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Hello, I am happy to answer your question.
I need to know a bit more information. How exactly did the 1998 judgment come up regarding the mortgage on your house? Was there a lien placed on the house? Who is requesting the payoff of $22,000, the bank regarding the mortgage or the hospital?
Also, who is holding the funds in escrow? Was this a result of the closing on the loan for the house? Am i correct that these funds were never fully released to you at the closing of the loan because of this other judgment?
Ok, so the problem here is that the bank is not obligated to give you the loan, if they feel that you are a credit risk. Even though this judgment has nothing to do with the loan, they feel that you will not be able to pay back the loan to them if you have financial trouble due to that judgment.
So, they are within their rights to hold the funds in escrow. They can even just cancel the deal if they want.
Now, whether the judgement can be renewed is a separate question. Probably not since it is so old. You can, however, always work with them and make arrangments as long as they agree in writing. You have to keep in mind that they can always enforce the original judgment if you stop paying, so you have to keep up with whatever you agree to. In the end, if you want to pay more and pay it off sooner, they should have no problem with that.
I hope this was helpful and good luck.
Ok, please see above regarding the escrow. As I explained, yes they make hold this escrow.
Regarding the statute of limitations, they are also still within their rights to collect for 20 years:
2A:14-5. 20 years; judgmentsA judgment in any court of record in this state may be revived by proper proceedings or an action at law may be commenced thereon within 20 years next after the date thereof, but not thereafter. An action may be commenced on a judgment obtained in any other state or country within 20 years next after the date thereof or within the period in which a like action might be brought thereon in that state or country, whichever period is shorter, but not thereafter.