Opposing Judgments by Confession in Illinois
What is a "Confession Judgment"Ordinarily, a bank or other creditor cannot take a civil judgment against a borrower without first giving notice of its claim, and an opportunity for the borrower to be heard. To satisfy these "due process" requirements, Illinois courts require the creditor to ensure that the borrower receives a copy of the complaint and summons before entering judgment.
A "confession of judgment" clause in a promissory note or other business agreement bends these due process rules. In a typical confession of judgment, the borrower waives the right to summons by a "warrant of attorney," which authorizes any attorney to appear, waive process and confess judgment for the borrower. In short, the borrower agrees to surrender in advance, and the creditor wins without a fight. In many cases, the borrower does not know that the lender has filed suit until the lender starts to seize the borrower's assets.
Limits on Confession Judgments Under Illinois LawIllinois law recognizes the inherent unfairness of confession judgments, views them circumspectly. The validity of the confession of judgment clause depends on its warrant of attorney. If the warrant of attorney is defective, it confers no power to appear, and any judgment based on that warrant will be vacated and set aside.
How to Attack an Improper Confession JudgmentUtilizing our knowledge of this area of law, our office recently won a motion to vacate a confession judgment of more than $300,000, where the judge found the warrant of attorney defective.
We believe there are thousands of invalid confession judgments entered over the past few years, which we can attack and set aside. If you or someone you know has suffered the entry of a confession judgment, please call me to see if we can help you remove that judgment from your credit record.