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Home > Ask The Get Out of Debt Experts > I Have a Judgment Against Me by My Old Lawyer. But He Committed Suicide. Now How Do I Get Rid of This? – Rosemary

I Have a Judgment Against Me by My Old Lawyer. But He Committed Suicide. Now How Do I Get Rid of This? – Rosemary

“Dear Steve,

In Jan, 2005 went to lawyer to contest a divorce. No written contract. Charged me $2,500. I paid cash; got no receipt. Finally divorced in Jan 2007 after lawyer made many mistakes. Went on with my life. Then late 2010, got served w/ lawsuit for $5000 more from lawyer. Did not personally sue me; sued through his “corporation” one man law firm. Hearing was set three counties away on a day I could not be excused from work (work for gov’t). In plenty of time, I filed a Notice of Unavailability and Motion to Dismiss bec WAY over statute of limitation in FL, I did not owe him more money; etc etc. Judge never got papers, I guess that I was unavailable.

Judgment was entered against me. Two weeks later, my former atty committed suicide. Now I cannot have a hearing, cannot appeal, cannot (and would not) pay the $5000 to get it off my credit report so I can get a loan I desperately need. I must get this off my credit report. I have asked a re tired judge where I work; he says this has never come up in his 40 years. Please help!

How do I get the judgment vacated if the plaintiff is dead? How could I ever pay it even if I owed it? No one to pay. The law firm listed as Plaintiff no longer exists bec of suicide of the Plaintiff. Any way to appeal to the credit reporting agencies to get it off? These are extraordinary circumstances. Bank approved me for loan EXCEPT for this one thing, judgment entered last Oct, 2010. I feel I cannot receive due process, I cannot appeal, and I can never get this off my credit report and off the court records. I live in Florida. Thank you!

Rosemary”

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The Answer

Dear Rosemary,

After talking this over with some friends we came to the same conclusion. Get a copy of your consolidated credit report and see which credit bureaus are reporting it. The file a dispute claim with each of the credit bureaus that list the item. Since the creditor does not exist anymore the debt will not be able to be validated and should be removed.

The only sticky part is if the bureaus sent a runner back to the court house to see if the judgment is still recorded and then left it. But still, I’d start with disputing it first. The consolidated credit report contains all the forms necessary to file a formal dispute on the item.

I contacted the Florida Bar for information on how to handle this situation but they still have not responded.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.

Big Hug!

I Have a Judgment Against Me by My Old Lawyer. But He Committed Suicide. Now How Do I Get Rid of This?   Rosemary
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I Have a Judgment Against Me by My Old Lawyer. But He Committed Suicide. Now How Do I Get Rid of This? - Rosemary by

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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.
  • Rosemary

    Steve, you are awesome!  Thank you so much for replying.  I consulted a retired judge and he said he had never seen anything like this happen in 40 years on the bench.  I spoke with an attorney who told me to try disputing it with the credit bureaus first.  Then try filing a motion with the court to have the judgment vacated on the grounds there were procedural mistakes made and I had a right to a hearing, but cannot have one now because of the plaintiff’s death.  If that fails, the attorney said, appeal to the Clerk of the Court and ask her if I can pay the $5,000, get a satisfaction order, deposit the money into the Registry, then ask her to reimburse me because there is no one to claim the money.  This, I think, if very risky.  First, I don’t owe the money and don’t want it on my record that I paid it to get a satisfaction order; secondly, I am in the right and it should be vacated on many other bases, not to mention the plaintiff is now dead.  I will be in touch as soon as I get results.  But thank you, thank you for asking the FL Bar what to do.  Let me know when you receive a response.  I am very interested in knowing what they say the proper procedure is.   

    Bug Hug Back,
    Rosemary

  • Rosemary

    Steve, you are awesome!  Thank you so much for replying.  I consulted a retired judge and he said he had never seen anything like this happen in 40 years on the bench.  I spoke with an attorney who told me to try disputing it with the credit bureaus first.  Then try filing a motion with the court to have the judgment vacated on the grounds there were procedural mistakes made and I had a right to a hearing, but cannot have one now because of the plaintiff’s death.  If that fails, the attorney said, appeal to the Clerk of the Court and ask her if I can pay the $5,000, get a satisfaction order, deposit the money into the Registry, then ask her to reimburse me because there is no one to claim the money.  This, I think, if very risky.  First, I don’t owe the money and don’t want it on my record that I paid it to get a satisfaction order; secondly, I am in the right and it should be vacated on many other bases, not to mention the plaintiff is now dead.  I will be in touch as soon as I get results.  But thank you, thank you for asking the FL Bar what to do.  Let me know when you receive a response.  I am very interested in knowing what they say the proper procedure is.   

    Bug Hug Back,
    Rosemary

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