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Philip D Stern
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Philip Stern’s Answers

210 total


  • Was served a complaint in mid May for a New Jersey complaint that was dismissed in 2011. The is a debt collections matter.

    I answered the complaint on Jun 3 and filed a counter claim. I called the court whose clerk tells me that complaint was dismissed in 2011, and plaintiff has filed no motions, nor have they re-opened the case. I thought that In 35 days (I believ...

    Philip’s Answer

    I am assuming that the case was dismissed for lack of prosecution and that you are the only defendant.
    The pertinent Court Roller seems to be 1:13-7 which, in part, states:
    "After dismissal, reinstatement of an action against a single defendant may be permitted on submission of a consent order vacating the dismissal and allowing the dismissed defendant to file an answer, provided the proposed consent order is accompanied by the answer for filing, a case information statement, and the requisite fee. If a defendant has been properly served but declines to execute a consent order, plaintiff shall move on good cause shown for vacation of the dismissal."
    The Rules do not appear to give instruction as to what a defendant is to do when served after a dismissal when the defendant does not consent and plaintiff fails to file the appropriate motion. After being served with process (the summons and complaint), you could have just entered an appearance and the plaintiff would be obligated to serve you with the motion. Then, you could just wait for the motion (which you could oppose). The problem with that is you take the risk of a default judgment being entered if you don't get the motion.
    The"good cause" standard is relatively low. I would expect it to be met if the plaintiff could give some plausible excuse for the delay and some showing off the absence of prejudice to you. Prejudice means the inability or unfair added difficulty in proving your defense or Counterclaim due to the passage of time. Without knowing any of the facts, I would not venture to guess what the court would do however, the fact that you submitted an Answer and Counterclaim suggests the possibility that you are ready to litigate the merits and, therefore, suffered no prejudice.
    Under the circumstances, I'd suggest contacting the plaintiff in writing and either indicate your willingness to consent or demand that plaintiff file the appropriate motion by a certain date (giving a reasonable amount of time to do so).

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  • Can debt collector lawyer demand/collect more what the court awarded him?

    for a medical bill of $316, the debt collector files and obtained default judgment for that amount. After 8 years he files for writ of execution and obtained judgment to garnish my wage, though I objected to the motion but the court denied it. Jud...

    Philip’s Answer

    The facts you state are a bit confusing.
    The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act governs the conduct of a"debt collector"while attempting to collect a consumer debt. A debt collector includes a lawyer who regularly collects consumer debts. For example, Michael Harrison, Esq. and Pressler and Pressler LLP are two NJ law offices which are debt collectors.
    A medical debt owed by the patient is a consumer debt.
    In effect, the Act requires debt collectors to treat consumers fairly, honestly and respectfully.. When the Act is violated, the debt collector is liable to the consumer for: damages for any actual harm, an additional award of up to $1,000, and attorney fees.
    The facts you state may be the basis for a claim under the Act. Most lawyers experienced in handling FDCPA cases do not charge a fee to you because the Act allows them to recover fees from the debt collector. Therefore, I recommend you consult with an FDCPA attorney. You can find one at the website of the National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA) or by searching for one on Avvo.

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  • Is a notorized letter considered purgery if not paid back?

    I have a nephew that owes me $4000 and refuses to pay me back..I won a civil judgement against him for the money owed...When in court, him and his wife told the judge it was under his bankruptcy which he has not filed yet with the Bankruptcy court...

    Philip’s Answer

    You wrote that you already have a judgment. There is no need to take him to court again. Now, you need to enforce your judgment against his assets and income.
    To get additional information on collecting a judgment select Self Help on the New Jersey Courts home page and review the downloadable packets under the section called "Collecting After You Win in Small Claims or Special Civil Part."

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  • Warrant to satisfy judgment

    I paid a debt and the debt collector attorney said they will send a warrant to satisfy judgment. He said I would have to file it. Do I file it at bergen county or to trenton? Can I just mail it in with fee?

    Philip’s Answer

    You mail it to the County if the judgment number begins with VJ. You mail it to Trenton if the judgment number begins with DJ or the Docket No. begins with L.
    Send an extra copy and a return self addressed stamped envelope along with the fee so that you get back a file-stamped copy.
    Its also a good idea to send by FedEx, certified or priority mail, or by any means where you can confirm it was received.

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  • Sheriff Sale - Judgment Amount

    How is the judgment amount determined for a Sheriff's sale when there is more than one lien on the property? Is it the total amount for those liens listed as defendants? Is the judgment amount just the amount owed to the mortgage company? Where...

    Philip’s Answer

    Before the sale starts, the plaintiffs attorney will announce the amount due the plaintiff. The amount paid by the winning bidder will first go to the Sheriff for commissions. Next it will go to pay the plaintiff. If there are surplus funds, a junior lien holder will bring a surplus money proceeding to fix the amount due. If there are left over funds, they go to you.
    In a foreclosure, not only are the property owners rights foreclosed but also the rights of junior lien holders against the property (and their rights against you have already been discharged in bankruptcy). Senior lien holders are not affected-as a result, the plaintiffs attorney will announce at the sale that the sale is subject to the rights of any senior lien holders.

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  • Can a collection agency take action against me without any written notice?

    I ran into a NJ Transit bus 2/2/1999. I lived out of state. When I tried to renew my driver's license in the State of NJ I was told that I had to contact a collection agent to make payment arrangements on a judgment against me. I contacted the ag...

    Philip’s Answer

    If there's a judgment, then you had to be given some form of notice. I don't think you need a collection attorney. You need an attorney with experience regarding motor vehicle laws. Frequently, an attorney who handles municipal court matters is familiar with the motor vehicle laws.

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  • What should I do to best protect myself, if I'm unable to get an attorney on time?

    I'm currently being sued for a debt in NJ, that I already received a judgement against in Oregon. Unfortunately, the answer (to the summons) that I provided didn't seem to make a difference, and I'm now due in court. However, in my panic (and, an...

    Philip’s Answer

    You need to speak to an attorney experienced in defending debt collection and pursuing your possible claims for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
    It would be helpful if you let us know the name of the debt collector and the basis for the debt.

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  • So my question is, do I have to pay the debt or is it barred and I can ignore their threats.

    Ok , so I owe about 2500 on a CC from college about 12 years ago which I didn't know about, I was young and naive. Lately Ive been getting letters from the sheriffs office which is actually sent through a lawyers office stating that they will gar...

    Philip’s Answer

    The statute of limitations concerns the time from default until they start the lawsuit. To get a judgment, they had to start a lawsuit. They seem to have a judgment because they are pursuing a garnishment. So, it seems that the statute of limitations is no longer an issue.
    If you did not know anything about the lawsuit, you can get information from ACMS, the NJ courts online public access system, about the case. Alternatively, you can go to the Clerks office in Paterson to get information about the case. If you never received notice of the lawsuit, you might be able to get the judgment vacated.

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  • Does a 7 years old debt is still valid in New Jersey? Isn't the statutory period in NJ six years?

    I have a judgement against me, it was placed by a collection agency that bought a 2nd loan mortgage on a house I lost(it was foreclosed). I have documents that shows when the foreclosure day took place(over 7 years ago). I believe few of the mi...

    Philip’s Answer

    The Statute of Limitations limits the time within which a lawsuit must be brought. Generally, the rule in NJ for accounts and promissory notes is 6 years but many credit card agreements require application of another state's laws which have shorter periods (for example, Delaware and Virginia).
    Judgments are valid for 20 years and may be renewed for a second 20-year period.
    Credit reporting comes off after 7 years.

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  • Can a debt collector put a levy on your account if the full amount was paid 10 months ago

    i paid my full balance and they came and put a levy on my account a week before Christmas and when they realized it was a mistake they still are giving me the run around to get my money back

    Philip’s Answer

    No. Having done so, the collector may be liable under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act up to $1,000 plus any actual losses.

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