My Son Just Got Garnished for a Really Old Debt. – Bill

“Dear Steve,

My son, who has always resided in Florida, had a GM credit card that was revoked in February, 1997. At some point, GM purportedly assigned their claim to Household Finance Corporation. Either GM or a purported assignee filed a collection action in 1998. My son was never served. They got a judgment (I assume the judgment was dated in 1998).

In 2010, out of the blue, they filed a garnishment action and got an order to garnish his wages. The garnishment was appealed and the garnishment was reversed and the judgment thrown out (or vacated ?)because the plaintiff could not prove that my son was served back in 2008. The case was so old that the court (or clerk) had thrown out the file.

Now, Household Finance, the purported assignee of the claim, has filed a new complaint for damages using the 1998 case number.

Has the SOL run ?
If the SOL has run, how can they file an action now ?
If the SOL has run, how can they use a 1998 case that has been inactive for 13 years to file a new complaint ?
Can we object (do we have legal grounds to object) to their trying to, in effect, reopen the 1998 case ?
If we make that objection successfully, does the SOL preclude their filing a new complaint ?
On what basis would a judge let them reopen a dormant 13 year old case ?
Is Household Finance required to produce a 1998 original assignment from GM to proceed under the 1998 case ? or under a new 2011 case ?
If Household Finance cannot get a judgment, so they just have a debt, can they garnish his pay or take his car ?


Dear Bill,

Our resident attorney expert that answers bankruptcy questions is located in Florida so i asked him your question. Here is what he had to say.

Dear Bill,

You can sue a ham sandwich if you want. But it doesn’t mean the plaintiff will win.

So yes, Household can sue. Whether the lawsuit is valid, or whether you have affirmative defenses, are completely different issues.

Your son needs to vigorously defend the lawsuit. He may even have a potential FDCPA claim against Household.

He should seek an attorney immediately. Almost all consumer attorneys have a free consultation.

Your son is the one who needs to speak with an attorney. Right away.

Lewis Roberts
Lewis Roberts, PA
Attorneys at Law
785 W Granada Blvd #5
Ormond Beach, FL 32174
(386) 677-9450
(888) 897-3750 Fax

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


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