American General Sued Us and Now Wants to Garnish Our Wages. – Vicki

“Dear Lewis,

We were sued by American General after becoming 2 payments behind. Our biggest problem at the time was New Leaf Debt, that ended up with $5,800 plus. They sent us an email stating to avoid any communication with our creditors.

The attorney for American General told us there was no reason for either of us to attend the last hearing date. I arrived anyway on November 8, along with my hardship letter, budget, previous year tax papers and receipts showing our pharmaceutical and medical expenses. I took the stairs and met American General’s attorney coming down the stairs. She was surprised when she saw me and asked what I was doing there; reminding me she had told us neither one of us needed to come that day.

She said since she thought we weren’t coming she had already went before the judge, adding that it wouldn’t make a difference anyway that I had showed up. I asked her what the payment arrangements were and she replied that I needed to call this woman from her office building and set up arrangements with her. She wrote the woman’s name on a copy of the judgment paper (not signed) under the firm’s name, address and phone number where she works.

When I called the woman, Jodi, concerning payment arrangements, she told me she would talk with American General and get back to me, although it could take a couple of weeks. After not hearing from her, I started calling and when I did finally reach her, she said American General had already decided to garnish Dennis’ wages.

We did not know a request had even been filed, because those papers were sent to 502 Lakeshore Drive, last known address (that’s what they said), when all the prior papers were sent to our actual address at 602 Lakeshore Drive. The only reason we found this out was through copies of the court records.

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Is there anything we can do about the American General attorney telling the judge we were not appearing? Most important, is there any way to get the wage garnishment dismissed and taken off our credit record. Would there be any reason to pay the other creditors we are working with since the garnishment would be on our record for 7 years. Would bankruptcy hurt our credit more?
Does it help that the wage garnishment papers were sent to the wrong address? We live in Illinois



Dear Vicki,

You need to see a consumer attorney right away. You may have a reason to reopen the state court lawsuit/garnishment. A motion to reconsider listing all the information you stated that the other side’s attorney told you not to appear, served the wrong address, etc.

I strongly recommend you speak to an attorney right away before you make decisions about bankruptcy. There are not enough facts to determine whether bankruptcy may or may not help you with regards to this debt, or all your debts.

You have some strong reasons why a judge might want to hear about what could be considered improper conduct by American General’s attorney.

My name is Lewis Roberts and I’m an attorney licensed in Florida and Georgia. My practice focus is consumer bankruptcy, real estate issues/closings, and mortgages. I also have Florida real estate broker and mortgage broker licenses. I am a proud member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA), National Association of Consumer Attorneys (NACA), and a graduate of Max Gardner’s Bankruptcy Boot Camp. I enjoy helping people with decisions that impact their financial well-being.

Legal Disclaimer: This is for educational purposes only. It is not to be relied upon as legal advice. It also does not create an attorney-client relationship. No such relationship is formed with attorney without a written agreement.

If you have a bankruptcy question you’d like to ask just use the online form.

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2 thoughts on “American General Sued Us and Now Wants to Garnish Our Wages. – Vicki”

  1. You advised me to consult with a consumer attorney. I’ve tried, although consumer attorneys in this area are scarce, and, so far, cannot find one willing to help, at least none close enough not to cost me a fortune.

    I’m wondering if I should file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. We are willing to pay American General, but need the garnishment taken off our record, otherwise bankruptcy might be the best option. We feel an attorney, such a the one representing American General, should not be allowed to take advantage of anyone else that is in the same situation. We deserve a fair trial. Where do we go from here?


    • Dear Vicki,

      If you feel you have been wronged by the creditor’s attorney, then your complaint should be taken to the Illinois State Bar.  That is the body that governs attorneys for the state.

      As to the garnishment, either bankruptcy or asking to reopen the state court case are your best options.  Talking with the creditor’s attorney will be a dead end.


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