I was sued in Houston, which I had never lived in or visited. This is four hours from my home. I personally requested a change of venue to a Dallas area court, but was denied.
A default judgment was placed against me, since I could not make it to the court hearing. (That was 6 years ago.) My wife and I are in the process of buying a house(within the next year), but I need to get rid of my judgment. This is a two part question:
1. Is it possible to reopen the case in court and since the law firm (Regent and Associates) has filed (or is filing) bankruptcy, the case would be vacated in some way?
2. If that is not possible, how do I find out who to contact to determine some kind of settled agreement?
Your judgment was handled by attorneys so I would start by contacting them. The money you owe might be listed in the company's paperwork and may be sold during the proceedings so you probably need to look through their bankruptcy filings. While it's always possible to reopen the original lawsuit, you have to give a good reason for why things should be different. The company's subsequent bankruptcy would not qualify.
The dialogue on this website does not constitute legal advice nor does it form any sort of attorney-client relationship.
To #1, maybe. You may be able to reopen for some reason (not because Regent and Associates has filed bankruptcy though). If you want to do this, I urge you to contact an attorney for assistance.
To #2, contact the original credit card company. It appears that the debt collector filed bankruptcy, or maybe the attorneys for the credit card company. Contact the original credit card company and if they cannot help you, they can direct you to who can.
By the way, settling a debt MAY harm your credit substantially and forestall your ability to obtain financing.
It is highly unlikely that the default judgment was awarded to Regent & Associates, which was a law firm and not a debt buyer. Your procedural methods of getting the judgment set aside are gone because you knew of the lawsuit when it was filed.
Because a homestead can't be taken to satisfy a judgment unrelated to the mortgage or taxes, the judgment creditor must give a partial release with respect to the home if you request it in writing. This is necessary if you plan to buy, sell, refinance, or take a home equity loan. If the creditor will not release on request, there is a statutory process to go around the judgment lien. This does not mean you don't owe the money, just that the house can't be held hostage to the judgment.
Use the "Find a Lawyer" feature to connect with a consumer debt defense attorney in your area. Many will offer free initial consultation.
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You could call the creditor who took the judgment to work out a settlement. If you go this route I would advise that you get it in writing that if you pay $x by y date, they will provide a written and signed release of judgment by z date.
If you want to try to sell your home without settling the debt, you will need to find out from your title company exactly what documents they will accept in order to close the sale. There are several ways a lawyer can help you provide legal documents to the title company, but the lawyer will need to know which documents the title company requires.
For instance, you don't want to pay a lawyer to help you draft the affidavit provided for by the Texas property code but the title company demands a release of lien.
My answer to this question is for general purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship and is not legal advice. You should contact an attorney directly for legal advice. We are a debt relief agency and we help people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Code as well as resolve other debt issues.
It sounds like it will be challenging to reopen the case based on the fact you made an appearance in the first go-round. But without looking through all of your court documentation it will be difficult to make a determination.
Despite the fact that the lawfirm is in bankruptcy, you probably still owe money under the judgment to the judgment-creditor (the plaintiff in the lawsuit.) The judgment creditor may also have a trade-line on your credit report which will give you information on how to contact them directly. (As a side note, I think Mr. Regent is still practicing law, possibly with another law firm. You could also look him up on TexasBar.com and contact him directly. The fact that his firm is in bankruptcy does not relieve you of the judgment.)
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