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Ask Dave Kennett Your Own Question
Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett, Lawyer (JD)
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 27689
Experience:  25 years experience in general law, including real estate, criminal, traffic, and domestic relations
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I have a debt attorney attorney that is trying to collect on

Customer Question

I have a debt attorney attorney that is trying to collect on an old credit card I had when I was 20/21 yrs old. He had a defualt judgement against me, I just had a motion to file an nswer against it since I was never served the proper papers and that was back in 2005. He is still trying to pursue colling this debt. Now I need too go to a case managment conference. I think I need to get a debt defense attorney. Only problem is I am not working and I have no income coming in at the moment so which pretty much means I m broke. I really think I need some help on this matter.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 6 years ago.
HiCustomer Thank you for asking your question on JustAnswer. The other Experts and I are working on your answer. By the way, it would help us to know:

-Do you have a legal defense to the claim? (in other words, is there some reason why you don't owe the money?)

Thank you again for trusting us with your problem. Please reply as soon as possible so that we can finish answering your question.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
well it was so long ago when I was young, about 20/21 yrs old.I totally forgot about it. Appearently this person purchased the account. they have a history of shady practices and has done alot to people. I have did some research online about them. I hve talked to the original creditor and they dont even know who they are that I am talking about. They got issued a default judgement against me on 2005 when I moved and I never even received the papers to properly defend myself. so I just recently got a hearing to defend myself and I just filed my answer But now I got this letter Notice of case management for august 8th. I have no income right now I am going back to school and I have alot of other issues going on right now. I need to have surgery done on my ankle and i am trying to deal with this. I know I have certain rights and what not but this is really getting to me.
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 6 years ago.
I have to be away for a couple hours and want to give you a detailed response so if you will be patient I will get back to you later this evening. Hopefully that is OK.
Dave Kennett and 6 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
that is fine no problem. I am trying to find out if there are any free debt legal services that I can use. as I have stated I can not afford too hire an ttorney right now. so any help would be appreciated. As I have stated I am in Massachusetts. thanks
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 6 years ago.

Dear JACUSTOMER - It is doubtful you will find any pro bono or free attorneys to assist you in this situation. There are so many people needing legal help for cases that can be won and these debt cases are usually not among them. The problem is that most of the time the debts are valid and there is little an attorney can do to actually win the case in court. That doesn't mean you don't have some options but most of them are things you can do without an attorney unless it is bankruptcy.

In your case there is already a judgment which makes it even more difficult since there is no case to go to trial on because the case was already won by default in the beginning because you failed to respond to the initial complaint. So now your only option is to get the judgment vacated and start over.

In order to be successful with a motion to vacate you to show two essential things. One is that there was a reasonable excuse as to why you didn't respond to the initial complaint and two that you have a viable defense to the cause of action, in other words some reason why you don't owe the debt. That is what the court will want to know at your upcoming hearing.

There is an additional problem in your case in that it has been more than a year since the judgment was filed an only in very rare instances are judgments vacated after a year. So it is not likely you are going to get the court to vacate this judgment. That leaves you with trying to get the matter settled or resolved in some other way.

You said you have no regular income so you would not have wages subject to garnishment and that would leave the creditor to have to try to attach any assets you may have such as a bank account.

No one can do anything to you for not paying such as jail or fines since this is a civil matter. The easiest way to get rid of debt is to file a bankruptcy and get all of your debts discharged. With the exception of taxes and student loans and a few other types of debt virtually all debt can be removed in a bankruptcy. The other option is to try to settle the debt for a lesser amount or to make payments.

Hiring an attorney for anything but a bankruptcy is really a waste of money and this is why most attorneys don't even bother to take cases of this type unless there is a valid defense or there is a client who doesn't mind spending big bucks to fight the case.

So when you go to court you will need to demonstrate that there was a good reason you never responded to the suit and that you have some defense if the court will agree to vacate the judgment. The reason for that is that the plaintiff would simply be able to get another judgment and you would be back where you started.

I hope this puts things into perspective. I cannot actually represent clients from this website as we are here for general information purposes.