New York City Debt Collection Defense Attorney

Pursued Twice for the Same Debt? Assert Your Rights Immediately!

Double Garnishment After Judgment Satisfaction: A Case Study

In one case, our client faced a unique situation: He was garnished twice for the same debt rather than sued twice. Initially, he was not properly served, resulting in a default judgment. The creditor then fully recovered the debt through wage garnishment. Our client acknowledged the debt and chose not to contest the garnishment, successfully satisfying the judgment by paying it in full.

Three years later, the same client received another Notice of Garnishment from the same creditor, but this time, a different law firm was handling the case. The new garnishment amount was within $200 of the original judgment balance, perplexing our client.

Fortunately, we were able to resolve the matter swiftly and favorably. Pursuing an individual twice for the same debt violates city, state, and federal laws. If you need help, complete this intake form.

Sued twice for the same debt-The Langel Firm

Two Judgments for One Debt: How it Happened & What to Do

It's generally not permissible for a creditor to obtain two judgments against a debtor for the same debt. However, due to errors in the collection process, such as lost paperwork or database discrepancies, a debtor might face two lawsuits for the same account.

Creditor mistake & good legal defense:

  1. Mistakes like a creditor accidentally forwarding the same account to two law firms can result in dual lawsuits. The court could issue two default judgments for the same debt if left unaddressed.
  2. The legal defense "Res Judicata," meaning "the issue has been decided," prevents a new case from being brought up for the same cause of action. If faced with a duplicate lawsuit, it's crucial to consult an attorney and possibly file a motion to vacate the subsequent judgment.

Quiz in debt collection

What New Yorkers Should Know When Dealing with Creditors

In New York, creditors (or people working for them) can't:

  • Tell your employer about your debt before they win a court case against you.
  • Threaten to do something they usually wouldn't or can't do.
  • Try to charge you extra fees on top of what you owe.
  • Make it seem like they're part of the legal system or a government agency.
  • Bother you or your family too often or at strange hours.

Five Steps to Take if You've Been Sued for the Same Debt Twice

  1. Gather All Relevant Documentation: Collect any and all records related to the debt, including previous settlement agreements, payment receipts, court judgments, and any correspondence with the creditor or collection agencies.

  2. Consult a Debt Defense Attorney: Seek legal counsel from an attorney specializing in debt collection defense in New York. They can provide guidance tailored to your situation and help you understand your rights and options.

  3. File a Motion to Dismiss: If the lawsuit is indeed redundant, your attorney can assist you in filing a motion to dismiss the second lawsuit based on the prior judgment or settlement, preventing further legal action on the same debt.

  4. Report the Violation: Being pursued twice for the same debt violates city, state, and federal laws. Report the violation to appropriate agencies, such as the New York State Attorney General's office or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to ensure the creditor or collection agency is held accountable.

  5. Maintain Communication Records: Document all communication with the creditor, their attorneys, or collection agencies. This can be crucial evidence if you decide to take legal action or if the case progresses further. Always ask for written confirmations and avoid making verbal agreements without documenting them.

The Langel Firm-Intake Form-Sued for the same debt twice

From Lawsuit to Garnishment: 3 Points to Know

  • If faced with a debt collection lawsuit, ensure you respond personally or through an attorney to safeguard your rights by the specified date.
  • Debt collectors can garnish your paycheck or bank account, but they first need a court order. Always address lawsuits promptly to defend against such orders.
  • While many federal benefits are protected from garnishments, there are exceptions like delinquent taxes, child/spousal support, or student loans. Familiar benefits that generally can't be garnished include Social Security, Veterans benefits, and Federal student aid.

Dealing with Aged Debts: The "Statute of Limitations"

  • Although debts don't typically vanish, there's a limited time for collectors to sue you, known as the "statute of limitations." Once this period expires, the debt becomes "time-barred."
  • The length of the statute of limitations varies depending on the debt type and relevant state laws. In some states, acknowledging or making a payment can reset this timer.
  • While it's illegal for collectors to sue over a time-barred debt, they might still contact you, depending on state regulations. If you want them to stop, send a written request and consider using certified mail for record-keeping.

For a list of 50 other types of debt-collection violations, click the below image:

50 Debt Collection No-No’s. Start putting into blogs.

Quiz Questions (Pursued for the Same Debt Twice)

  1. What legal principle prohibits bringing up a new case for a previously decided cause of action? A. Double Jeopardy B. Res Judicata C. Due Process D. Habeas Corpus

  2. What action is a creditor NOT permitted to take against a debtor in New York before securing a court victory? A. Sending a letter of demand B. Discussing the debt with the debtor's family C. Disclosing the debt to the debtor's employer D. Imposing additional fees beyond the owed amount

  3. Upon facing a second lawsuit for the same debt, what is the essential first step? A. Immediately settle the debt to prevent legal consequences B. Contact the creditor to negotiate a deal C. Compile all documents related to the original debt and its settlement D. Publicly protest against the creditor's actions

  4. If you're sued twice for the identical debt, whom should you seek advice from? A. A bankruptcy lawyer B. A debt consolidation agency C. A consumer rights attorney D. The court clerk

  5. Before garnishing wages or bank accounts, what must creditors legally secure? A. A debtor's confession B. An arbitration award C. A judge's signature D. A court order/judgment

  6. Which of the following is generally safeguarded against garnishment? A. Bank savings B. Social Security benefits C. Personal assets like jewelry D. Rental income

  7. What does making a payment or acknowledging an old debt do in certain jurisdictions? A. Clears the debt immediately B. Restarts the statute of limitations C. Decreases the debt by half D. Transfers the debt to a new creditor

Answer Key 

  1. B. Res Judicata
  2. C. Disclosing the debt to the debtor's employer
  3. C. Compile all documents related to the original debt and its settlement
  4. C. A consumer rights attorney
  5. D. A court order/judgment
  6. B. Social Security benefits
  7. B. Restarts the statute of limitations

If you are in a similar situation, call The Langel Firm today at (888) 271-7109 or complete this intake form.