Thinking About Enrolling at Virginia College? DON’T! Usually I’m pretty upbeat about my law practice. I get to represent real people with real world problems. I don’t have billing hour requirements. My clients are always very grateful for my work. I set my own hours and take or turn down […]
The Alabama Supreme Court Hates Working People and Loves Big Corporations. Here’s Yet Another Example. On June 26, 2015, the Alabama Supreme Court issued a decision in the case of American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida v. Gladys Tellis. Now, for those of us who have been living for a while […]
January 18, 1995: JUSTICE THOMAS, with whom JUSTICE SCALIA joins, dissenting. I disagree with the majority at the threshold of this case, and so I do not reach the question that it decides. In my view, the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) does not apply in state courts. I respectfully dissent. […]
The U.S. House of Representatives Recently Passed a Bill to Help Large Financial Institutions Get Away with Ripping Off Their Customers. It’s called the “Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act,” and its current bill number is H.R.5485. Why does it matter? A little backstory is needed. Back in 2009, before people had […]
I love my job. Sure, I don’t get the huge payouts of the personal injury lawyers, or the television snippets of the criminal defense bar, or the posh offices and guaranteed salary of the corporate lawyers. But I get something a lot of lawyers don’t: I get to ask for […]
“False Advertising” happens all the time. What Can You Do About It? Scenario 1: You open the mailbox. Tucked in with all the junk mail you see a great offer: a discount on something you’ve been wanting for months, available only for a limited time. You go to the store to buy […]
If you have had a vehicle repossessed recently and the repo man or towing company refuses to let you access your vehicle, they have to give you your property back. This means they must either mail it to you or give you a chance to come and get it. But […]
Default Judgment Vacated for Fraud & Misrepresentation
This case was a particularly important one, in my opinion. I’ve written before about cases where I was able to reverse a default judgment after it had been entered because the Defendant was never served with the complaint. That is by far the most common way to reverse a default. But not the only way.
My client bought a car in 2007. It had a 24% APR and she reliably made her payments for about four years. Then the car broke down and since it was sold to her “AS IS – No Warranty,” she had to pay for the repairs out of pocket. The repairs would have cost $4,000. The car wasn’t even worth that much. So she gave it back to the finance company – Credit Acceptance Corp.
Three years go by. She gets sued by Credit Acceptance – they say the balance on the loan is $11,071.61. She calls the collection lawyer to try and make payment arrangements, but they wouldn’t accept any offer she could afford.
So she didn’t answer within the 30 days allowed by Alabama law. Credit Acceptance moves for a default judgment. They knew that they were in the superior position – my client hadn’t defended herself, so they were going to get a judgment without having to really prove their case. That’s how default judgments work.
But when the judgment was entered, it was not for the $11,071 she’d been sued for, but for over $19,000! How? They had asked for interest at 24% APR beginning January 1, 2012.
But the car hadn’t even been sold at a post-repo auction until July 2013! You can’t calculate a deficiency balance until you have sold the car. It just isn’t possible.
So how did a judgment get entered that was so obviously wrong? Because Credit Acceptance had one of their employees file a false affidavit with the court. Their affidavit stated that the amount owed on New Year’s Day 2012 was $11,071.61, when in fact that was the highest amount the debt could have been in July of 2013! So that is 19 months of interest (at 24% interest!) that they had no right to claim, yet in a sworn affidavit, they were seeking. In other words, Credit Acceptance blatantly lied to the court to try to steal over $4,200 from my client.
I filed a motion to set this judgment aside, and it was granted. Even the collection lawyer, to his credit, realized that something was way off with the affidavit.
Freedom Debt Relief Credit Counseling Customer Stuck with Big Judgment in Alabama Credit Card Lawsuit Freedom Debt Relief advertises itself as a way to avoid Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy by negotiating discounted debt settlements for people with lots of credit cards, medical bills, personal loans, or other unsecured […]