Saint Petersburg, FL asked in Bankruptcy, Consumer Law, Contracts and Business Law for Florida

Q: What options are available to me or what can I do? I could get the money to pay the judgement but I can't afford more.

My business was being sued. The case had been going on for about 2 years. I was having financial issues and could not make payments to my attorney. He requested to withdraw and I granted it. I did not realize how hard it would be to find a new attorney and during my search me and my other two coworkers got Covid. I had to shut down my business for nearly an entire month. The same month I had to hire a new attorney to defend me. I couldn't find anyone, I was hospitalized, my co worker died. I wrote the plantiffs counsel, they did not allow for an extension, I wrote the judge, was told I am not a lawyer and can not ask for it. So the case I had been fighting for 2 years now, I lost, and judge issued a judgment against my business. I was not at fault and wanted to fight this case. Now its too late, my name is damaged and it is almost cheaper to pay than it would have been to hire another attorney retaine. The plantiffs attorney is wanting legal fees covered which is more than 4 times

4 Lawyer Answers
Jane Kim
Jane Kim
Answered
  • Naples, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: Bad situation, sorry to hear that. You should confirm whether the judgment is against the business only or against you individually as well. You may still be able to file a Motion to Set Aside DEFAULT Judgment, if it was entered by default, if you have excusable neglect and a meritorious defense. But you'd need a lawyer for all that. I am not sure if there is anything anyone can suggest here that could actually be helpful to you without a lawyer. Lawyers can prepare documents for you to file called limited representation, to save some fees.

Good luck.

THIS ANSWER IS NOT INTENDED TO CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP. THE INFORMATION PROVIDED HERE IS FOR GENERAL INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY. NOTHING IN THIS ANSWER SHOULD BE TAKEN AS LEGAL ADVICE FOR ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE OR SITUATION.

Timothy Denison
Timothy Denison
Answered
  • Bankruptcy Lawyer
  • Louisville, KY

A: Consult a bankruptcy attorney and see whether a bankruptcy would be prudent given your financial situation. and facts.

Charles M. Baron and Barbara Billiot Stage agree with this answer

A: Depending on how your business is organized, what personal liability you may have and the basis for the judgment, it may be wise to file bankruptcy to completely discharge you debts or to re-organize and pay over a five-year plan. The Tampa office of the Middle District of Florida has a pro bono clinic where you can consult with someone to provide you some guidance. You might also be able to find a private bankruptcy lawyer to give you a free consultation. Just make sure you let them know it involves a business. If you had insurance for your business you might still be able to make a claim.

Charles M. Baron agrees with this answer

Bruce Alexander Minnick
Bruce Alexander Minnick
Answered
  • Tallahassee, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: Depending upon how much money is involved you might be better off to gamble on a plan to try to settle rather than live with the negative effects of going bankrupt.

I suggest you hire a very experienced Florida lawyer who has the skills to negotiate solutions to situations like this.

THINK: The other side wants MONEY--and you have some. Right? So, if they are smart, they will accept a lot less money than the total debt to settle; why? Because a dollar in their pocket is worth $10 in their imagination.

The lawyer on the other side knows exactly what I am telling you: That they get nothing more from you unless their client gets some money from you.

Finally, there are some creative ways to solve this problem, creative ways that will help you fix the public record that currently shows a Judgement filed against your company--a Judgement that is adversely affecting you personally.

Charles M. Baron agrees with this answer

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