California Judgment Attorney
If you are a California consumer with a money judgment against you, you should know that:
Judgments Can Be Overturned
Judgments Can Be Settled For Less Than 100%
Judgments Can Be Resolved Without Filing Bankruptcy
Featured Case Results
- June 4, 2021: A Judgment against our client in the amount of $224,182.00 was settled for $45,000.00! Saving our client 79%!! (Fleishman, Fisher & Moest – Jacob J Stettin v. Client. Case #SC0428XX)
- June 3, 2021: A Judgment against our client in the amount of $98,258.00 was settled for $10,000.00! Saving our client 89%! (University of San Francisco – Law Office of Steven A. Booska v. Client. Case #SCV-2419XX)
- January 5, 2021: A renewal of Judgment against our client in the amount of $14,491.25 was deemed unenforceable as the 10 year expiration date had passed. The court ruled in favor of our client and the renewal was vacated! Saving our client 100%! (Midland Funding, LLC v. Client. Case #37-2009-000847XX-CL-CL-CTL – San Diego County)
- December 18, 2020: A Judgment against our client in the amount of $5,385.00 was settled for $2,500.00! Saving our client over 53%! (Gaia Finance, LLC, DBA Advance Financial v. Client. Case #MSL20-011XX – Contra Costa County)
- December 18, 2020: A Judgment against our client in the amount of $42,076.00 was settled for $19,000.00! Saving our client over 54%! (Asset Acceptance LLC v. Client. Case #56-2012-004213XX-CL-CL-VTA – Ventura County)
DISCLAIMER: Every case is different. Results depend on the unique law and facts of each case. Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC makes no guarantees or warranties about the outcome of any particular matter or case. The Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC website, or the information contained within the website, should be construed as ATTORNEY ADVERTISING.
There Are Only 3 Ways to Get Rid of a Judgment
- Motion to Vacate (Set Aside the judgment)
- Settle it (give them money in exchange for a Satisfaction of Judgment)
- File bankruptcy
Which Should You Do?
Timing is a big part of this decision – DO NOT DELAY!
Motion to Vacate (or “set aside”) a judgment
If a judgment is entered against you without proper notice to you, you can ask the court to “set it aside” and allow you to defend the case. This requires a court order and a hearing in front of a judge. This is not a simple thing to do and really requires an experienced attorney who has done it before. At Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC we have done thousands of these motions. We know what judges are looking for and most times our clients are not required to be in court. If the judgment is vacated, will then be allowed to litigate the case and will have a far better chance of resolving the case to your satisfaction.
Timing in attacking the judgment is usually the biggest problem: The first thing we do is determine if the judgment is defective and can be overturned. Even if all you want to do is settle the judgment, you will get a far better settlement once the judgment is “set aside”. Even just the threat of a Motion to Vacate by a respected attorney who has done it many many times will get you a better settlement.
Once you become aware of a judgment that you contend is defective, you generally only have 6 months to make the motion. After that, most judge’s will not grant your motion- EVEN IF EVERYONEAGREES YOU WERE NOT SERVED PROPERLY! EVEN IF YOU DO NOT OWE IT! Do not ignore this “6-month rule”.
IN ADDITION TO THAT:
If your judgment is more than 2 years old, you will need to establish that you have a defense to the case, that is, that you don’t owe it! So, if you do owe it but you were not served correctly, THE
JUDGMENT WILL STILL STAND!
You should also remember that if you win the Motion to Vacate, THE CASE IS NOT OVER (unless you are vacating a renewed judgment). This is important if you do in fact owe the money because you can win the “battle” of the Motion to Vacate but lose the “war” of the lawsuit anyway. This is why we sometimes recommend settlement because ultimately you may pay them anyway. It does not make sense to pay your lawyer to make a motion to vacate when you are just going to settle the case afterwards. At Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC, our goal is to get you out of debt for the least cost possible. That includes our fee and any settlement you may pay. If the case can be won or the settlement reduced by making the motion, do so!
Point is, get good strong legal advice and remember the end game: pay as little as possible to everyone!
Timing in attacking the judgment: The first thing we do is determine if the judgment is defective and can be overturned. Even if all you want to do is settle the judgment, you will get a far better settlement once the judgment is “set aside”. Depending on the facts of your case, you may only have 6 months or 2 years in which to file a Motion to vacate the judgment.
Timing in protecting your assets: If the judgment stands and cannot be overturned, the next analysis is: do you have anything that can be attacked? If so, we will advise you on how to best protect yourself from bank levies, wage garnishments, property liens and seizures.
Timing in making Claims of Exemption: The time periods to file a claim of exemption is very short. Failure to timely file your claim can forever bar you from going to the court and asking for relief from the garnishment or levy.
Settlement (Satisfaction of Judgment)
When you settle a judgment, what you must get in return is a filed “Satisfaction of Judgment”. This is a particular court form that must be filed in the courthouse. It MUST be filed by the judgment creditor (debtors cannot file it)
Judgments can be “satisfied” by paying less than the full amount, but you must have the judgment creditor’s agreement (which should always be in writing). Creditors are notorious for going back on their word, not wanting written settlement agreements, and even failing to file the Satisfaction of Judgment when required. The last thing you want to have happen is think you have a settlement, make all the payments, only to discover the judgment creditor says you must pay more.
Although there are many factors that go into what a judgment will settle for, there are 3 main factors:
- Who they are: Are they a bank? A Debt Buyer? A hospital? A former business partner?
- Who YOU are financially? For example, a retired person living in a nursing home on social security will get a better settlement than a person with a million dollar home who makes $200K per year.
- How quickly will they get paid? A single lump sum payment will be a better settlement than a payment plan over 5 years.
Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC can get your judgment satisfied for less than full balance 98% of the time, will get a proper settlement agreement, and will make the creditors file all necessary documentation to ensure the judgment is closed.
The successful completion of a bankruptcy filing will eliminate most judgments. Judgments for fraud, elder abuse, and student loans are some of the exceptions. A bankruptcy filing will also place a “Stay” on all wage garnishments, levies and other judgment enforcement actions. Many times, this is the fastest and least expensive way to get rid of a judgment. Naturally you must qualify for bankruptcy and there are other ramifications to filing a bankruptcy.
It is also important to note that discharging a judgment in a bankruptcy does not automatically discharge or remove and judgment liens filed against your real estate. A judgment lien is a separate legal instrument and is “secured” when recorded against real estate. Therefore, most judgment liens will need to be settled, even after a bankruptcy!
What’s the First Step?
CALL US! At no cost to you, you can speak to an experienced attorney who can take you through all your options. It takes hard work and know how to resolve judgments for less than 100%, but it can be done. Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC settles judgments on behalf of satisfied clients nearly every day.
If you have a judgment and don’t know where to turn, contact us right away, even if you are being garnished or levied. Get the FREE ADVICE!. Get the protection and experience you need and deserve. You may be surprised how easy and affordable it is to get knowledgeable and experienced attorneys working for you.
10 Reasons to have Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC handle your Judgment
- As a client of Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC you have access to some of the most experienced lawyers when it comes to protecting consumers from judgments.
- We provide immediate answers to questions like: Can I close my bank account? Must I appear in court? Do I have to tell them where I work? And many more.
- You won’t have to speak to collectors and their lawyers anymore! We take that over for you.
- We know what to look for in determining if a judgment is defective.
- We know how to win Motions to Vacate.
- We know how to best present your case to the judgment creditor to get reductions.
- We know how to make sure exempt money such as social security benefits (and many other types) is not taken from you.
- We know how to make sure that once you make any payment, you are getting credit for everything you have paid and that the judgment will be deemed “Satisfied”.
- We are highly motivated and work tirelessly to get you the best deal possible.
- We are affordable, prompt, and most importantly, WE CARE about you.
Schedule your free consultation:
One of our Case Analysts will get in touch with you to schedule your consultation.