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Deadlines Part 1: Race Against the Clock: Initial Lawsuits

By Law Office of Abel L. Pierre, Attorney at Law, P.C.

Deadlines are a part of our everyday lives. We are constantly running to make sure that we get our tasks completed prior to the expiration of a deadline, whether it is at home or at work. It is equally important to understand the importance of beating deadlines when trying to undo the damage that is done by a default civil court judgment. Whether the judgment stems from a credit card, collection agency or medical debt, you must understand how the different deadlines operate in order to make sure that you do have to deal with a default judgment. In this series of blogs we will examine and dissect each deadline and how it affects you.

In this blog we will take a look at the first step of the lawsuit. In most states, the first step towards getting a judgment starts with filing of the initial lawsuit. Once this happens, the collection agency or lawyer will immediately send the lawsuit out to a process server. The collection agency has a limited amount of time to serve you with the papers.

Your deadline to respond varies depending on how you were served. In New York, your deadline to prevent a default judgment is 20 days if you were served by hand or 30 days if served any other way. Technically if you were not properly served then your deadline has not started to run, however the collection agencies will almost always file an affidavit stating that you were properly served. This is important because once the deadline for you to answer expires you may be declared to be in default by the court and the collection lawyer can waltz into court a obtain a judgment. In some cases they need not even see the judge the clerk will enter a judgment based simply on the fact that you never responded to the lawsuit.

Once this happens all kinds of things can happen, your bank account can be froze, your paycheck can be levied and all kinds of other things. However there are deadlines which apply to these events also. We will explore them in future blogs.

If you have a judgment, call the Law Office of Abel L. Pierre, Attorney at Law, P.C. or email us to obtain expert advice regarding resolving these