I have a list of options below for people who first learn of a default judgment after the fact, without proper service of the summons and complaint. For example, promptly hiring a debt collection defense attorney, who can prepare and file a motion (with supporting affidavits) to ask the court to set aside the default, which motion would prevent the default judgment from being enforced, if the motion is granted. If denied, there are still other options, but typically the defendant/debtor gets only one shot at trying to set aside a default judgment. The older the default judgment, the more difficult it will be to set aside.
Setting aside a default judgment can also get the judgment deleted from your credit reports. One other option, that I have helped several clients with and is less expensive, is simply to try to settle the judgment and have the Plaintiff's attorney file a Satisfaction of Judgment in Full, which would make the judgment officially paid and no longer enforceable.
Robert Stempler (please see DISCLAIMER below)
NOTICE: The above statements are provided for general information purposes only and are not intended as legal advice or advice of any sort for a specific case or legal matter. If you do not have a signed attorney-client fee agreement with the Consumer Law Office of Robert Stempler, APC ("the Firm"), then until such written fee agreement is provided and signed by both a prospective client and attorney for a particular case, neither Mr. Stempler nor the Firm will represent you nor will they be your attorney in any matter and you remain responsible for retaining your own attorney and for compliance with any and all deadlines and for any statutes of limitations that may pertain to potential claims. Comments made on a public forum, such as Avvo.com, to not have any confidentiality because others may read them. If you desire a private consultation with Mr. Stempler that is confidential, please go to www.StopCollectionLawsuits.com and submit a free eCase Review. The result portrayed for a client was dependent on the facts of that case. Results will differ if based on different facts. The Firm and Mr. Stempler are a debt relief agency. The Firm and Mr. Stempler help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.
If you want to get the judgment set aside, don't tarry. The court will want to see that you acted diligently after learning of the judgment.
You need a debt collection defense attorney pronto.
Sewer service (throwing the service in the sewer and lying on the Proof of Service) is not unheard of (I am fighting such a case right now in Ventura County). However, you need to ACT QUICKLY to protect your rights. The judge is going to want an explanation why you are coming to court now to set aside an apparently old judgment.
The process to set aside a default is not terribly complicated, but you should balance the amount of the judgment with the cost of a competent, local debt collection defense attorney to assist you. If the judgment is over $5,000, I would recommend paying for an attorney for sure.
If you need further clarity, please email me at MICHAEL@MIRELAND.US Answers to questions are for general information purposes only and do not establish an attorney-client relationship. This is not legal advice, simply information. You SHOULD NOT act on this information without consulting a competent bankruptcy attorney in your area and providing ALL relevant information.