We were contacted about a default judgment obtained against a consumer by Palisades Acquisition, a debt buyer using the services of Todd Houslanger & Associates to enforce the judgment against him for over $15,000. The debt had defaulted in 2001 and the client was sued in 2007 right before the six-year statute of limitations in these cases expired. People in New York generally move around quite a bit so default judgments due to improper service are rampant. Our client had not only moved but moved completely out of state to Pennsylvania so there is no possible way that he could have been served with process. Houslanger, was able to levy his bank account cleverly because the consumer kept funds in a large national bank like Chase.
Generally, a judgment entered in one state must be domesticated in the state where judgment enforcement is sought. However, national banks that have major contacts in New York like Chase, Citibank, Wells Fargo and others can levy accounts in other states without the judgment being domesticated. This issue sometimes develops during wage garnishment situations as well when consumers are employees of large corporations that do business in New York as well as many other states throughout the country. We recently encountered an example of this as an employee of Time Warner who had a judgment against him in New York was garnished in Florida without the domestication of the judgment against him. In this case, we were able to have Houslanger’s office to agree to vacate the judgment in order to re-start the case and defend the consumer.