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Thomas Swartz
Thomas Swartz, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3171
Experience:  Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
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I had a judgement against me 26 years ago. At the time I was

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I had a judgement against me 26 years ago. At the time I was in California and had no knowledge of the finding. Now after 26 years the individual that won this judgement has personally written me a letter stating they would like to get paid the $5,000 owed. Do I have any legal obligation to pay the funds? They have never kept up with judgement and only now after a quarter of a century are requesting payment.

A California civil judgment is only enforceable for a period of 10 years. This can be found in California Code of Civil Procedure § 683.020. So, at this point you have no obligation to pay. And the plaintiff will have no mechanism to enforce the judgment against you.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Sorry my error, the judgement was here in Massachusetts. All this transpired while I was in California working for a couple of years.

In Massachusetts judgments are good for 20 years. And this is found in Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 260, Section 20. So, it looks like you are still good. You have no obligation to pay a Massachusetts judgment that is 26 years old.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

One final question, should I respond to the person's letter? It was sent via standard mail. There was a ton of misinformation and her just being angry, however there is no lawyer or legal person involved at this point. Personally it is my inclination to ignore her rants and just move on.

I would just respond by mail citing the section of the Massachusetts Code I referred you to and say that the judgment is no longer enforceable. And that should make the person go away.