My question involves judgment recovery in the State of: New York.
In 2006 I was living in Upstate, NY (small town small county) and found out that Cohen and Slamowitz had a judgement against me in the County I was living in. It was two different judgments for two different credit cards I had in 1999-2000 when I was 18 originally in college. I maxed out the cards because I had financial problems in college and couldn't make the payments after the first couple (I lost my part time job). I left school after the first year and never had money to pay off these cards I didn't hear from bill collectors for years about it until I found out I had these two judgments.
I was never served I actually found out I had these judgements later on when I got a letter from a law firm offering to "take care" of my judgements in my county for a $X fee for them to file bankruptcy for me. Right away I went to to the county clerks office where they have computers hooked up to their system searched my name and found two judgments Cohen and Slamowitz had against me from in the name of the credit card company.
The lady working at the County Clerks office showed me the files which contained the legal papers they filed and the process servers affidavit of service. He swore he served my mother ( I was living at my mothers) all it said in the paper he "served a women 4x, years old" The funny thing is at that time if you ran my credit report at the time it listed my mother as "family members" and being 4x years old. You could even google my address and at the time and that information is there about who lives there. I think they just google everyone and say they served people instead of serving them so they can get default judgements . Why would I say this? This is a firm who admitted to hiring a process server in NYC who lied about serving people. Why would they do that in NYC and not other areas of the state. My boss at the time lived downstairs from me at the time they also got a default judgment against him and the SAME process server SWORE he personally served him, however when the process server swore he served my boss my boss has a plane ticket that proves he was on a plane heading overseas at the time he says he was served. And finally for me my mother said she was never served. She's not gonna lie to me about it and what reason would my mother have to not tell me I was served?
I forget what the legal documents were but they said I had 20 days to respond or a default judgment would be entered into their favor. The statute of limitations was up... I asked told the county clerk look how I came down here when I found out I had a judgment (like 3 or 4 months later) so if I was served why wouldn't I have just shown up saying the statute of limitations was up? I asked to make sure what I thought was right, :I'd just have to file a typed paper saying the statute of limitations was up, right?" She said "It doesn't even have to be typed, it can be hand written on loose lief paper, you'd file it, get a court date. You'd both then go before the judge, you'd say the statute of limitations was up, the judge would ask if their lawyers had any evidence the statute of limitations was not up. Most of the time they don't have anything, most of the time Cohen and Slamowitz's lawyers don't even show up to the court date because they have no evidence and don't like getting yelled at by the judges...."
I asked her if there was anything I could do she told me it doesn't matter if they served me or not NY is a nail and run (or tack and run) state they can just say they pinned the lawsuit to your door and that's good enough. She said "It's past the 20 days, sorry, there's nothing you can do about it now."
I found out after the year was up that you have a year to bring this back into court after the judgment. I went back to the County Clerks office and told them what the one lady told me and she basically said sorry, have a sign that says they don't give legal advice and I shouldn't have considered it legal advice (and I shouldn't have).
My credit is pretty good with just these two judgments but these judgments really kill my credit score. I'm a student again and I travel for work, I don't have a lot of money and would like to get off the road and dedicate more time to school. I've applied for a private student loan and was denied because I have judgments.
Is there anything I can do now (besides bankruptcy) to get rid of these judgments? I've tried talking to Cohen and Slamowitz who one time told me I don't need to pay now but could keep watching my balance grow until I decide to pay them. Another time I talked to a nice lady there and I offered to pay the original credit card balance. I asked her if the original limit was $250 or $500, she said she had no way of knowing. She told me she had to ask her supervisor and was clear that I said I was offering to settle for $250 to $500 for both accounts? I said yea, she told me to hold while she talked to her supervisor. She came on not even a few minutes later and said "my boss said no way, actually it wasn't so nice but you're being nice to me..." I then inquired what they bought the debt for because I was going to offer double what they paid for it if it wasn't too much. She told me they don't pay a specific amount for one account they buy them in bulk without knowing what they get. Like Storage Hunters they don't know what they'll get some are gems some are not so much but they pursue it anyway with hopes they will get paid for it.
On my credit report the judgement says the original credit card company is who the judgement is from. I called that credit card company at first trying to settle with them, they pulled up the account and basically said they want/have nothing to do with it, they wrote it off as a bad debt and received payment for it when the company Cohen and Slamowitz bought it form bought it from them. So this credit card company has a judgement against me but wants nothing from me, what's up with that?
Also I've moved back to Long Island, if I can settle this in court can I do it on Long Island or do I have to go upstate? Cohen and Slamowitz is located in Nassau County I live in Suffolk County but the Nassau County courts are closer to me.
Thanks in advance for any advice!