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Collections Law/Judgement in NJ


HI, You answered my question yesterday about a cc company getting a judgement against me in a state i don't live in using my parents address from over 20 years. I live in Florida and that's where i opened the CC. Anyway, I'm getting a lot of different advice from family members. I don't know which way to go. 1. should I have it vacated in NJ because I was not properly served. Will it then start the statue of limitations back to 2007 and in Florida its 4 years to collect which means they cc company can not do anything now?
    2. I tried working out a payment plan with them and they want to much money down and to much a month. The balance was only 300 and now they want 1,000.
     3. or is it best for me to just settle on a set amount they want. I'm just afraid if i settle on an amount less than the 1,000 another collector can buy the remaining difference.

If you settle for a specific amount, there should be a written agreement that sets out the terms, including a provision that if you pay the agreed amount the remainder is waived and due no longer.

You could certainly try to get it set aside in NJ because you were not properly served.  Also, I would add that it sounds as though NJ would not have jurisdiction over you because you hadn't lived there in 20 years and the contract was entered into in FLorida.  However, there may be something in the contract which said that you submitted to jurisdiction in NJ.  You might want to look into that.  (You did say that the case was commenced in FLorida but then moved to NJ -- I wasn't sure how that could happen unless this was all in federal court.  Normally, an action cannot commence in one state court and be moved to the court of another state).

Generally, you can raise jurisdictional and service issues in the state which is being asked to recognize and enforce the judgment of another state.  So you should be able to raise the same issues in FLorida that you would raise in trying to set aside the judgment in NJ.  The advantage would be that you could wait and see if they try to pursue you in Florida (I assume that you have no assets in NJ).  But I would consult a Florida lawyer on that.  I am not a lawyer in either Florida or NJ; I am writing here about general rules of jurisdiction, service of process, and recognition and enforcement of judgments.

If you go to see a lawyer, bring whatever paperwork you have (the complaint; judgment; process service; original agreement; etc.)  You should be able to get copies of the legal documents from the NJ court that took jurisdiction and entered the judgment.  Maybe your father can help if the court is near him.

You didn't say how much is involved, but sounds relatively small (under $2000 as to the judgment, maybe.)  If so, how much effort is the collection agency really going to make to collect a NJ judgment in Florida?  If you can oppose enforcement in Florida, that would probably discourage them.  

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Michael T. Hertz


I can answer most questions concerning bankruptcy, whether business or personal, including questions by debtors, creditors, persons interested in purchasing assets from bankruptcy estates, and the like. Also have expertise in tort law, French and Canadian law.


Practiced bankruptcy for 27 years in California and taught bankruptcy for three years in Maine. This included Chapters 7, 9, 11, 12 and 13 cases, representing debtors, creditors (secured and unsecured), bankruptcy trustees, creditors committees, and persons interested in purchasing assets from bankruptcies. Debtors included persons with virtually no money up to large corporations.

Inactive member of the Bar of the State of California. Nonpracticing member of the Bar of Massachusetts. Formerly member of the Maine Bar and conseil juridique in France. Certified by National Committee on Accreditation in Canada.

Georgetown Law Review; California Bankruptcy Journal; Maine Law Review; Dalhousie Law Journal; University of Toronto Law Journal.

Harvard Law School (J.D. 1970; cum laude) and Pomona College (B.A., 1967; cum laude)

Awards and Honors
Selected as a "Superlawyer" in 2005 and 2006 for Northern California.

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