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Legal Item filed

Valued Contributor

Re: Legal Item filed

theshadow12345 wrote:
Hey guys and gals,
I just found out who the public record was from: Look below...

(281) XXX-XXXX 

Civil Judgment  
Court Type: 
Circuit Court 
Date Filed: 
Estimated date that this item will be removed:   02/2013


Notice the Removal Date. Now in the Collections Category, this item is scheduled to be removed by 09/08..

If this item is going to be remove on 09/08, will it remove it from the Public Section?

If answer is no, should I do a PFD?



You also have to remember judments are renewable and I don't know if Pay for delet can come into play if the courts are involved.  
Message 21 of 26
Frequent Contributor

Re: Legal Item filed

I guess my main question here is "How do I get this off my record"? Having a Judgement like this is killing my FICO score.
Any one out there with some solutions?
Thanks for your help.
As of 3/17/08 - TU 619 / EQ 666 / Ex 624
As of 4/17/08 -TU 621 / EQ 671 / Ex 626
As of 6/07/08 - TU 627/ EQ 688 / EQ 644
Message 22 of 26
Valued Member

Re: Legal Item filed

Ive got a judgment on my reports.  I'm checking with a lawyer to see if there is any way to have them removed.  Just doesn't seem right that you should be penalized for 7 years if you pay the judgement, as in my case, within 2 weeks of the judgement.
I'll let everyone know the outcome.
Message 23 of 26
Senior Contributor

Re: Legal Item filed

Message 24 of 26
New Contributor

Re: Legal Item filed

You have two different issues:  FICO score and public record.  
There's nothing you can do about the FICO score except to pay off the judgment.  While it is true that you can dispute it, as long as the judgment stands by the Court, there won't be any movement and the court will not agree to a pay for delete. 
I bet this is what happened:  You didn't pay your bill and you kept getting these letters from "lawyers" telling you that any information they collected could be used against you.  After a while, you started ignoring these letters (they weren't real lawyers anyway, right?).  You think they forgot about you.  I can tell you from experience that utility companies never forget about you.  They have plenty of in-house lawyers who do nothing but go after people who don't pay their bills -- it's the only option they have since they are prohibited by law from denying service.  (They can ask you for a big deposit the next time you need their service, but they can't deny you service.) 
So, the in-house lawyer files paper at the county court at law and says that you haven't responded, files an affidavit of your last known address, and you get one more notice sent to you.  You have probably made their job easier by moving from the "last known address" so you don't get the notice.  You probably signed some document when you first got service wherein you agreed to service by mail as opposed to service by process.  Twenty days later, the in-house lawyers stands before the judge and you're not there.  You get a judgment against you in abstentia for the amount, plus court costs, plus attorney's fees, plus interest, and the in-house lawyer promptly files an abstract of judgment with the county clerk where it is recorded in the county property records, and reports it to the credit bureau where it will stay for 10 years (even after payment and filing of a release of lien).
Because you weren't there for the actual court date (in absentia), you get 30 days to appeal the judgment.  After the 30 days, the judgment is final.  Judges are very sympathetic to utility companies, so don't expect a miracle (you'd need something like brand-new DNA evidence to get you out of the judgment, some kind of evidence of wrongdoing that would get the prosecuting attorney disbarred).  You should probably hire your own attorney and see for yourself if there is anything you can do, but this is one of those problems that you write your congressman about and then move on with your life.   The judgment -- like a bankruptcy -- stays on your credit bureau reports for 10 years and -- unlike a bankruptcy -- is renewable every 10 years.  And the utility companies hire plenty of paralegals who do nothing but re-file abstracts of judgment with county clerks every 10 years to ensure that the judgment stays on your credit bureau report.  
Why do utility companies do this (unfair) thing?  Because they know in the end you are going to pay the judgment.  You are going to pay the judgment because no mortgage lender will allow you to purchase a home with an outstanding judgment.  Judgments and tax liens absolutely have to be paid before you can get a mortgage BECAUSE if you default on your home mortgage, payment of the proceeds of any foreclosure will go first to payment of the judgment, then tax liens, and then mortgage lender.  That's because the judgment is first in line for payment (older debt than the mortgage) and tax liens are always paid off before foreclosure proceeds are disbursed.  Therefore, no mortgage company will give you a mortgage until you first remove these obstacles to the mortgage company getting all of its money back.  And if you sell your home, by law you must repay the judgment before you can receive the proceeds of the sale.  (If you don't obey this law, and the utility company finds out, the utility company can file suit against you and take everything you own.)  And the courts enforce these laws because utility companies are monopolies in the public interest and receive favored treatment.  (But courts generally give favorable treatment to anyone who has a judgment against a debtor; utility companies get the best treatment.)
So, yes, judgments are a very bad thing to have in your credit file.
Which brings us to the second problem you have, but may not know you have.  The utility companies know that you will pay the judgment sooner rather than later because of employee background checks.  If you haven't applied for or changed jobs in the last three years, you are probably not aware of this new trend in the labor market:  extensive background checks.  I found out recently that when you apply for a new job, you are asked not just to agree to a criminal or credit background check, but also to a civil background check.  This was news to me.  Now, your entire civil history (divorce, custody, car accident lawsuit, and, yes, even judgments for bad debts) can be pulled and reviewed by your potential employer.  The last thing you want a potential employer to see is that you are a "dead beat" -- not meaning that you are one (believe me, I understand), but that's what many people think when they see a judgment for a bad debt.
If you are serious about disputing the judgment, you should hire a lawyer real fast.   If you are thinking of buying a home or changing jobs soon, you should pay off the judgment as soon as possible.  If you have time, you may want to think about paying it off slowly.  But don't think that a utility company will let the judgment slide into oblivion -- trust me, it's on someone's calendar to be renewed.  And it can never be deleted from the credit bureau report just because someone accepted your payment any more than you would expect the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to delete a bankruptcy reporting because you'd been discharged.
Finally, before you hand over any money in payment, make sure that you get a "release of lien" from the utility company -- an even exchange, you hand over the money and they hand over the release of lien.  Then run to the county clerk's office and get the release of lien filed right away.  Once you've done this, the judgment will still be on your record, but it will be on your record as paid.
Message 25 of 26
Moderator Emeritus

Re: Legal Item filed

hopeful - Great post.
Bartender, bring another round of FICOtinis please!

9.4.2011: TU 805. EQ 815.
Message 26 of 26