Q: I have a judgement against me, I did not go to the hearing over a year ago and the judgement went through. Now I am receiving papers from a law firm, Interrogatories for Discovery of Assets in Aid of Execution. Is there anything I can do to appeal or stop this?
My ex-husband bought items on one of my cc cards. We divorced, and I was left with a hefty amount due on the credit card. So, that is why I did not pay it in the first place. But now I’m here, and shame on me. Thanks. (Shaler Twp., PA)
A: Yes, if you have allowed a judgment to be entered, you are way late to appeal. There is a procedure to get back to court which involves filing a Petition to Open Default Judgment. I am not sure if the facts in your case would support this legal procedure, which will involve hiring a lawyer and incurring legal fees. If the judgment is something you can pay, you may want to work out a settlement agreement. Consult with a lawyer.
Q: My uncle was here on visitor’s visa from India couple of years ago. He had a hospital ER visit which lead to 20k in medical bills. He had some sort of traveler’s insurance at the time of his treatment. He went back assuming the insurance would take care of the bills. However, insurance denied everything stating it was due to a pre-existing condition. I recently have received a court summons on his name mailed to my address. Since the defendant is not staying in US anymore and they cannot afford paying that huge amount, what can be done? Would I have any impact on all this? (Gibsonia, PA)
A: If you were not named in the suit, but it was just mailed to your address, you should have nothing to worry about. I have seen creditors send court papers such as complaints to several last known addresses of clients. This way they can claim they served the defendant and try to obtain a default judgment. It was probably the address he listed when in the hospital here. My suggestion is to mail the creditor a letter, both regular and certified return receipt mail. In the letter, tell them that your uncle does not live nor has ever resided at your address and to cease further contact at your address. Saving a copy of this document may help your uncle in the future if the creditor should obtain a default judgment. As far as your uncle is concerned, it is highly doubtful that they will serve him with a complaint in India. If he travels back to the U.S. they could personally serve him with the complaint, but that is very unlikely.
Q: I have a car loan with a local bank and had to do a month’s deferral because I was out of work for a while. I called my local branch and spoke to their loan officer, who sent me the paperwork in the mail and told me everything would work out just fine. He said the month I couldn’t afford to pay would simply add on to the end of my loan and it wouldn’t be a missed payment. However, I’ve been getting nonstop collection phone calls from their collection department. I spoke with them and explained the situation to someone there and they told me “oh yes, now that you said you had a deferral I see that on our system”. They told me everything was fine. But today while I was at work they called again and a tow truck was seen on my street. If they tow my car wrongfully, can I hold the bank liable and sue?
A: You are likely in breach of your loan agreement if it is not paid and I am assuming under the same contract they are permitted to reclaim their vehicle. Now, the question is whether you can rely on their promise to extend or defer, or, is this just trickery being used to get their car back? Lenders are permitted to use some level of trickery in repossessing their collateral. It is not uncommon for the lender to invite you in to discuss your financial woes, while unbeknownst to you your car is being hooked and hoisted by a tow truck in the parking lot. What a lender cannot do is breach the public peace in the repossession process. For example, if your car is on a public street, it is fair game. However, they cannot go into your garage and take it. If you are serious about catching up with your payment, you might want to make the car unavailable until you are so caught up. If they do tow it, I don’t think you have a legitimate claim to sue them. If you cannot pay up, you may want to just turn the car in voluntarily to preserve your credit worthiness. Additionally, if they are calling you at work, they are in violation of the law.