    My main concern about the garnishment is that I do not recognize the amount of the Judgement and i do not know who the original creditor is. I am concerned that I am being garnished for a debt that is not even mine. I did some background research on the collection agency and the law firm that represented them in my Judgement case and there are hundreds, if not thousands, of complaints about both of them on the Internet. Most of the complaints are of the standard collection variety, but there were a few that raised some serious red flags with me. The collection agency has been accused before of trying to collect a debt in cases of mistaken identity/identity theft and the law firm involved has been accused of issuing false summons or skirting the law to get a default Judgement (which I assume is what happened in my case).

    Everything about this Judgement seems shady. The amount of the debt, not having prior knowledge or written/verbal contact from the collection agency or the law firm concerning the debt, not knowing who the original creditor is, not being served a summons and not even knowing that a Judgement was granted against me in a court of law until 1 1/2 years after the fact.

    My questions are, What can I legally do about this Judgement that was granted against me without my knowledge? If this is not my debt, and I am a victim of mistaken identity or identity theft, how do I legally go about recovering the wages that were garnished from my paycheck?

    Any advice on this matter is sincerely appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: What Can I Legally Do About a Judgement That Was Granted Against Me

    Go to the court where the garnishment order was issued, look at the court file from the case, and from that determine when the original suit was filed, how it was supposedly served on you and, from that, perhaps why you did not personally receive a copy of the lawsuit. If the plaintiff on the garnishment order is Columbia House, it's reasonable to infer that the judgment relates to your debt to Columbia House - plus court costs, penalties, interest, and probably attorney fees.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011

    Default Re: What Can I Legally Do About a Judgement That Was Granted Against Me

    Thank you for your response Mr. Knowitall.

    Last week I called the corporate payroll offices of my employer and they were kind enough to send me copies of the Judgement which arrived by mail today. The Judgement does not list an original creditor, so I called the county court house earlier to see what information they could give me by phone. The clerk basically had the same information I have in my copy of the the Judgement but she did say that the sheriff probably tried to serve me at the address provided in the Judgement, which is 8 years old, and that is why I never received the summons, I was not locatable. I plan to take your advice and visit the court house on Friday to find out how the Judgement was served and granted for certain. I then tried to call the collection agency but they were no help since I did not have an account number for the original creditor. I don't know how they figured I would have that information when I was calling to find out who the original creditor is, but whatever, that's besides the point. The representative did tell me I have 11 accounts in collection with them, and only one (Columbia House) that I have been made aware of and recognized. From there I contacted the law firm that represented the collection agency in court in the case and they were able to provide me with the original creditor, Capital One Visa. I have never opened a Capitol One Visa, or any credit card for that matter, in the last 18 years. It's obvious to me now that I have become a victim of mistaken identity or identity theft. I found a great website that provides lots of information on the steps to take if you have become a victim of identity theft and I am in the process of completing those steps. I suppose I should ask my questions in a new thread about identity theft, but just for the heck of it, I'll ask them here also.

    Since this is not my debt, how do I go about collecting the wages ($1100) that were garnished from my pay? Is Capitol One responsible for issuing credit to someone who stole my identity? Is the collection agency responsible for not verifying that this debt was actually mine? Do I have the right to sue a party to recoup my garnished wages? If so, who?

    Thank you in advance to anyone who responds.

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