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I Am Being Sued By American Express but Have a Stipulated Judgment. – Maria

“Dear Steve,

I am being sued by American Exp. original amount was $37,000 they agreed to take 100.00 a month but when I got the judgement stipulation they had tacked on 10,000 more in legal fees. Originally the collection agency for them had agreed to accept 100.00 a month they did for a year,but then stopped the automatic withdraw without notifiying me. Next thing I know they sued me. Now the law firm is willing to accept the same 100.00. I don’t think I should pay the legal fees since they stopped taking the money without telling me.

Should I go before the judge and see if he’ll waive or lower the fees? Can I wait until they get a judgement to go bankrupt?


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The Answer

Dear Maria,

A stipulation agreement or a stipulated judgement or agreed judgment can be a good tool to use to enter into a repayment plan when you don’t want a lawsuit and judgment against you. However, if you default you have already agreed that the default will trigger a default judgment against you without notice.

A stipulated judgment or agreed judgment is a judgment which both sides agree to have entered. If the agreement is not followed, the plaintiff can file an affidavit of default wherein the judgment can be entered without notice to the defendant(s). This default judgment is binding and failure to comply with it means that an enforcement action could be taken. Enforcement actions vary, but can include wage garnishment and/or property lien(s). – Source

If you did not think the additional legal fees were proper you should not have signed the stipulated judgment in the first place. It’s not the duty of the law firm to take payment from you, it is your duty to make sure they get the payment. The automatic deduction is a convenience, not an obligation. The obligation is that you make X payment by Y date each month. That argument isn’t going to fly. And neither will the request to have fees reduced that you already agreed to.

If you are considering bankruptcy, do it right now before the stipulated judgment is filed with the court for default and your wages are garnished. You can click here to find a local bankruptcy attorney.

Big Hug!

I Am Being Sued By American Express but Have a Stipulated Judgment.   Maria
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About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode
Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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