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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 32909
Experience:  Began practicing law in 1992
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Hello: My husband & I purchased a Ford Excursion financed

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Hello:
My husband & I purchased a Ford Excursion financed thru Ford Motor Credit in 2004 while we lived in Florida. In May of 2006 we voluntarily surrendered the vehicle. In Dec. of 2006 my husband's job relocated us to Louisiana, which is where we still reside. We never heard anything from Ford Motor Credit about the surrender. Then on 9/13/2013 my husband's paycheck has garnishment for $263.00 which his payroll told him was in regard to Ford Motor Credit. We researched the public records online in Broward County, FL. & found 2 Summary Judgments against myself & my husband from Ford Motor Credit. One was recorded in 8/2007 & the other 1/2011 (this one is identical to the one from 8/2007, but has a seal.). We never were served these judgments for 2 reasons; we no longer lived in the state of Florida at the time of the judgments & the address used to serve us in Florida does not exit in Broward County. They used Yosemite St. & we lived on N.W. 21st St. We had live at the N.W. 21st St. address in FL. for over 15 yrs. before relocating to LA. Were any of rights violated during this process? What are our rights since the surrender took place 7 yrs. ago? Looking for some answers.

Thank you,
Pamela T.

Dwayne B. :

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification.

Dwayne B. :

I need you to be a little more specific in your question(s) if you could. When we answer general ones like "what are my rights" we have to give general answers and, invariably, the customer responds with "I already knew that". This type of forum works better if you ask specific questions so we know exactly what you are looking for.

Dwayne B. :

There really isn't a question of "rights" when it is a private party suing a private party.

Dwayne B. :

However, you were entitled to be notified of any lawsuit(s) against you by being served with a copy of the lawsuit.

Dwayne B. :

Usually this means personal service but if they can't find you for some reason they are allowed to ask the court to do what is known as "substituted service" which is usually by publication in a newspaper.

Dwayne B. :

If Ford Motor Credit is actually the company that sued you then they probably did everything correctly although it is not guaranteed.

Dwayne B. :

If they, instead, sold the debt to a company like Midland then there is a very, very good chance that they did not do things correctly and you can file a Motion to Vacate the Judgment.

Dwayne B. :

The statute of limitations in FL on a written contract is 5 years from the date of your last payment or the surrender of the vehicle, whichever occurred later. That means that any lawsuit would have had to have been brought within 5 years.

Dwayne B. :

Also, a paycheck in LA shouldn't be garnished from a judgment in FL unless the FL judgment was filed in the LA courts to "domesticate it". However, many of the debt collection companies get a garnishment ordered entered for the wrong state and just don't tell the employer that and the employer withholds the money.

Dwayne B. :

It looks like the Chat function may be acting up so I'm going to switch this to a regular Q and A.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The debt was not sold - Can the judgment be reversed b/c service of process had not been accomplished? As far as newspapers, since I have been living in Louisiana since Dec. 2006; before the judgments were recorded, I still would not have notified only if they used a newspaper in LA. This was not the case. Also, my husbands corp. office is out of Boston, MA. therefore he gets paid from that location. The regional office for his company is in Atlanta, GA. Do you need more info?


 


Pamela

Yes, the judgment can be vacated for lack of service. You would want to hire a lawyer there in Florida to file the motion.

No, no need for further information the law is the same in all states for this issue. The law wouldn't require them to publish the notice in every newspaper just the one in the county where you were sued.

What you need to do is contact the clerk and see if you can get a copy of whatever was filed in the case proving you were served or go ahead and get a lawyer and get them to look at the file.
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