Much like many consumers in New York, New Jersey and across the country, our client first found out there was a default judgment obtained against her when her employer received an income execution and notified her that she would soon be subject to a wage garnishment or income execution. Residing in New Jersey, a wage garnishment could only commence after she was sued and either failed to answer the lawsuit permitting the other party win on default to secure a default judgment. The bulk of default judgments are entered when the defendant does not answer, either because they are unaware of the lawsuit or do not know what to do and do not do anything.
In this case, the creditor was a low-level debt buyer, Great Seneca Financial Corporation, and the plaintiff’s law firm who had sued our client was Pressler & Pressler. Having handled many cases against Pressler & Pressler, we knew that they are notoriously difficult to settle with when a matter is post-judgment, meaning after they had already won the lawsuit. However, our extensive experience with their office has helped us to identify what is required in order to obtain the lowest settlement with them for our clients. Here, we interviewed our client about whether she was properly served with the summons and complaint. After reviewing the affidavit of service, we discovered that she was did not reside at the address listed on the affidavit of service for quite some time.
This kind of improper service is all too common in the debt industry. We requested that she find any documentation that would reflect a different address from that time period. We were then able to use that documentation as leverage to obtain a settlement saving our client 81% off of the balance of the judgment; more importantly vacating the judgment against our client; stopping the wage garnishment; and having the funds collected by the Marshal during the wage garnishment/income execution returned to our client.