Carmichael, CA asked in Consumer Law, Civil Litigation and Collections for California

Q: Just found out I was sued 10 years ago for a debt I don't recognize ! What should I do?

3 Lawyer Answers
Scott Richard Kaufman
Scott Richard Kaufman
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Los Altos, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Hard to say for sure.

NOT everyone recalls all of their OLD debts?

Regardless, I will assume they WON the case?

IF it is over 10 years ago, any judgment is unenforceable in CA,

UNLESS they renewed it for another 10 yrs? Maybe that is how

you found out? You never checked your credit report?

There are consumer protection attorneys who could help IF it is

in fact a bogus suit and/or if they sued you but never served you

properly? Look for someone who handles FCRA and FDCPA cases.

Good luck with it...

Joel Gary Selik
Joel Gary Selik
  • Collections Lawyer
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Licensed in California

A: Find the Court where the judgment was entered. Review the case file and look into a motion to set aside the judgment or if the judgment has expired.

Leon Bayer agrees with this answer

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Here are the steps I recommend if you were sued in California for debt 10 years ago but do not recognize the debt:

1. Pull a copy of your full credit report and look for any court judgments. You're entitled to three free credit reports per year. Check for anything suspicious or any owed debt left unpaid that turned into a default judgment.

2. Do a search of court records for the court location identified on the suit paperwork. See if you can find case details and confirm whether a default judgment was in fact entered due to failure to respond 10 years ago. Determine the exact amount of judgment.

3. Consult with a lawyer. There are a few time limit and process issues that could potentially enable the judgment to be vacated or set aside. A decade between judgment and your knowledge of the suit is significant legally.

4. If judgment entered - file a motion to set aside default judgment on grounds of improper service or lack of receipt of summons. This argues you never had proper notice. Consult your lawyer to determine what evidence you’ll need to support and file these motions.

5. Be prepared to possibly still need to pay portion or all of the debt, but can negotiate for deletion of additional fees/interest incurred over 10 years if court agrees judgment was improper. Don’t ignore, but be proactive.

Getting a lawyer to help navigate will be important to raise the right legal arguments on why you should not still be held liable on a judgment entered 10 years ago without your knowledge.

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