What is the process to vacate a "Default Judgment"?

Asked over 3 years ago - Marietta, GA

A company "the Plaintiff" claims I owe them money and sued me at an old address and got a "default judgment". They sued at my old address so I did not receive any legal notice despite my having notified their first attorney of my new address in advance and requesting them in the same "Certified Mail" letter to give me more details on the debt and validate the same, which they did not send. I learned of this "case" only because my ex-landlord telephoned me that a Sheriff had visited their address to serve some papers to me and I then went online to search the Gwinnet court records. How can I fight this case and vacate the judgment now before they send wage garnishment notice to my employer and damage my reputation at work? Is there an attorney that can help? I now live in Marietta, GA.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Andrew Daniel Myers

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . You need to file a Motion to Remove Entry of Judgment of Default. You need to recite some law that the courts prefer adjucidation on the merits rather than technicalities. You also need to submit an affidavit signed by you reciting the facts you have posted. You need to do this ASAP. I am not licensed in GA, but in my jurisdictions I have found the above process to work, but such documents must be filed very soon after the actual default.

    Sometimes, not always, I have found that the opposing attorney(s) might assent to my motion to remove default. Some jurisdictions call it a motion to 'strike' default.

    It would be best to retain an attorney.

    This answer is offered for informational purposes only. It is not offered as, and does not constitute, legal advice. Laws vary widely from state to state. You should rely only on the advice given to you during a personal consultation by a local attorney who is thoroughly familiar with state laws and the area of practice in which your concern lies.

  2. Theodore Lyons Araujo

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . When you find out that a judgment has been entered against you, normally by discovering that your wages are being garnished or the bank account has been frozen, you still have a couple of options.

    In most States the Courts allow you to reopen and challenge a “default judgment”. Most States will allow a year to accomplish this. If you did not get the paperwork for the lawsuit, or you got the paperwork but never did anything, then the judgment was “entered” due to your default to file an Answer.

    You have to bring a motion in the Court where the judgment is filed. That motion normally has to include a defense to the charges and a copy of your proposed Answer.

    You should definitely get a local lawyer to help you with this, or seek the assistance of a Bankruptcy attorney to get rid of the liability. If you can’t afford a lawyer and you are being sued check out my website for a free form Answer.

    Good Luck!

    REQUEST: Please give this answer a "thumbs up"(below) if you find it valuable.

    Disclaimer: This answer does not constitute legal advice. I am admitted in the States of New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts only and make no attempt to opine on matters of law that are not relevant to those three States. This advice is based on general principles of law that may or may not relate to your specific situation. Facts and laws change and these possible changes will affect the advice provided here. Consult an attorney in your locale before you act on any of this advice. You should not rely on this advice alone and nothing in these communications creates an attorney client relationship. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author only and the fact that he has worked as an Assistant District Attorney; State Supreme Court Clerk; Special Assistant United States Attorney (Hawaii); Assistant Cornell University Counsel or Judge Advocate, United States Marine Corps should not be relied upon to assume that these statements reflect the policy of these organizations.

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