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Matthew Erik Johnson
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Matthew Johnson’s Answers

1,637 total


  • Can the tow company hold me liable? What are my options?

    I sold a vehicle in Oct. 2015. I mailed my paperwork to Olympia. I got a letter in the mail from a tow company in Feb. 2016 saying that they have my vehicle and that I owe them money. I went to the DOL and they gave me a paper stating that I had s...

    Matthew’s Answer

    As Mr. Ellie correctly advises, if you reported the sale in Washington, then you are not liable if the car then has some incident - whether its an accident, is abandoned, towed, or otherwise. If the tow company continues, they must file a claim against you in court to obtain a judgment. I would advise sending a letter, ideally from an attorney, outlining this to the tow company and/or their attorney of record. Knowing you have an attorney friend usually stops any action before it starts.

    In addition, if they are put on notice with an official letter - and proof of mailing is maintained - its much easier to argue for attorney fees if they do bring an action.

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  • How can I fight to keep the payment they gave on the September letter?

    In September 2015 I received a letter for my mortgage giving me the new payment details for March 2016 because it is a ARM. I just found out that they sent me another later end of January almost doubling the payment on the September letter.

    Matthew’s Answer

    This is typically the problem with adjustable rate mortgages. The amount owed will be dictated by the contract itself, and thus a careful review should be obtained from a real estate attorney to ascertain if the contract is being breached or not. The alternative would be to call the lender and attempt either a refinance or adjustment of the rate.

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  • Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Social Security overpaid me b/c I earned too much. Can I discharge my debt to Social Security?

    I earned more than expected from my job. Now social security is coming after me for $10k overpayment. Can I discharge this?

    Matthew’s Answer

    The other two attorneys are both correct, you can discharge social security overpays so long as the overpayments were not obtained through fraud or misrepresentation (which is very rare). Thus you can discharge your debts in these areas without trouble.

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  • Am I responsible for paying this doctor bill because my insurance provider went bankrupt without any notice?

    I saw my doctor in December of 2015. In January of 2016 my insurance (assurant) went bankrupt and now they are not paying the doctor bill. The doctors have sent me the bill and are asking me to pay this. I was paid up and current on my premium a...

    Matthew’s Answer

    As Mr. Anapol mentions, you can submit a claim with the appropriate agency. However if that does not work then you will be responsible for the medical bill

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  • Must a Chapter 7 trustee pay a DSO directly to the state enforcement agency if the recipient has requested it of the payor?

    I cannot find this in the law but it makes sense. Otherwise the DSO is classified as DSO for purposes of priority payment (100% usually, say) but the debtor would not get credit for the payment. (Example: child has reached the age after which chil...

    Matthew’s Answer

    Typically to avoid this, the claim should be listed using the DSO mailing address (DSHS in some states) and the recipient should be listed as an additional notice/party under that claim.

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  • What are my rights in this process and what can I do at this point that he has obtained an attorney to file chapter 13?

    I have recently divorced and in the decree it states the our joint property/house is to be sold and that I have the sole right and possession of it until it was sold. Because it is in foreclosure I moved out in order to settle my family (not havin...

    Matthew’s Answer

    A Chapter 13 by itself would not allow him to also change title in the residence as far as I am aware. Additional action would need to be taken for quiet title, restitution, or family court. Nor does a Chapter 13 grant possession, in fact he cannot use the homestead exemption if he hasn't been living in the home. How your realtor granted the ex husband entry without permission is beyond me.

    If he does not comply, then you can pursue a contempt order in family court. A creditor attorney can help you lift the automatic stay in order to move forward with the short sale.

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  • What happens to my wages after I file for divorce? Won't the wages now be separate property? Can my wages still be garnished?

    Debts of 1 spouse in California which is a Community Property State. My husband had a business which he ran during our marriage. The business didn't do well. He incurred huge debts. He filed for bankruptcy but the creditor was able to file an adve...

    Matthew’s Answer

    Whether your wages can continue to be garnished depends on whether the bankruptcy court determined the debt was a community debt, or a separate debt of your husband which the creditor could pursue community funds to pay. This is a legal distinction, and one that is very fact intensive and also dependent on how the debts were listed in the original bankruptcy petition as well as any orders in the adversarial proceeding.

    Its possible that you could divorce and then discharge these debts, however a very careful review of the original matter needs to be completed. I would find a lawyer to help you review the original bankruptcy filing.

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  • Could I pay the chapter 7 filing fee with a personal check?

    What are the methods of payment for the bankruptcy filing fee. I have saved cash for legal fees and can't use credit cards. Could I pay the chapter 7 filing fee with a personal check?

    Matthew’s Answer

    In most cases you can provide the filing fee to your bankruptcy attorney, and the attorney will then pay the filing fee. If you are not using an attorney, then you will likely want to go to the Federal Courthouse in your district and make a payment there.

    From the United States Court Website, which I will link to below:
    Fees Paid by an Individual Person - If an individual debtor files a bankruptcy petition package or other document at the courthouse, the bankruptcy court does not accept credit cards, but the fee may be paid with:
    (1) CASH (United States currency only);
    (2) U.S. POSTAL SERVICE MONEY ORDER; or
    (3) CASHIER’S CHECK issued by an acceptable financial institution.

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  • How do I go about keeping my clients and subcontractors under a new company name?

    I am a small service provider/broker in the waste/recycling industry. My LLC is being sued by a former subcontractor over account disputes. I am thinking about filing business bankruptcy however I want to keep my current clients and subcontractors.

    Matthew’s Answer

    You would want to go through a business attorney to do this the proper way and make sure the paperwork is done the right way.

    You need to be very careful because Successor Liability could expose the new business to the old business' liability. You need to make sure you go through all the proper steps to wind down the business, liquidate, and shut down the business or file for bankruptcy. If any assets transfer from the old to the new, then you run a very real risk of successor liability.

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  • I want to know if I could file for bankruptcy without my husband having to do it since it's my debt?

    I am in a lot of debt but I'm married. Checking my credit score and realized I'm in debt for $103,000. This is more than I thought I was in. Need to find a way to help improve this issue.

    Matthew’s Answer

    You do have the option of filing as a married person filing individually. Some slight special attention needs to be paid to preparing the petition to make sure your spouse is listed in the right places and NOT listed in the wrong spots or the clerk will unfortunately make them an unwilling participant.

    However, yes, you can file individually. How this would play out is unknown as to whether you would have to file Chapter 13 or Chapter 7, as you would have to use the income of the entire household to determine eligibility for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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