We were contacted by a client who received a notice of wage garnishment from a New York City Marshal to his job stating that garnishment against him would begin within a twenty-day period based on a debt from almost 15 years ago that he did not even remember. After some quick research we learned that the judgment was obtained on default and had since been bought and sold many times over eventually situating itself with Palisades Collection LLC, a common debt-buyer. The current law firm attempting to enforce this judgment was Houslanger & Associates, a firm that we defend against quite often. We learned that the debt was initially only a few thousand dollars but had grown to over $20,000 because of New York judgment interest which accrues at 9%.
Although worried about the wage garnishment against him, our client was especially concerned as he was in the process of refinancing his home and this judgment was a giant red flag preventing him from doing so as it was one of the first items that came up on the title search. Because this was a default judgment and our client was never served we were able to have the judgment vacated which then reopened the actual case against him. Houslanger’s office contacted us and offered a very low settlement reducing the balance by 75% off of the total amount asked for. Our client accepted as time was an issue in refinancing his home. The vacature of the judgment and satisfaction of the debt amount allowed him to proceed with refinancing.