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TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4430
Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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We received judgement from our county court without being summoned

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We received judgement from our county court without being summoned or invited to present our case. I though we legally have 14 days to respond but we had nothing to respond to - we just got erroneous judgement without having chance to be heard (e.g. we believe by mistake). We wrote to the court about it and waiting to get invited to present, but mean time collection agency keeps calling per this judgement. We're sure judge will request hearing (whatever outcome will be) but it may take time. How can we prevent collection agency from harassing us while we're waiting? Nothing we say/do seem to matter to them, only erroneous judgement we're trying to vacate. Any advise what to respond next time collectors call or try to act?
Thank you for your question and I'm sorry to hear about your situation.
The procedure in this situation is to file a written Motion to Vacate and explain that you were never served with the Complaint and were never notified of the trial date and would like the opportunity for a fair trial.
In regard to the debt collector, what are they doing exactly?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for the advise. They so far called 3 times and ask if we want a payment plan or pay in full, and if we won't do either "soon" talk to our attorneys about what they are capable of doing in this situation. We explained that the judgement is wrong and we requested a new one after being present, but to them judgement (erroneous or not) is permission to act upon. They did not do anything yet, but warned they are going to act unless we pay (which we believe we don't have to). I feel they don't believe we have requested valid judgement and think we're trying to drag our feet. We will mail them a copy of what we sent to judge, but they may question if we sent to judge anything and just trying to play games and delay. Indeed they have no way of knowing if we did what we said we did (e.g. mailed to our court very next day after receiving this judgement).
At this point, what you need to tell them is simply that you are moving the court to vacate the judgment because they did not serve you with the lawsuit properly and acted fraudulently with the court, for which you will be asking for sanctions. Also, they do not have permission to contact you any further by phone and that they need to do all further communication in writing. Tell them you want their address or fax number and you will send them a letter confirming that they are not allowed to contact you by phone because you are absolutely refusing to pay the debt. Finally, tell them that if they contact you further by phone or attempt to further act fraudulently towards the court in this attempt to collect a debt you do not owe, you will counter-sue for violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Here is a link to a form Motion to Vacate you need to file with the Court ASAP.
You also need to call the court and ask for a hearing date on the Motion to Vacate once you have filed it.
Please let me know if you have any further questions. Please also kindly consider rating my answer positively so that I am compensated by the website for my work on your question. Rating does not cause an additional charge and will not prevent us from further discussing your questions.
Best Regards,
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
We will do as you suggested. My only problem is no matter what we say, their position is if judgement (right or wrong) was issued, it automatically gives them right to collect NOW, regardless if we submitted anything to the court. That's between us and court (e.g. not their concern), but collection is between us and THEM (e.g. no longer has anything to do with court - "final decision has been made". Thank you in advance for good answer to this! I'll rate the service after receiving reply from you. So far I am very satisfied with your expertise.
They are correct in that they have a judgment and can act on it now.
The only thing you can do to stop that is to request a Motion to Stay the Judgment along with your Motion to Vacate the Judgment, asking that the Court issue an order Staying the Execution of the Judgment until it has decided the Motion to Vacate.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Request motion from the court and copy to the collection agency? Will they (do they have to) respect that notification and leave me alone by law until judge decides anything?
If the judge grants the Motion to Stay Execution of the Judgment, then you get a copy of the signed order granting the motion and send it to the collection agency. Only then are they going to not move to collect on the judgment.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

OK thank you. Just granting may take a month but they may try something nasty next week. Is it legal? This is my last comment, I don't want to abuse your time. Please respond! xx

No worries xx, this is what I'm here for! It may take a while to get the motion to stay heard. You can request an emergency hearing on the Motion to Stay. This will require you asking the court clerk whether they can do such a thing and telling them it is an emergency because the collection agency is trying to collect on the judgment which you are moving to vacate and if they do you will be "irreparably harmed". What the collection agency is doing is legal. They have a judgment and can legally act to collect on the judgment.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Good to know about emergency procedure. Thank you for help!
Your welcome. Please remember to rate!
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