Our client received a wage garnishment notice through his job and realized that there was a judgment against him by Atlantic Credit & Finance, a debt buyer that he had no idea about from 2007. He contacted us immediately to prevent the wage garnishment from commencing and to remove this judgment against him. The lawsuit filed against him was originally prepared by the law firm of Forster & Garbus LLP, a usual suspect in these matters. However, our client left the country in 2006 and did not return until some years later which prevented Forster and Garbus from being able to enforce the judgment against him. Atlantic Credit & Finance ultimately decided to remove Forster & Garbus as counsel because they were unable to recover any funds. They then retained the Law Office of Guy Mitchell Lewit to attempt to recover on the default judgment.
The original judgment amount of about $5,000 had matured up to about $9,000 mostly because of NY State judgment interest of 9% as well as an additional Marshal’s fee of 5%. We contacted Mr. Lewit’s office immediately to notify them that we would be filing an Order to Show Cause to vacate the default judgment against our client as he was blatantly out of the country when he was allegedly served. Thus, under the NYCPLR inadequate service would allow us not only to vacate the judgment but to also attempt to have this case dismissed because of a lack of personal jurisdiction.
We also reminded opposing counsel that there were potential FDCPA issues against them due to improper and deceptive service of process. Mr. Lewit’s office considered their options and quickly offered a low out-of-court settlement of $1,500 to prevent any further legal fees and resolve the matter once and for all. The judgment against our client was quickly vacated and the case finally resolved.