A former client retained our services again when another old debt came back to potentially garnish his wages. A default judgment had been entered against him in 2008 by NCO Portfolio Management, one of the biggest debt buyers in the country and they were represented by the debt collection law firm of Stephen Einstein and Associates. A default judgment occurs when a consumer-debtor fails to respond to a court action commenced by the creditor-plaintiff. This often occurs in consumer credit actions because the debtor is not properly served (i.e. wrong address) or never served at all despite an affidavit of service stating he or she was served. Challenging service is the best defense to vacate a default judgment.
After quickly retrieving the address used for service in this case, our client was able to provide documentation with an address showing he was living in Florida during the time of the action against him in New York. Our office provided the paperwork to opposing counsel, along with other defenses to the action itself. Because NCO Portfolio is a third party debt buyer and not the original creditor, we challenged the creditor’s ability to even sue our client (proof of ownership of the debt would need to be provided), and we challenged that our client was previously notified of the assignment from the original creditor to this debt buyer. By relaying these issues to opposing counsel, we were able to get Stephen Einstein & Associates to agree to vacate the judgment and dismiss the action with prejudice against our client. Our client did not have to pay a penny of the debt, which had accumulated to over $15,000. More importantly, the matter can never be brought to court again against our client.