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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011

    Default How to Overturn a "Consent" Judgment

    My question involves judgment recovery in the State of: Georgia

    I just found out that I have 2 judgments against me from 5 years ago. Thinking it was an error I went to the courthouse to get documentation only to find out that it was in fact a consent judgment that my divorce attorney signed. Well, the plaintiff attorney signed for the divorce attorney. I forgot all about the suit because I was going through a divorce at the time and just gave it to my attorney. He denied it all in the answers because they weren't my accounts, nor did they have anything to show it was in fact mine. (I have a very common name) Well, my ex had kept a brand new car and didn't pay on it so it was repossessed, and I owed around 18K on it. So my divorce attorney referred me to someone to file bankruptcy. I met her a few times, filled out stuff, and paid her and never heard anything again. I was never contacted by any creditors, nothing. Well it has been 5 years and after pulling a credit report I see the 2 judgments, NO bankruptcy, and nothing referencing any accounts. I would feel better about the judgments if I had any old bills or statements or something indicating these were in fact, mine... So when I went to see my divorce attorney to show him the signature on it (it is clearly not his signature but the other attorney didn't sign By (initials) He told me he thinks he remembers consenting because I couldn't pay to fight it and it didn't really matter because I was in the process of filing bankruptcy. I don't remember ever giving him consent to do this. I then told him about the bankruptcy not being on there so it looks like she never filed it. And he said that she had a meltdown and was no longer with the bar and that she had "dropped the ball" on a few cases.

    OK, so obviously I am an idiot as I didn't understand everything that needed to be done to complete a bankruptcy. I know it is ridiculous to not pull your credit more frequently, but I didn't see the point as I had filed bankruptcy, or so I thought.

    Now it gets even better. The same attorney was on both cases, in both instances he signed my attorneys name to the consent agreements. The 1st case 4400$ total, and the suit on the 2nd was for 2000$, and here is the kicker.. On the second case, the suit was for $2000, but the judgment was signed for $4400, the amount from the first case. Then, a month later, another judgment was signed, same case, different judge, different amount, no reference to ammending the first judgment whatsoever. So technically there are 2 cases, but 3 judgments. Then, a year later, a FIFA is submitted. Judgment Date of 8/2007, (cases filed and "consented" in 2006) and it was witnessed by the judge and filed by the clerk in March of 2007? AND it was for the same amount as the first suit, $4400. I checked with the court website and they have a printout for FIFAs, for the plaintiff to fill out and submit. It looks like the attorney submitted it for the incorrect amount judgment awarded. I'm leaving specifics out because what I have learned about this firm the last few days has me scared to even contact them about the errors in the cases, and they are probably patroling debt forums...

    I am lost here on what to do. I called an attorney about it here in town and was told it doesn't matter about the discrepancies, it is 5 years old. The only way to fix it is to come in and pay $1200 and I will start bankruptcy for you.

    I have searched and searched trying to find anything to guide me in the right direction on this, but it would appear there is no other instances of something like our situation anywhere online.

    Can I just go to the judge? Also, can I go after the original creditor for fraud as I didn't have an account with them? Of course from what I have read online it was probably fake anyways as apparently this attorney names OC as plaintiffs when in fact the debt was sold. Can I go after them for fraud in misrepresenting themselves as atty for plaintiff? I can't believe that with all the issues there is nothing we can do but file bankruptcy...

    BTW, after we "filed" bankruptcy, we were never contacted by anyone on any monies. And we have never had wages garnished, bank accounts levied, nada. Isn't that odd for someone to have a judgment and not try to collect?

    Any thoughts on this nightmare of mine??

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: How to Overturn a "Consent" Judgment

    If your attorney authorized opposing counsel to sign the default judgment, then that's what happened. It's not improper for opposing counsel to sign a judgment with permission. You clearly had notice of the judgment through counsel, and I expect that your lawyer was served with a copy of the judgment. Your concern, five years after-the-fact, that the amounts claimed may not be correct is not going to provide you with a basis to overturn a five-year-old consent judgment. It's not clear from your statement whether you are stating that your lawyer wasn't authorized to resolve the case, but if not it would appear that any present recourse would be against your lawyer (likely with an associated statute of limitations issue) - although if you can prove a clerical error in one of the orders you may be able to get that corrected. I expect this is what the bankruptcy lawyer had in mind when he told you that it was too late to try to directly attack the consent judgments.
    Quote Quoting OCGA 9-11-60. Relief from judgments
    (a) Collateral attack. A judgment void on its face may be attacked in any court by any person. In all other instances, judgments shall be subject to attack only by a direct proceeding brought for that purpose in one of the methods prescribed in this Code section.

    (b) Methods of direct attack. A judgment may be attacked by motion for a new trial or motion to set aside. Judgments may be attacked by motion only in the court of rendition.

    (c) Motion for new trial. A motion for new trial must be predicated upon some intrinsic defect which does not appear upon the face of the record or pleadings.

    (d) Motion to set aside. A motion to set aside may be brought to set aside a judgment based upon:
    (1) Lack of jurisdiction over the person or the subject matter;

    (2) Fraud, accident, or mistake or the acts of the adverse party unmixed with the negligence or fault of the movant; or

    (3) A nonamendable defect which appears upon the face of the record or pleadings. Under this paragraph, it is not sufficient that the complaint or other pleading fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, but the pleadings must affirmatively show no claim in fact existed.
    (e) Complaint in equity. The use of a complaint in equity to set aside a judgment is prohibited.

    (f) Procedure; time of relief. Reasonable notice shall be afforded the parties on all motions. Motions to set aside judgments may be served by any means by which an original complaint may be legally served if it cannot be legally served as any other motion. A judgment void because of lack of jurisdiction of the person or subject matter may be attacked at any time. Motions for new trial must be brought within the time prescribed by law. In all other instances, all motions to set aside judgments shall be brought within three years from entry of the judgment complained of.

    (g) Clerical mistakes. Clerical mistakes in judgments, orders, or other parts of the record and errors therein arising from oversight or omission may be corrected by the court at any time of its own initiative or on the motion of any party and after such notice, if any, as the court orders.

    (h) Law of the case rule. The law of the case rule is abolished; but generally judgments and orders shall not be set aside or modified without just cause and, in setting aside or otherwise modifying judgments and orders, the court shall consider whether rights have vested thereunder and whether or not innocent parties would be injured thereby; provided, however, that any ruling by the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals in a case shall be binding in all subsequent proceedings in that case in the lower court and in the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals as the case may be.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011

    Default Re: How to Overturn a "Consent" Judgment

    Thanks for responding! I had checked a few times after posting it and never saw a response, then I figured I would get an email if someone did have some answers for me.

    So thank you!

    I do not remember giving my attorney my consent. I remember clearly stating that they were not my accounts. The case files just have my name and an account number by it. On a side note, my father and I share the same name. In fact, on my credit report, his name, Sr. is listed as one of my alias's. And one of my previous addresses in one in South Carolina, where I last lived when I was in 9th grade, and obviously I didn't apply for any credit accounts that young in life. My dad died a few years before my divorce, so it wasn't something I could ask him about... if he used my information for credit. In any case, once I gave it to my attorney I didn't think about it again. Stupidity on my part, but I did have a lot going on fighting for custody.

    So, basically I have no course of action since it has been over 3 years? It doesn't matter that I didn't know about it? I never got any summons from the court about my financial info or anything to that effect that I have read about online after judgments are entered.

    So with the fact that there are 3 judgments on file, I am not responsible for all of them? There were only 2 suits filed, one case just has 2 signed judgments in it. (And the FIFA submitted by the plaintiff several months later was for the wrong amount) I just want to make sure I don't have to pay all 3 that were signed by judges.

    Would that be a clerical error to get one of them thrown out? Or no? Double judgements, different amounts, different judges...?

    Does anyone have any advice in settling with a consent judgment? Or would they be expecting the full amount... five years later? Also, why have I not been garnished or levied as technically they have the authority to do so...

    Or if I can get them off my credit, as they are inaccurate and they have to be accurate to be reported, would I be notified in 2 years if they tried to renew the judgments?

    Thank you so much for your time and for responding to my initial post. Thank you for the OCGA code as well, I will have to look more into those.

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