Our client a resident of Florida contacted us about a default judgment placed against him in New York County in 1997. He learned of the judgment when he received a bank levy notice stating that the funds in his account were frozen. We quickly learned that First Commerce LTD, a debt buyer, obtained the default judgment against him, and the law office of Altschul and Altschul was the current firm attempting to enforce the judgment by freezing his bank account. The client informed us that although he was a New York City resident back then he resided in Brooklyn at all times and never lived at the address stated on the affidavit of service. There was no possible way that he could have been served and this is why the default judgment was obtained against him. The summons and complaint also listed our client with a middle initial that was not his own.
We contacted the attorneys at Altschul and Altschul to immediately request that they vacate the judgment against our client and dismiss the case with prejudice. After they delayed to do so, we filed a Order to Show Cause to Vacate Judgment with the NY Civil Court arguing that our client’s judgment should be vacated under CPLR 317 and 5015 due to improper service. We also stated that we would be pursuing Commerce LTD and Altschul for violations under the FDCPA for deceptive practices including improper service, wrongful suit, a lack of standing, and improper venue. Altschul finally decided to vacate the judgment against our client and dismiss the case with prejudice before the actual date of the hearing, fearing the potential legal consequences against them.