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Auden Lewis Grumet
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Auden Grumet’s Answers

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  • Can I remove a judgement that was satisfied before the court date and shows up on my credit report.

    From 2010 to 2014, I lived in an apartment complex. In 2011, I missed a rent payment and was served a 5 day eviction notice and a summons for court. Before the court date, I made my rent payment and all associated late/filing fees were also paid. ...

    Auden’s Answer

    I do agree that your question is somewhat confusing. Presumably you're talking about a default judgment that issued as a result of your failure to timely answer the Complaint. You may have been thinking that tender of the full amount due is a complete defense to an eviction/dispossessory proceeding - and under the right circumstances, it can be (once in any 12 month period). But you would have to file the proper protocol and ensure that the proper dismissal, etc. is timely filed.

    Merely paying the amount past due but not appearing in court won't suffice. So again, my hunch is that you got a default judgment issued against you, in which case you may have a very difficult time having it removed. To be sure, this precise scenario exists with one of my clients, and once a default judgment is issued and finds its way to public records, you are most likely limited to an action to set aside the judgment for relief.

    Also, there are many CRAs - not just the national three/four - some of which only landlords use to check rental histories. These are still Credit Reporting Agencies that are subject to the FCRA. This probably explains why you don't see it when you review your files from the "Big Three"...

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  • Moving company is adding additional fees and costs that were not originally negotiated, what are my rights

    I recently used a mover to move me from Philadelphia, PA to Atlanta, GA. I had an original Binding estimate and paid half the estimate amt @ pickup and was told to pay the remainder upon delivery. At pickup, they said I had more boxes than my inve...

    Auden’s Answer

    With respect to interstate moving carriers [as opposed to intrastate carriers - i.e. from one point to another, entirely within the same state], your rights and remedies as a consumer and "shipper" of goods are severely limited by a Federal statute known as the Carmack Amendment [to the Interstate Commerce Act; 49 U.S.C §101 et. seq.].

    Therefore, as is reflected in Rosenthal v. United Van Lines et al., 174 F.Supp.2d 1331 (ND GA, 2001), one of my reported cases on this precise issue [in other words, I helped to create law on the subject], virtually all state laws that are inconsistent with the Federal law [Carmack Amendment] are "preempted", meaning they are negated or nullified. See also Werner v. Westwind, 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 396 (11th Cir. 2009).

    Generally speaking (and with the usual legal disclaimers about this not being formal legal advice, etc. in mind), therefore, due to these principles a consumer utilizing an interstate motor carrier ("mover") has unusually limited [and in my view, unfair and unreasonable] remedies when property is damaged or other wrongs have been committed by the carrier. Specifically, this typically means that the compensation available for damage that occurs to one's goods is limited to the value of the goods as declared on the Bill of Lading in conjunction with the Tariffs that are determined and regulated under Federal law [of course you might be able to seek other relief by way of private insurance, etc.].

    However, there are certain VERY NARROW exceptions - some of which are addressed in the Rosenthal case - which, if they are deemed to exist, MAY allow for the recovery of other losses. But the further complication and difficulty presented by these claims is that the courts in the various districts within the eleven Circuits [in addition to D.C.] around the country are all over the place with their interpretations and rulings on these issues, leaving the caselaw entirely inconsistent in most aspects.

    Suffice it to say that the law is far from favorable for consumers when it comes to interstate moving carriers subject to the Carmack Amendment and unless the claim involves significant losses with significant value, I usually conclude that it's just not worth the uphill battle. Of course other attorneys may have a different opinion, and I certainly remain willing to speak with you or anyone else about possible representation in such cases, but I think it's important for the potential client to be aware of the likely costs and time required to pursue such a case.

    Auden L. Grumet, Esq.
    The Law Office of Auden L. Grumet, LLC

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  • My wages are being garnished what are my rights

    my wages are being garnish by a finance company. and they're askin for more money than whats on my credit report. whats the best way to handle this situation.

    Auden’s Answer

    I'm not sure I fully understand your question, but it sounds like there was a Judgment [Court Order] issued against (or entered into by consent) you - basically the only means of obtaining an enforceable [Post-Judgment] Garnishment - and you want to know if the amount of the Judgment [and in turn, the Garnishment] must be identical to the amount of the alleged debt as reflected in your Consumer Credit Report.

    If my understanding is basically correct, I would note the following (generally speaking with the usual "this is not formal legal advice disclaimers): the contents of your Consumer Credit Report - including with respect to the debt at issue - are essentially irrelevant to the inquiry - and for that matter, are of no legal consequence except insofar as such pertain to a direct dispute as to the accuracy of same in the context of an Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA") or related claim. In other words, a Credit Report is really nothing more than a compilation of [mostly financial] information collected by a private company [Credit Reporting Agency ("CRA")], for use by another private company [e.g. bank/lender].

    The "amount" was presumably determined by a judge or jury based on a calculation of the damages to which the Plaintiff [who, it must be assumed, sued you, the Defendant, in the first place to get the Judgment] was found to be entitled - having met its burden of proof to establish same. So there must be more to the "story", so to speak.

    So unless the issue at hand is related to a formal dispute as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in the Report - which, based on your question, does not appear to be the case - the contents are irrelevant. Thus, my informal answer is "No, with respect to claims that are not directly related to FCRA liability, I am aware of no legal authority or principle which mandates that the information [about a particular debt or otherwise] contained in a Credit Report must be identical to the amount as claimed in a Garnishment (or a lawsuit).

    In sum, I would say that so long as the amount of the Garnishment has been accurately determined [typically comprised of up to 25% maximum of your earnings per pay period] based on the amount of the underlying Judgment, it is lawful. I would also add that with the exception of certain very limited circumstances, it is extremely difficult [in GA at least] to have a Judgment overturned or set aside [especially if it is one entered "by Default"].

    Auden L. Grumet, Esq.
    The Law Office of Auden L. Grumet, LLC

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  • My wages are being garnish by a finance company.

    the amount that was giving to me by that company is different from my credit report. my report is sayin less than what there askin for. and the garnishment has started. what shall i do are what can be done.

    Auden’s Answer

    I'm not sure I fully understand your question, but it sounds like there was a Judgment [Court Order] issued against (or entered into by consent) you - basically the only means of obtaining an enforceable [Post-Judgment] Garnishment - and you want to know if the amount of the Judgment [and in turn, the Garnishment] must be identical to the amount of the alleged debt as reflected in your Consumer Credit Report.

    If my understanding is basically correct, I would note the following (generally speaking with the usual "this is not formal legal advice disclaimers): the contents of your Consumer Credit Report - including with respect to the debt at issue - are essentially irrelevant to the inquiry - and for that matter, are of no legal consequence except insofar as such pertain to a direct dispute as to the accuracy of same in the context of an Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA") or related claim. In other words, a Credit Report is really nothing more than a compilation of [mostly financial] information collected by a private company [Credit Reporting Agency ("CRA")], for use by another private company [e.g. bank/lender].

    So unless the issue at hand is related to a formal dispute as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in the Report - which, based on your question, does not appear to be the case - the contents are irrelevant. Thus, my informal answer is "No, with respect to claims that are not directly related to FCRA liability, I am aware of no legal authority or principle which mandates that the information [about a particular debt or otherwise] contained in a Credit Report must be identical to the amount as claimed in a Garnishment (or a lawsuit).

    Moreover, I'm not sure I understand the phrase "the amount that was given to me by that company" in your question, because, as noted above, the "amount" was presumably determined by a judge or jury based on a calculation of the damages to which the Plaintiff [who, it must be assumed, sued you, the Defendant, in the first place to get the Judgment] was found to be entitled - having met its burden of proof to establish same. So there must be more to the "story", so to speak.

    In sum, I would say that so long as the amount of the Garnishment has been accurately determined [typically comprised of up to 25% maximum of your earnings per pay period] based on the amount of the underlying Judgment, it is lawful. I would also add that with the exception of certain very limited circumstances, it is extremely difficult [in GA at least] to have a Judgment overturned or set aside [especially if it is one entered "by Default"].

    Auden L. Grumet, Esq.
    The Law Office of Auden L. Grumet, LLC

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  • Can i pay a out of town ticket in the conty i live?

    it is over due and will there any other charges added for it been late

    Auden’s Answer

    It's entirely dependent upon the jurisdiction [e.g. state, county, etc.] in which your matter is pending, among other things. So first and foremost, you need to provide all basic background information, including the location(s) of your residence and the [alleged] offense.

    Auden L. Grumet, Esq.
    The Law Office of Auden L. Grumet, LLC

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  • What can a former tenant due to compel landlord to return rent overpayment

    I recently moved out of a rental unit that I had lived in for 11 months. I did recieve back what wasn't used from the deposit with an itemized list of deductions, which were excesive. However, on the last month that I lived at that unit the landl...

    Auden’s Answer

    As a quick follow-up to my previous response, it is also important to note the "Voluntary Payment Doctrine" [which again, like the vast majority of legal issues, is state law dependent], which generally holds that payments made by "mistake" [it gets very tricky and convoluted when you must distinguish between mistakes of law, fact, etc.] are not recoverable. And as with virtually any statute or legal principle, there are plenty of exceptions, and often the exceptions to a rule overshadow it.

    It is also worth pointing out - assuming, for example, you were actually seeking legal services from an attorney (and not just seeking informal input online at no charge) - that the billable time and hence cost of my answering this question would already equate to almost the entire underlying amount in dispute!

    ALG

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  • What can a former tenant due to compel landlord to return rent overpayment

    I recently moved out of a rental unit that I had lived in for 11 months. I did recieve back what wasn't used from the deposit with an itemized list of deductions, which were excesive. However, on the last month that I lived at that unit the landl...

    Auden’s Answer

    A thoroughly accurate answer depends significantly as to what state the property is in [and I realize you are in CA]. With that said, however, Georgia law requires most residential landlords (there are exceptions for those who own only a few units) to do a number of things both upon move-in and move-out, the failure to do any of which may [and usually will] result in the landlord's obligation to return the Security Deposit, among other ramifications. Below I have included an excerpt from a recent letter I sent to a landlord on behalf of a client, which I think summarizes pretty well most of the more important issues.

    [LETTER EXCERPT START] "In addition, I would like to know if [Client] was presented with the requisite "move-in" list which, prior to the tendering of the Security Deposit - a term, it is significant to note, that includes advance rental payments - the landlord is obligated to provide to all tenants for their permanent retention. Said list must include a comprehensive list of any existing damage to the premises. See O.C.G.A. § 44-7-33. That Code Section additionally provides that the "tenant shall have the right to inspect the premises to ascertain the accuracy of the list prior to taking occupancy" and that the landlord and the tenant shall sign the list. Id.

    And the same is true with regard to the holding of the Security Deposit, which is required by law to be deposited in an escrow account maintained exclusively for that purpose and is to be held in trust for the tenant. Further, "tenants shall be informed in writing of the location and account number of the escrow account required by this Code section". See O.C.G.A. §§ 44-7-30 and 44-7-31. Further, a landlord is legally obligated to return the full Security Deposit to a tenant within one month after the termination of the lease. See O.C.G.A. § 44-7-34. And "no security deposit shall be retained to cover ordinary wear and tear…" Id.

    Significantly, if a landlord fails to properly and timely execute and provide to the tenant either the initial and or final damage list(s) or the itemized damage statement(s) or fails to place the Security Deposit(s) in an escrow account as referenced above, she must return the entire deposit(s) [including advance rental payments]. Moreover, if each of the required lists and statements are not timely provided, a landlord forfeits not only the right to retain any part of the Deposit(s), but is also estopped from bringing suit against the tenant for damages to the premises. See O.C.G.A. § 44-7-35.

    And perhaps the most important consideration for you to keep in mind is that "[A]ny landlord who fails to return any part of a security deposit which is required to be returned to a tenant pursuant to this article shall be liable to the tenant in the amount of three times the sum improperly withheld plus reasonable attorney's fees…" Id. [END OF LETTER EXCERPT]

    Hope this helps,

    Auden L. Grumet, Esq.
    The Law Office of Auden L. Grumet, LLC

    [Of course the foregoing is offered informally and is not intended to be official legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. To be sure, I would definitely recommend that you contact a local California attorney who can better advise you of the idiosyncrasies of state law, etc.]

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