If a judgement was granted against me butI was never notified of the court proceedings, canIget the judgement dismissed?

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If a judgement was granted against me butI was never notified of the court proceedings, canIget the judgement dismissed?

My bank account was frozen due to a judgment against me. I was unaware of any judgment nor did I receive a court date. This judgement is 4 years old.  It was for a debt on a mini van that I purchased but that was a was a lemon. I don’t even have a copy of this judgement and I don’t know the percentage.

Asked on September 29, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Maryland

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The correct terminology is to have the judgement "vacated" which means that it is as if it did not exist and the court proceeding against you continues on.  Vacating a judgement is a very difficult thing.  You need to bring a Motion to vacate and in many states you need to have a good reason (not receiving the summons and complaint is a good reason) AND what is known as a meritorious defense.  That would be that if the matter proceeded you would have had a good defense (on the "merits of the case" ) to the accusations as alleged against you.  You may want to speak with an attorney for help here.  Good luck.  

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If you know the case number, you can go to the court where the case was filed, and fill out a short form with the case number, your name, etc. Give that form to the court clerk and ask to see the file.  The court clerk will show you the file which you can review at the court.  You won't be able to take the file, but you can ask the court clerk to photocopy the judgment or anything else in the file you want.  If you don't know the case number, but know in which court the case was filed, go to the court and look in the plaintiff/defendant index in the court's computer.  You can look for your name under defendant and you will be able to obtain the case number.  After obtaining the case number, as mentioned above, you can obtain the file from the court clerk.

The judgment was probably entered as a default because you didn't respond since you were unaware of the case having been filed.  You can file a motion to set aside the default with the court based on not being served with the summons and complaint.  The complaint is the lawsuit.  When you review the court file, you will see that there is no proof of service.  The proof of service establishes that you were served with the summons and complaint.  You should argue in your motion to set aside the default that there is no proof of service. 


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