Collection Lawsuits and Judgments: The Best Strategies to Defend Yourself

  The strategies we use to help our clients who are being sued or who don’t want to file bankruptcy

 1. Lawsuit defense -  Over 90% of the consumers who are sued by debt collectors just ignore the lawsuit papers they receive. Why? I can’t say for sure, but I think that  there are three main reasons: (1) they don’t really understand what will happen if the creditor gets a judgment against them, (2) they think that hiring a lawyer is too  expensive, or (3) they are just overwhelmed with their debt situation and just sort of hope that it will go away on its own.  Whether you are being sued for a credit card,  repossession, medical bill, or any other debt, you have the right to defend the lawsuit. Even if you legitimately owe the money, there are probably still good defenses you  can raise, and just filing an answer to the lawsuit will give you greater negotiating power with the creditor.

2. Negotiating a payment plan –  Even if you are being sued by your creditor, it’s probably not too late to work out a payment arrangement, but you will most likely get  a much better result if you are represented by a competent attorney. If you try to call the creditor’s attorney yourself, chances are you will have to deal with some nasty  debt collector on the other end. It is very unlikely you will actually get through to an attorney. If you hire us, we can deal directly with the attorney handling the case against  you, and we can set up a payment arrangement in which the creditor promises not to take a judgment against you.  If the creditor already has a judgment, we can often settle the claim in a way that prevents the enforcement of the judgment through wage garnishment or bank account restraint.

3. Debt settlement – Nothing makes me angrier than the television commercials, direct mailings, and other scams out there promising to settle your debts for “pennies on  the dollar.” In fact, did you know that is actually illegal in New York for anyone other than an attorney to charge you a fee up front for debt settlement?  The statistics show  that only 5% of the people who enroll in debt settlement programs actually have all their debts settled, and yet every month I talk to dozens of local people who have been  sucked into these debt settlement programs, sometimes paying thousands of dollars into the program until they finally call me for real help. Anyone who tells you that they  can guarantee a creditor will settle a debt for 50% on the dollar is lying to you. Sometimes creditors will settle for this percentage (maybe even lower), but each creditor has  its own criteria, and you need to approach the creditor in the smartest way possible to get the best deal. We are confident that we get better results for our clients than any  other local attorney.  

4. Suing abusive debt collectors – Collection agents and attorneys have to follow strict federal rules when they try to collect a debt against you. They can’t call you all hours  of the day, they can’t harass you at work, and they can’t threaten to take certain actions against you (like having you arrested) for not paying a bill. However, many debt  collectors violate these federal laws every day. This just isn’t right. We have an attorney in our office whose main practice is suing abusive debt collectors, and it doesn’t  cost you a dime to pursue a federal claim unless you win.

13 Responses to Collection Lawsuits and Judgments: The Best Strategies to Defend Yourself

  1. Anonymous says:

    is it legal in new york to restrain a bank account that is held jointly,if only 1 of the owners has a court order against them?

    • Peter says:

      The bank account can be restrained but the money cannot be removed until there is a court hearing to determine whose money is actually in the account. If it can be shown that the money is all property of the other account owner, then the court will order the release of the restraint. A bank account can never be lawfully restrained if there is direct deposit of wages or other exempt income and the account balance is less than $2,500

      • Thomas says:


        You sent a letter dated 1/7/13 to my daughter about a judgment she received. We believe the debt was setled at the time 5 to 6 years age when she lived in the apartment. Not sure if we should fight it or not — did not retain much documentation from then and the major issue at hand is;

        My wife co-signed and our join checking account (direct deposited ) is frozzen and I cannot pay my bills !!!!

        Please advise what action i can take to resulve this issue —- If this is not worth fighting I will pay the debt off?

  2. robert says:

    can a judgrment be placed against your house after a chaper 7 bankrupt?

    • Peter says:

      If a judgment is taken against you after your bankruptcy for a debt that was listed in your bankruptcy petition, this is a serious violation of your bankruptcy rights. You should contact our office so we can help you fix this.

    • Peter says:


      Not it if the judgment is for a debt included in your bankruptcy and the creditor received actual notice. If the judgment is taken illegally, the creditor is subject to contempt proceedings in bankruptcy court and maybe other legal actions.


  3. Daniel says:

    To whom it may concern,
    I am writing in regards to a judgement that was placed against me back in December due to backpay from a rental matter it has been dealt with in town court and I have since then been evicted from where I had been currently residing for 4 years and have no longer been living there since then.I would like to set up and arrange some kind of payment option with your law firm to resolve and take care of this judgement against me as soon as possible so that both parties myself and the creditor I owe so that things may be resolved in a timely and good manner thank you.

  4. Melissa says:

    If there are judgements against you and there are 2 seperate accounts (one solely in my name and another as joint), can both accounts be put on hold? What happens if the garnishing of wages goes into effect BEFORE the filing of Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

  5. Stan says:

    I have a judgement that was filed in 1999, in NY State. How much longer do I need to pay on it?

  6. Cynthia says:

    I just received a letter from your firm informing me that a judgement had recently been entered against me from a bill collector in the amount of $11,539.55. I was not aware of the judgement until I received your letter. I am an end-stage kidney disease patient on hemo dialysis and I pay large insurance premiums for my healthcare, plus co-pays for renal medication. I live on SSD and my ex husband gives me $1,300 a month (half of his GM pension, of which I am entitled to). As I have not filed for a QDRO, the money he gives me has not been court ordered. He just has it direct deposited into my account every month. I know that my SSD can’t be touched by a creditor but I’m wondering if my ex spouse’s contribution can be garnished? As far as I know, the debt collector is only aware of the SSD. With all my medical expenses and the cost of raising a teenage boy on my own, I am desperate to get some relief. I’m weary of the constant dunning letters and phone calls. I’ve talked to a person at the debt collection agency, and she was sympathetic with my plight. She also said she knows she cannot garnish my SSD. However, the firm has, indeed, obtained a judgement against me. Now what do I do? Thank you in advance for any advice you may have.

  7. Erin P says:

    I have called to ask for the paperwork on this for many yrs and they can not furnish them.. Now they r trying to garnish my wages I do not remember this loan nor any history of it… I would like the paper work from orig. Paper work says I need a attorney… Is this True

  8. tina says:

    what happens to time-barred debts and how do I protect myself?

    • Peter says:

      No debt is automatically time-barred. If the creditor sues you after the statute of limitations expires, you can raise that as a defense. However, if you do not raise it, the defense is waived and the creditor can take a judgment against you no mattter how old the debt is

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