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Debt Judgment Dismissed Without Prejudice/Garnishment

Washington, DC |

If a credit card company obtains a judgment against you but then dismisses it without prejudice, can they still garnish you years after the fact with no contact, no forewarning? I had a judgment against me in 2008 that was dismissed in 2010 because they couldn't locate me (I moved to another state), but my phone number remained the same the entire time & I've been at the same address for 4 years. Now in 2013, they sent my current employer a garnishment and mailed the copy to where I lived 4 years ago, so of course, I never received it. Can they garnish after they have dismissed the judgment? That's what I need to know. Does my having a copy of the dismissal carry any weight, or am I just stuck with it? The account has been closed since 2007 in Ohio. I now live in VA & the payment is HUGE!

Attorney Answers 2

Posted

You should have an attorney look at it and perhaps the judgment can be vacated (even though it was dismissed there's something going on there). At the very least an attorney may be able to help settle this for lower payments. A full review of the case documents may shed some light on it.

This answer should not be construed as creating an attorney-client relationship, and is for informational purposes only.

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Posted

I think you are confusing your terminology. A judgment cannot be dismissed. It is court order, a creditor cannot dismiss it without prejudice or otherwise. If you paid them, they might file a satisfaction of judgment, but that's not a dismissal.

A judgment is good for typically around 10 years (varies by state) and can usually be renewed. So if they have a judgment against you they can attempt to garnish your paycheck or levy your bank account at anytime during that period.

I have no idea what they would have dismissed, but dismissal without prejudice means that they can renew whatever claim they may have as long is it within the statutes of limitations, so whatever you have does not likely carry any weight. My guess is that they dismissed the suit the first time because they realized you didn't live there and then somehow got a default judgment somewhere else. Whether or not that is legal depends on more facts than you have provided. I would recommend contacting a local consumer protection attorney.

The information provided here is intended to help you be an informed legal consumer and is not a substitute for representation by an attorney.

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3 comments

Asker

Posted

Thank you for your response, Mr. Zawojski. Just to clarify, and I'm copying the text verbatim from the Case Summary printed from the Franklin County Municipal Court's website in Columbus, Ohio: Status: Closed, 9/10/2010, Disposition Code: DISMISSED BY PLAINTIFF, Disposition Date 8/29/11 and below in the Docket section: Docket Date: 8/29/11, Docket Text: Notice of Dismissal Filed Without Prej. This was sent to my current home address in August 2011, so it certainly sounded to me like a dismissal to me. The judgment was obtained in 2008 and was dismissed in 2010. They have not renewed the claim. It was obtained and dismissed in Franklin County, OH only. The judgment itself is in a separate document and includes activity up to 5/1/2008, where it lists the judgment information. Above it, the next entry was not made until 4/26/13 when the garnishment was filed. So between 2008 and 2013, there was no activity listed in this particular document, and no contact has been made with me by the company other than sending me the dismissal letter in 2010. Thanks again. Just wanted to clarify a bit more.

Maxim Christopher Zawojski

Maxim Christopher Zawojski

Posted

Well, they can't garnish you with a valid judgement so I'm not sure what is going on there. I think you should contact a local consumer protection attorney because if you were never properly served with a lawsuit you may have a basis for vacating the judgement. Try the National Association of Consumer Advocates site: http://www.naca.net/

Maxim Christopher Zawojski

Maxim Christopher Zawojski

Posted

Correction: without a valid judgment

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