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Rhode Island Court vs Massachusetts Court

Recently a client came up to me to remove an old judgement item from his credit report. The judgement was an old car finance that he had opened when he lived in Rhode island. After my client opened an account with this finance he needed to go back to his country, so he gave back the car to the bank in 2007 and was informed that he didn't owe them any amount forward. At the time the account was at the balance of $5000.00. After 8 years he came back to America and moved to Massachusetts, and was notified that he has been sued in 2012 regarding this matter, and now the balance he owns is $15,000.00. This case was not served property and does not have enough jurisdiction. Now, the court in Rhode island is trying to take 25% of his growth payment every week until he pays off the debt.
Do they have the right to take away money from Massachusetts employee and can this case be dismissed and voided ?
Please provide me with as much information with the law. I will be calling the attorney in Rhode Island and need as much argument as I can to solve this matter.


Thank you

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Submitted Thu, 04/20/2017 - 11:34

From what you said, the RI court issued a judgement in this case. This means the case is already lost. The payments they are taking are simply a way to enforce that judgement. In addition, judgements accrue interest after being issued (it's 12% in MA). You cannot challenge the garnishments, you have to challenge the underlying judgement.

If a judgement was already issued, none of the defenses you raised matter. Defenses to whether the debt is owed or not have to be raised in an answer when the case is heard. Defenses involving service and jurisdiction have to be raised either when initially sued or within a year of judgement being issued. Also, if the loan was originally taken in RI, they have jurisdiction even if he has since moved.

You may still be able to have the judgement lifted, but you would need to petition the RI court to remove the original judgement. He would still then have to defend against the case in RI and win. From what you said, the loan was secured by the car, but he is still responsible for any money left over after they sold the car at wholesale and applied that to the loan.

Without reviewing the actual case itself to see what was done, it's really impossible to advise whether you have a decent chance to lift the judgement or not. If they properly published or gave notice in some way, you may not have a good chance to have this removed. The judgement will stay on the credit report until it is satisfied.

Atty. David Owens

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