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legalgems
legalgems, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 7402
Experience:  Just Answer consultant at Self employed
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My name is***** ********. Our son was renting

Customer Question

Hello,
My name is***** ******. Our son was renting a room with a lease of six months. We are now being sued for $2850.00(which is now in collections). The owner went to court without letting us know and somehow was able to win the case. The collection agency is threatning to garnish my husband's wages. How can someone go to court with a case and win without our knowledge? If anyone can help us it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Sincerely,
Mary Anne *******
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  legalgems replied 6 months ago.
What state is this in regards to?Did you co sign?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
It was in Chula Vista ca. No I did not co sign. I verbally agreed to pay the rent & utilities
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
It was in Ca. No I did not co sign anything. I verbally agreed to pay rent & utilities.
Expert:  legalgems replied 6 months ago.
Last question so I can provide comprehensive information;was the court judgment in the parent's name or the son'sis the son a dependent (18, in college, etc)?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
The court judgement was in the name Vincent Gallant. We do not know if it was against my son or husband. I am sorry but I have to run out for a while. Can you e-mail me around 2:30? Thank you.
Mary Anne Gallant
Expert:  legalgems replied 6 months ago.
I don't have access to your email as I am an individual contributor; but the site will send you an email to come back to this page.
Expert:  legalgems replied 6 months ago.
If you have questions please post them after you review my response and I will respond as soon as I see it.
Expert:  legalgems replied 6 months ago.
So a contract - whether oral or written- is legally binding so long as there are no defenses to it (ie void as against public policy; person entering the contract did not have mental capacity etc). If a parent affirms a child's debt (or any party for that manner) or in any way cosigns for a debt, then that person becomes liable on that debt should it not be paid. Normally in order for a court to have jurisdiction over a case, the defendant needs to be served.
Expert:  legalgems replied 6 months ago.
This explains how to serve someone:http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-serving.htm If the defendant is served, and does not respond, the court can enter a default judgment- basically giving the plaintiff all of the relief requested. If the service was not proper, the plaintiff can file a motion to quash service, and a motion to vacate the judgment based on the defective service. If the underlying debt is valid, that is not always the preferred method, as all that does is create additional expenses (ie serving the other person using a process server, legal fees, etc) and so if the plaintiff does prevail, the court can tack on all these extra fees so that the second judgment is actually larger.
Expert:  legalgems replied 6 months ago.
This explains landlord/tenancy law:http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/landlordbook/terminations.shtml So one would need to go to court to view the file and determine if there was a default judgment; one would also need to verify what the lawsuit was for (unpaid rent, damage to the unit, etc) If there is no legitimate debt, then one can file a motion to vacate, then if the landlord refiles suit, can present their defense. Further questions? Please post here to continue the chat. Satisfied? Kindly rate positively so I receive credit for assisting you.(no additional charges are incurred). Information provided is for educational purposes only. Consultation with a personal attorney is always recommended so your particular facts may be considered. Thank you and take care.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
we were never served with any papers or letters to inform us of the court date. I paid all 6 months of rent & utilities. I still do not know how they were able to go to court and win. There also was no damage to the room. Can anyone tell me how they could win this case? Thank you.Sincerely,
Mary Anne Gallant
Expert:  legalgems replied 6 months ago.
Yes, they likely filed the case asserting non payment of rent or damages, then served incorrectly the named party, then proceeded with a default judgment when there was no "response" filed or no "appearance" (legal terms) at the court date (which would be impossible if the person was not properly served) So that is why a motion to vacate the judgment based on invalid service would be required when a party is not properly served; if the party prevails the court may award attorney fees.
Expert:  legalgems replied 6 months ago.
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