A Houston senior citizen's home and savings rescued from decade-old default judgment
HOUSTON, TX / ACCESSWIRE / January 18, 2022 / A local senior citizen contacted The Law Office of David A. Fernandez after she was shocked to learn last winter that a local court had appointed a receiver to collect from her savings and the forced sale of her Pearland, Texas home because of a 2013 default judgment for an alleged $100,000 debt consisting of a 2009 credit card charge-off plus interest, costs, and fees.
The Law Office of David A. Fernandez, who in Gloria Bernal v. Thunderbolt Holdings Ltd (Cause Number 1165442), in the County Civil Court at Law Number One, Harris County, Texas, quickly obtained orders vacating the judgment and restraining the receiver from executing against the home.
"Few attorneys handle what are called bills of review," Mr. Fernandez said. "But through this procedure we can remove from the record old judgments, which were obtained without due process to the defendant, as was the case here." According to court documents, the bill of review Mr. Fernandez obtained for this 66-year-old client erased a six-figure judgment, protected her retirement accounts, and saved real property she had worked a lifetime to have. "What is amazing," said Kyle Garza, an associate at Mr. Fernandez's firm, "is that the business going after her home was not even the credit card company, but an outfit that claimed to have bought the alleged debt from another business, which in turn claimed to have bought it from yet another."
Such businesses, known as third-party creditors, buy charged-off accounts and bring suit to collect, often obtaining default judgments without proper notice to the alleged debtor, sometimes many years and even decades after an account was closed. "They usually have poor records. They can't even prove they own the debt, let alone what amount, if any, is actually owed. We can in many cases reverse the judgment, even after the time for an appeal is no longer available to the defendant; and when we do, the third-party creditor will often just drop the claim because they never could prove it in the first place," Mr. Garza explained.
The credit crisis of 2008 and the recent lockdowns have resulted in a flood of consumer debt litigation, much of it by these little-known companies, which purchase in bulk the accounts of more established and well-known financial institutions, then sue to collect. "It is really outrageous that they are able to get a receiver appointed to collect a judgment of which the alleged debtor has no knowledge," said Mr. Fernandez. "The underlying credit card debt may even have been fraudulent, a result of identity theft. So here we are 11, 12 years later and they say it's a done deal and we're here to take your home, but it's not: If a due process violation appears on the record, as it so often does in these cases, we can get the judgment vacated and stop the collection attempts for good."
The Law Office of David A. Fernandez, P.C.
The Law Office of David A. Fernandez was established in 1992, and in 2012 dedicated its practice to consumer law. The firm has successfully defended thousands of clients in consumer debt litigation, including garnishments and other extraordinary collection attempts. Together with his team of talented associates and assistants, Mr. Fernandez protects Texas' citizens from predatory debt collection practices and holds lenders to the highest standards under the law.
SOURCE: Law Office of David A. Fernandez