The first answer you were provided sounds very much correct, particularly if your only basis to get relief from judgment is that the case was heard in the wrong district. The issue implicated between the two districts deals with the proper venue for the civil contempt action. A defense for improper venue generally is waived unless raised in the initial proceeding. The fact that your appellate rights have expired is not helpful, of course. To cover all bases, however, you may want to look into the local state rules and talk to a lawyer as soon as possible as time is not on your side. For example, in federal court, there is a specific rule that affords a party the ability to obtain relief from judgment. Take a look at Federal Rule 60(b) below to determine if any of the subjections apply. Note that (b)(1)-(3) have a one year time limit. 60(b)(6) is a catch all with no time limit. Your state local rules may have a cognate to Rule 60.
RULE 60. RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT OR ORDER
(a) Corrections Based on Clerical Mistakes; Oversights and Omissions.
The court may correct a clerical mistake or a mistake arising from oversight or omission whenever one is found in a judgment, order, or other part of the record. The court may do so on motion or on its own, with or without notice. But after an appeal has been docketed in the appellate court and while it is pending, such a mistake may be corrected only with the appellate court's leave.
(b) Grounds for Relief from a Final Judgment, Order, or Proceeding.
On motion and just terms, the court may relieve a party or its legal representative from a final judgment, order, or proceeding for the following reasons:
(1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect;
(2) newly discovered evidence that, with reasonable diligence, could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b);
(3) fraud (whether previously called intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing party;
(4) the judgment is void;
(5) the judgment has been satisfied, released, or discharged; it is based on an earlier judgment that has been reversed or vacated; or applying it prospectively is no longer equitable; or
(6) any other reason that justifies relief.
(c) Timing and Effect of the Motion.
A motion under Rule 60(b) must be made within a reasonable time – and for reasons (1), (2), and (3) no more than a year after the entry of the judgment or order or the date of the proceeding.
(2) Effect on Finality.
The motion does not affect the judgment's finality or suspend its operation.
(d) Other Powers to Grant Relief.
This rule does not limit a court's power to:
(1) entertain an independent action to relieve a party from a judgment, order, or proceeding;
(2) grant relief under 28 U.S.C. § 1655 to a defendant who was not personally notified of the action; or
(3) set aside a judgment for fraud on the court.
(e) Bills and Writs Abolished.
The following are abolished: bills of review, bills in the nature of bills of review, and writs of coram nobis, coram vobis, and audita querela.
This answer is not intended to offer a legal opinion, to provide legal advice, or to establish an attorney-client relationship. Please contact a lawyer in your jurisdiciton to assess your legal claims. Most claims are subject to specific statutes of limitations. As such, it is important to assess your claims quickly so that you do not lose any legal rights.
Dear Litigant: It sounds like your matter was in Illinois State Court and not Federal Court. If it was in State Court, then the fact that you appeared would waive any venue argument.
Before filing bankruptcy, consider settling the case with the Plaintiff. If you are in fact penniless, the Plaintiff may be willing to let you satisfy the judgment for less than the full amount or on a long payment plan.
Hope this helps. Good luck
This is not legal advice and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The post is only an opinion. You should speak to an attorney for further information. The poster is licensed only in IL. Please visit www.davismcgrath.com for more information about our services. If this post is useful to you, please remember to vote it up. Thank you.