Whom should I contact regarding a civil judgment?

Q: My ex-husband signed for a summons for me in 2012, but never told me. I did not respond due to being unaware, and a judgment in the amount of $1094 was placed against me for a credit card debt in May 2012. He received the notice of judgment, but again, never gave me the papers or even told me about it. I just found out about this, and I don’t know who to contact to arrange payments. Should I contact the attorney who sued me? And is it likely they’ll accept payments, because I cannot pay the amount in full at this time? (Jefferson Hills, PA)

A: That is unfortunate. If the judgment was already taken, your options are few as far as legal remedies go. You likely would have to pay an attorney to file a petition to open the default judgment. This can be done but the legal fees involved will likely exceed $1,094.00. If you owe the money your best bet would be to contact the attorney who filed the complaint and work out a payment plan. Beware of interest and legal fees tacked on. If you explain what happened, he or she may reduce the amount added on to the judgment. Good luck.



Q: Auctioneer fails to deliver auction of property. Now is suing me for thousands. What to do?I have a property that is hard to sell, so I contracted with a real estate auctioneer. The contract was that the auctioneer would market the property online, and in print advertisements, and also conduct a formal auction with bidders. The auctioneer guaranteed me a sale of the property from the auction, and bidders for the auction in written communications. The contract was $5000 for marketing which I paid up front, and an additional $5000 after the auction for the auction. There were no provisions in the written contract about responsibility on either the auctioneer, or the seller’s end if the property did not sell, or if there were no bidders. On auction day, no bidders showed up, and the auctioneer did not commence the auction. The auctioneer left 10 minutes after the auction was to begin, and stated that he would follow up with me. The auctioneer never followed up with me. One week later the auctioneer sent me a demand letter for the additional $5000 for the auction even though there were no bidders for the auction, and no auction was actually conducted as planned. I sent a letter back to this auctioneer stating that I think no further payment is warranted since he did not conduct the auction, left early, and did not deliver as promised in writing to “Sell My Property”, and “Bring Many Bidders To The Auction”. One week letter I get a complaint from the county court of common pleas that the the auctioneer is suing me for $5000, and $2500 for additional damages. In the written contract the auctioneer guaranteed me a diligent and effective auction, but he clearly did not deliver this because there were no bidders interested in participating, and he never commenced the auction as scheduled and planned. How can I proceed to defend this?

A:  You need a lawyer. You have 20 days to answer the complaint. Whether you have a defense can probably be determined by reading and interpreting the contract, which a lawyer can do for you. YOU MUST FIND A LAWYER IMMEDIATELY to file a written answer to this complaint. If you don’t answer the complaint, you may be subject to a default judgment and lose important rights or property.