Default Judgments

A default judgment is a court judgment awarded automatically to the Plaintiff (the party suing) without a trial.  Default judgments are awarded because the defendant (the party being sued) failed to timely appear and defend the lawsuit.

In the debt collection context, default judgments are a debt collector’s bread and butter.  Between sixty and ninety-five percent of all consumer debt collection lawsuits are estimated to result in default judgments.  A default judgment can be entered in less than 60 days from when the lawsuit is first filed with the court.

One of the primary reasons the rate of defaults is so high is because consumers often do not know they have been sued until it is too late.  Consumers regularly learn for the first time that they have been sued when they discover that a bank account has been frozen or are notified that their wages are being garnisheed.

Debt collection laws require that when a debt collection lawsuit is filed for things like old credit card debts, cell phone bills or even doctors’ bills, a process server has to deliver the lawsuit to the defendant or someone at the defendant’s home.  The problem is, too often this service of papers never happens.  The process server signs an affidavit saying that they delivered the papers (usually by the “nail and mail†method where they supposedly post the papers to the front door and then mail a copy).  In reality, the process server may have never delivered the papers at all.

Fortunately, New York and New Jersey courts have recognized that default judgments are highly questionable particularly due to the pervasiveness of bad service.  For this reason, it is pretty easy to have the default judgment reversed or “vacated†as it is called.

The Law Offices of Robert J. Nahoum, P.C. routinely represents consumers who have learned that a default judgment has been entered.  We go to the courthouse and file an “order to show cause†to have the judgment vacated, to have restrained bank accounts released and to have garnished wages retuned.

As with all of our consumer cases, we understand that our clients are under financial distress.  Our job is to make things easier for our clients not harder.  It is with this understanding that we have structured our fees.  We charge our consumer clients based on a flat fees arrangement.  Cases where we are hired to vacate a default judgment, release a frozen bank account and stop a wage garnishment generally range from between $750 and $1,500.

If you have questions, concerns, or legal needs regarding a default judgment, we urge you to contact The Law Offices of Robert J. Nahoum, P.C. today by calling 845-232-0202.