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Alex J. Esq.
Alex J. Esq., Attorney at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12754
Experience:  Experienced Licensed Attorney
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If you were served with a small claims papers and a notice

Resolved Question:

If you we're served with a small claims papers and a notice for a court date was set and no further action was taken by the other party to have you appear except that they say it was put in the mail and the court date was missed and a final judgement was entered without further action, is there an appeal to the final judgement or rule to that states once originally served I should call the courts and keep up with the suit? The lawyer to the other part states that he only had to make me aware of the original filing?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Alex J. Esq. replied 9 months ago.
Hello. My name isXXXXX am a Florida licensed attorney and I will be happy to answer your question.

I am sorry to hear about this unfortunate situation.

Were you served with the original complaint and did this complaint state the court date?

Who sued you and for what?

What is the final amount of the default judgment?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I was "served" with the court papers stating that a claim had been filed, after that I received no further information. Later, in the mail, that I missed the court date and a final judgment had been ordered. I will try to be brief.
A "friend" lent me some money, we signed a receipt stating that we were to make an agreement for payments at a later date. We had a dispute on another situation, I need help on. We attempted on several occasions to try to come to an agreement and give him money. He refused, the money due to the second arrangement we had, therefore, an agreement or contract was never entered. Only a receipt that an agreement was to be made. This is why I truly wanted to go to court, because he sued me for a broken contract that was never initiated.
Expert:  Alex J. Esq. replied 9 months ago.
Dear XXXXX,

Thank you for your follow up.

How much is the judgment for?

Do you owe this friend any money?

Did you contact the court, after being served with the copy of the complaint?

Did the court clerk advised you that a notice of court hearing was mailed to you?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
The original loan was $4000 and I was charged with over $1500 attorney fees plus court costs to near $6000 total.

I contacted the clerk of courts and they told me I would be receiving information on any court dates in the mail.

The clerk of courts thought it was a little suspicious that they would not initiate "served" Papers with a court date.

The attorney states as long as I was originally served with papers that a suit had Been filed, there is no law that states I needed to be "served" with a court date. As far as he was concerned, he mailed me a copy to the originating address, that he doesn't understand why I didn't receive it was not his problem. No rules had been broken, that was something I needed to keep up with on my own.
As I explained, was I supposed to call the court every day? How was I supposed to know when court was? The judge and the attorney both agreed that no rules had been broken, that was not his job to make me aware of a court date. My appeal to the judge for another court date, as to why I originally missed the first one was denied, therefore, the final judgment stood.
Expert:  Alex J. Esq. replied 9 months ago.
Dear XXXXX,

Thank you for your follow up.

Unfortunately, the court is correct.

As long as, you were personally served with a copy of the initial complaint, the attorney for the person who sued you, only has to mail a notice of hearing and as long as this attorney or court clerk can testify under oath that such notice of hearing was put in the mail through regular mail, the judgment would generally stand.

While you can appeal this decision to the circuit court, the law is pretty clear on this and unfortunately it is unlikely that the circuit court would reverse the small claims decision or would set aside this judgment.

So basically, in a situation similar to this, the only option that remain for a judgment debtor (the person against whom the judgment is issued), is either to negotiate some type of a settlement with the judgment creditor for a reduced amount or to declare chapter 7 bankruptcy to discharge this judgment (providing the judgment creditor is eligible and legally would benefit from declaring bankruptcy and the person should always consult with a local bankruptcy attorney to evaluate the situation, before considering filing for bankruptcy).

I am sorry to deliver this tough news to you, but please understand that I have no way of changing the law to make it more favorable to the customer's situation and I do have professional obligation to provide each JustAnswer.com customer with correct answer, even when the answer is not favorable to the customer.

I wish you the best of luck!
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
This is the second part to this whole problem we had purchased a vehicle from the same person. We have made all payments. He states that we owe him one . I'm willing to give it to him, even though we do not own him and we have receipts. He has refused to give us the title to this truck because he states one payment is due, but now because of the judgment what happens with the title to the vehicle? He has not released it to us. Would it fall under this judgement Where we cannot sell it because we would have to pay him for it ? He owed it to us before this judgment.
Expert:  Alex J. Esq. replied 9 months ago.
Dear XXXXX,

Thank you for your follow up.

The judgment creditor will be able to levy your personal vehicle, garnish your wages and/or bank accounts, place a lien on any of your real estate property, etc...in order to enforce this judgment, until the full amount of the judgment is paid in full.

If there is a dispute over a vehicle or its title / payments, then it is something that would have to be addressed through the court by filing another separate case (providing the dispute over the vehicle payments is not related to the small claims lawsuit where this person was awarded a judgment).

I am sorry about your unfortunate situation and I do wish you the best of luck!
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I apologize but I did not understand. It has nothing to do with the other claim only that the same person sold me the vehicle. So, if I fight him for the title will he be allowed to recover money if I sold this vehicle at a later date.
Expert:  Alex J. Esq. replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for your follow up.

If there is a dispute over a title to a vehicle or a car loan amount that is not related to the past claim where the judgment was issued, then you can file a separate lawsuit and the court will make a decision in that case based on the facts, evidence and testimony from both sides.

However, even if you win the lawsuit, any judgment that is issued to you for the value of the vehicle, would be offset / reduced by the amount of the judgment that this person has currently against you.

I wish you the best of luck!
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thank you
Expert:  Alex J. Esq. replied 9 months ago.
I wish you the best of luck.

Please click on the "Excellent Service" feedback, so I can receive credit for my answer.

Bonus and positive feedback are always appreciated, but are not required
Alex J. Esq., Attorney at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12754
Experience: Experienced Licensed Attorney
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