Legal Question in Credit and Debt Law in Virginia

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?

Asked on 12/01/05, 3:39 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

John Sawyer Sawyer & Azarcon, P.C.
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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.

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12/02/05, 11:11 am
Jonathon Moseley Office of Jonathon Moseley
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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

is meaningless.

In another sense, however, you did (presumably)

owe the money and therefore the judgment showing

on your credit report is not "wrong" to that

extent.

Nevertheless, most attorneys will be gun shy

about bankruptcy.

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

proceeded.

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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12/01/05, 5:53 pm

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