Default Judgments

Showing up is half the battle!

Many of the clients we help at Phoenix Credit Consultants have credit problems because of something the legal system refers to as a “default judgment.” In simplest terms, a default judgment is what happens when someone who has been sued in court, for example by a “creditor” does not show up for a scheduled court appearance.  For that creditor, winning by default is like winning by “forfeit” in a sports competition.

When this occurs, the court will frequently give the creditor “whatever they want” and award attorneys’ fees, court costs and whatever amount of interest the creditor claims they are entitled to. If the person who got sued isn’t present, the court has no way of knowing their side of the story, the court can only “assume” that the creditor is entitled to recover everything that they claim they are entitled to recover. The attorneys fees, court costs and interest may be something that the creditor is able to lawfully recover, but sometimes there is no legal “right” to such recovery.

Why don’t people who are sued by creditors show up to court?

  • Sometimes, people are not even aware that they have had a lawsuit filed against them. Typically, the court will require that the creditor show the court that they have provided adequate notice of the filing of a lawsuit as well as the date that said suit is set for hearing, prior to the entry of a judgment by default.  This notice is provided through what the law calls “service of process.”
  • Even if a creditor makes a good faith effort to comply with the court’s rules for service of process, it is possible that the person who was allegedly served with notice never gets such notice.
  • A lawsuit and summons to court might be left with a family member who neglects to forward the lawsuit on to that person.
  • Notice can sometimes be lawfully and properly provided by mail that, for various reasons, never makes it to the person who is being called to court.
  • Court is held during most people’s “working hours” and it is sometimes difficult, if not impossible, for them to take the necessary time off from work in order to appear in court as scheduled. This is especially true if the attorney representing the creditor who is suing them asks the court that the case be continued repeatedly.

What do I do if I find out that a Default Judgment has been entered against me?

You, or an attorney, may be able to seek relief from the default judgment. It is usually best that you seek such relief as promptly after the entry of  the judgment as possible. It is sometimes necessary that you provide the court with a reasonable excuse, or “good cause” for your failure to appear in court or otherwise respond to the lawsuit.

You, or an attorney, may request that the court “vacate” the default judgment against you and provide you with another opportunity to respond to the lawsuit and/or show up in court at a new court setting.

You may be able to negotiate a settlement of the judgment that is more favorable to you than the default judgment that has been entered, either in the amount of the judgment or in the terms under which the judgment is to be paid.

What can Phoenix Credit Consultants do to help me if I know or if I am concerned that a default judgment has been entered against me?

Phoenix Credit Consultants can help you to determine whether or not a default judgment has been entered against you in a Court of Law. A default judgment will frequently show up on your credit report. We can help you with the process of obtaining a copy of your credit report, and further can help you with the process of deciphering the information contained in that report.

We can provide you with important guidance as to how to address default judgments, along with other negative matters that may appear on your report.

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