Love, Beal & Nixon
I live in Tulsa, OK and had a default judgment against me (wife not on it) last month. This was for a MBNA (B of A) credit card with an original balance of $22k with the judgment being $27k.
About a year and a half ago, my wife and I entered a debt settlement plan with The Palmer Firm. This whole time, they told us not to talk to, or respond to any of our creditors for the debts we had in the program. They said to direct all correspondence and phone calls to them. We did that when we received a letter requesting arbitration, and we did that when I was served. Turns out, the only thing they did was to send an initial letter to Bank of America and a request for debt validation when the lawsuit was filed. They basically told us to not respond. Needless to say, a judgment was levied against me. The best part is the plaintiff's attorney is Love, Beal & Nixon.
After the judgment, the Palmer Firm contacted us saying that BofA was awarded judgment and a local attorney would contact us. He did and believed we should consider a Chapter 13. I really don't want to file Bankruptcy and the bottom line is I do owe this money. So I contacted LBN to see if i could work out something with them and to get a feel for the situation. I have not paid them or agreed to pay them anything at this point. If they garnish my wages, I will probably have to file bankruptcy because I will then start defaulting on my other debts.
My questions are:
1) What can LBN legally do at this point? For example, can they legally garnish wages right now?
2) What can I do or is it too late?
3) If I try to pay it, should I pay LBN or BofA?
4) I still have 2 smaller cards that where about $6k each and just received a letter from one collection agency demanding payment. How should I handle these right now? I obviously don't want to not respond like I was told before.
Love, Beal & Nixon again. Between them and Baer Timberlake I don't know which is the worst. In one way of looking at it one is about as funny as the other but I'm sure nobody who has been sued by either of them think they are funny as I do. I have my own special reasons for thinking that way.
On the serious side, what they can legally do at this point is to garnish your wages or go after other assets you might have. They can garnish your bank account(s) or other cash assets you might have. There are many things they can do to you. If you are going to pay anybody then it has to be LBN. I've never heard of "the Palmer firm" so are they attorneys or just some debt setlement company? Whatever they are you should never have had anything to do with them as you most likely understand very well now. There is a vastly better way to settle debts other than using a debt settlement company or filing bankruptcy. Those are definitely not the only options you have.
So tell me something. When did you make your last payment to MBNA and when did they file the lawsuit against you? I ask that to see if there is a possibility of using statute of limitations against them.
Of course, since the judgment has already been entered against you it would be necessary to take it to federal court if there is a SOL question. You lost any chance of using it in local court because you didn't show up for court. There may very well be other causes of action available to you but I would have to see the paperwork in the case as well as speaking with you personally to see what might be developed. If something can be arranged then make them pay the debt for you and get rid of the judgment as well. They still have to go to a garnishment hearing before they can do anything so there is another excellent opportunity to establish grounds to sue them in federal court which is the only way you could have won the original case anyway. You didn't stand a crying chance in local court in the first place unless you had a SOL or other viable defense.
I wouldn't pay them anything and force them to go to garnishment and then you have an excellent chance to come up with some causes of action to sue them on.
I would advise you to immediately send a demand for validation/dispute letter to the debt collectors in the other cases. You should not use copies of any of the debt validation letters you find on the internet because they are normally pretty bad. Almost all of them use legal sounding gobble-de-gook trying to impress somebody when that is never necessary or even advisable One should never attempt to educate the other fellow and especially about how smart you are. The trick is to learn how smart they are, not teach them how smart you are. Validation letters should follow the KISS principle. "Keep IT Simple Stupid."
You can call me at any time except this evening because I have a Jurisdictionary club meeting this evening at Coit's Root Beer Stand which is located on the corner of S.W. 24th & Western here is OKC. The meeting starts at 7:00 P.M. and lasts until 9:00 P.M. We hold those meetings the 2nd Thursday of each month and they are free and open to the public. The discussions are all about the very problems you are having and how to deal with them. There is no cost or obligation to attend.
Tomorrow evening and every Friday evening I hold my conference calls starting at 7:00 P.M. They last until everybody runs out of things to talk about. Those calls are also free of charge other than whatever the phone company charges you. It can be expensive if you have to pay for long distance charges but if you have something like MAGIC JACK you can not only get free long distance calls to anywhere in the U.S. or Canada but virtually free local service as well. I have it and the number is 405-237-2174. I paid $110 for the magic jack and 5 years of phone service. You can simply plug the magic jack into any phone outlet and power all the phones in your house. You get caller ID, call forwarding, call waiting and all the extra good stuff for the same $110. I have mine call forwarded to my cell phone so I don't even need to have it plugged in to my computer at all. My cellphone is with Cricket so I can also call anywhere and talk as long as I like and all for less than $50 a month.
The call in number for the conference call is 1-712-432-1601 and the pin number is 508548 followed by the # sign.
So why not call me or come to the meeting tonight or get on the conference call tomorrow night and maybe I can get you some real help to get you out of the mess you are in.