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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
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Experience:  Lawyer
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how to fight debt collecting firm Pressler & Pressler in court

Resolved Question:

how to fight debt collecting firm Pressler & Pressler in court after a judge awarded them a judgment against me for failing to answer interrogatories.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 5 years ago.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

The option here is to file a Motion to Vacate the Judgment. But, to do that, you'll have to show why the judgment should not have been entered. That means giving a good reason for failing to answer the interrogatories - and if the judge actually ordered you to respond before entering the judgment, that's going to be very difficult. Generally, to get a judgment vacated, you have to show some sort of mistake or "excusable neglect." That may be your best option here. You will also probably have to show some sort of valid defense to the action. Keep in mind that inability to pay is not considered a defense.

The thing is, the rules of discovery are there to help cases flow more smoothly. A party can't simply ignore them. If you believe discovery is being used to bully or intimidate you, to waste time, or for some other improper purpose, your recourse is to object or to file a motion for a protective order asking the judge to rule that you don't have to answer. You're not allowed to just ignore them. So, one of the arguments that you'd have to make is that, as a pro se party, you were unaware that you had to respond, even in this situation, and then ask the judge to take pity on you. Remind the judge that there is a public policy in favor of deciding cases on the merits, and not on technicalities.

You can also file a Notice of Appeal. To win on appeal, you have to show that the judge abused his discretion by entering judgment against you. Unfortunately, the judge has so much discretion over discovery disputes that you may not be able to show that, depending on the facts. So, without more information, it doesn't sound like you would be able to prevail on appeal.

I understand that you may be disappointed by this Answer, as it is not entirely favorable to your situation. However, it would be unfair to you and unprofessional of me were I to provide you with anything less than truthful and honest information. I hope you understand.

Good luck.
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