Empire Portfolios, Inc., a low level debt buyer was pursuing our client for an alleged judgment that was obtained in 2005 on default. The debt was originally an account with Providian Financial Corp., but was bought and sold a few times over before reaching Empire Portfolios. The creditor hired the debt collection law firm of Selip & Stylianou, LLP, formerly known as Cohen and Slamowitz to try and enforce on the default judgment that was obtained. Our client was an Indian immigrant who was not even living in the country in 2005 when he was allegedly served. The judgment had grown from $2,000 to over $10,000 due to the 9% judgment interest that had accrued for ten years as well as attorney’s fees.
Our client stated that not only was it impossible to serve him in 2005 because he was out of the country but that he was not even aware that he had a debt owed and a common name in his community. We quickly contacted S & P to tell them that we would be filing an order to show cause to both vacate the judgment and ask the judge to dismiss the action based upon reasonable excuse, lack of jurisdiction and lack of standing respectively. As with most debt buyers, Empire would have a difficult burden showing proper assignment and chain-of-title. Selip and Stylianou decided to offer an out of court settlement vacating the judgment against our client and accepting $1,500 to save both clients from addition legal fees as well as risk.