Q: I'm being sued in PA by a law firm representing a debt collector. How to proceed?
My wife had messaged me our US mail preview and asked what a district court letter was about. I could read who was sending it through the scanned envelope. I panicked and called the law firm to start my payments again. They sent me a contract/form for me to sign stating that as long as I pay them a set amount each month until September of 2022, which would be my last payment, they would remove judgment against me. I signed the form and sent it to them. Do I still need to notify the district court? I asked the law firm and they said they would follow up with the court to let them know of my decision.
Just to note that I acknowledge the debt. It's an old Citi credit card that started with around $4,500 when it got sent to collections. I paid for a while until I couldn’t afford it anymore. It now has around $2,200 left to pay. I just want to do the right thing and not get my bank account garnished or the sheriff taking my possessions.
Thank you for your time.
It appears that you've reached a new settlement with a judgment creditor whereby the creditor agreed not to take action to collect on the debt if you pay according to a specific schedule. Assuming you have these terms in writing, you should be able to enforce the settlement, if the creditor attempts to collect while you are current on your payments.
Once the debt is paid, the creditor should mark it as satisfied. Under Pennsylvania law, the creditor must mark the judgment as satisfied within 90 days of receiving a request for entry of satisfaction. If the creditor fails to satisfy the judgment within 90 days, it may be required to pay damages. Therefore, you may want to keep a check on the docket and be prepared to serve a request on the creditor after the settlement amount is paid.
You are correct that judgment creditors can levy personal property, such as bank accounts. Fortunately, creditors' options are somewhat limited in Pennsylvania. For example, if your spouse is not a co-debtor, creditors cannot execute against your joint real and personal property under the legal doctrine of tenancy by the entireties. (Any individual property of the debtor may still be vulnerable.) However, this area of law is a bit complex. A Pennsylvania debtor defense attorney can help you protect your assets and ensure that you are on firm ground with your settlement agreement.
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