Judgments & Bankruptcy
My bankruptcy was filed in 01/03 & discharged a few months later. In 12/02, I received a Warrant in Debt from a collection agency regarding a vehicle that had been repossessed. My attorney contacted the collection agency and advised them that I was filing bankruptcy and the papers were being prepared for filing. My attorney advised me that I did not have to appear in court. However, I now have a default judgment showing on my credit report in favor of the finance company - this debt was included in the bankruptcy. Can I get this judgment discharged & removed from my credit report since the debt was discharged in the bankruptcy?
2 Answers from Attorneys
Re: Judgments & Bankruptcy
You have several remedies, any of which will require the assistance of your lawyer. Show cause for contempt in bankruptcy court for violation of the automatic stay. State court action under the governing VA code provision to remove the judgement where the debt has been discharged, after proper notice. An action in federal court for violation of the Fair Credit Reporting act.
You need to talk to your lawyer and not try to resolve this over the Internet.
Re: Judgments & Bankruptcy
Well, in one sense the judgment IS discharged
because the bankruptcy discharged it and it
cannot be collected. Therefore in many ways it
In another sense, however, you did (presumably)
owe the money and therefore the judgment showing
on your credit report is not "wrong" to that
Nevertheless, most attorneys will be gun shy
I would suggest that you file a motion to vacate
the judgment in the court where the judgment was
entered. Because it is so old, you might have
to file a new lawsuit, but I think the judge
will cut you some slack. Ask the Clerk for the
form for a "motion to vacate."
As grounds for the motion to vacate you will want
to show that it was on the eve of bankruptcy,
and was in fact discharged in bankrtupcy.
Be prepared for the judge's "so what?" question,
given that if you actually owed the money what's
the harm in accurately showing what you owed?
You should explain (among other things perhaps)
that it looks as if there is a "live" judgment
out there that is still collectible, when in fact
you TOLD the creditor that you were filing for
bankruptcy and they knew that the account was
not collectible, and they should not have
Your best chance of getting this to work is the
fact that the other side will probably not care
enough to show up (since they can't collect any
money) and will not fight you on this.
However, the judge might say no.
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