Legal question regarding small claims

Discussion in 'The Club House' started by SSGN_Doc, Jun 6, 2013.

  1. SSGN_Doc

    SSGN_Doc Well-Known Member

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    Is is possible for someone to have a small claims suit placed against them, and recieve a judgment in the plaintiffs favor without the defendant being notified of the suit, or asked to appear?

    I've got a sailor who works for me, and an e-mail was received at the command stating that the sailor had been sued and had a judgement placed against him for $3500. The plaintiff is wanting information to garnish the member's wages. Checking public records we were able to find the judgement.

    The e-mail was sent to the Master Chief here and I was called in to see if I had heard anything about it. The sailor in question was at a medical appointment at the end of the day, so I was not able to ask him anything about it until this morning.

    When asked if he knew anything about a civil suit against him, he stated that he had no idea thta the suit existed, and that he received no notification. He does state thta he knows who the plaintiff is.

    I'm just having a hard time believing thta he could have suit and a judgment against him without any knowledge of it. This can affect his security clearance.

    I'd really like to hear from a lawyer on this.
     
  2. Dearhunter

    Dearhunter Supporting Member Supporter

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    Best thing for him to do is go see the base legal officer!!
     

  3. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    best suggestion would be for him to get a lawyer to sort this out.

    IMO, i can't see how they can find him at fault or guilty and place a judgement against him without him being there. if so, then anyone could sue anyone else without them being there and be able to win a judgement in the case.

    my brother in the course of his business has been sued a couple of times in small claims court and he was always notified by certified letter from the court. and he always used a lawyer, even in small claims court.
     
  4. SSGN_Doc

    SSGN_Doc Well-Known Member

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    This sailor is newly reporting, and arrived with a lot of problems. He's been caught in several lies. So, I am doubting that he couold have been sued, had a judgement and not know about it.
     
  5. greenoak

    greenoak New Member

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    If he moved around enough it is possible he never got the notices. Happened to a friend of mine. Supposedly.
     
  6. partdeux

    partdeux Well-Known Member

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    Likely somebody falsified service
     
  7. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    When you are sued, you are served notice. That can be by certified mail, delivered in person, or a copy left at your place of residence (have seen deputies that carry a staple gun to secure them to the front door).

    Advice to him- get your butt to the JAG officer. While they cannot represent you in a civil court matter, they can advise.

    Advice to you- watch him. Talk to his Chief as well. Something smells. And while his civvy problems are his civvy problems, the traits, habits and characteristics that CAUSE a lot of civvy problems are ALSO going to cause military problems.
     
  8. txpossum

    txpossum New Member

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    First of all, agree 100% with talking to an attorney or legal officer. The following is very general information only, and may vary depending on the specific jurisdiction.

    But . . . LACK OF NOTICE IS A BASIS FOR OVERTURNING THE JUDGMENT, AND RE-SETTING THE CASE FOR TRIAL. BUT THERE IS A TIME LIMIT ON FILING THE MOTION TO DO THIS, SO SEE AN ATTORNEY ASAP.

    Now, just because he may not have been aware of the lawsuit does not mean he did not get "legal notice" -- e.g. if the plantiff used due dilegence to find the defendant, and the defendant absolutely could not be located, then sometimes legal notice is satisfied by posting notice in the newpaper, or physically posting it in the courthouse.

    The clerk of the court which issued the judgement should be called, and asked what the certificate of service shows.

    Once more, this should be done ASAP.
     
  9. MisterMcCool

    MisterMcCool Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My mother-in-law gave notice of intent to divorce by posting it in the newspaper in the legal notices section.
     
  10. DFlynt

    DFlynt New Member

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    Is this guy in the Personal (or is it Personell) Reliability Program (PRP) or does the Navy even use that anymore?
     
  11. F4U

    F4U Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Was he at sea when the notice was served? Best he check with a lawyer, he may have to prove he didn't know of the suit.
     
  12. triggerjob

    triggerjob New Member

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    It depends on the State. In Ca small claims you can contest a judgement in absentia, if you have a good story. Lack of service is one of them, being on deployment is another.

    But as soon as you are aware of the judgemnt you have to act. In Ca you can go to the court talk to the clerk they have a form for contesting a judgement.
     
  13. winds-of-change

    winds-of-change The Balota's Staff Member

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    I can consult a lawyer for a small claims court case but you can't bring a lawyer in to represent you in small claims court.

    I think this is true only if you have tried and can't locate the defendant.
     
  14. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    PRP- Personnel Reliability Program. Used by ALL of DoD.
     
  15. SSGN_Doc

    SSGN_Doc Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the input. The JAG was out if the office yesterday at a change if command.

    Member is not actively enrolled in the PRP but still requires a security clearance. I am his new Chief. He transferred here to Wa. From Md. He was attached to a Marine unit. His Command Sargent Major from the last command is who
    Contacted us to forward the emails from the plaintiff.

    Looks like my new sailor and I have some homework.

    Thanks again. The Jag should be in this morning so we can talk to him.
     
  16. notdku

    notdku Administrator Staff Member

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    They have to reasonably attempt to contact you. After a few phone calls, a couple of ignored summons, they will pas judgement and hold the party responsible.
     
  17. SSGN_Doc

    SSGN_Doc Well-Known Member

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    I was able to contact the plaintiff, and discuss this with our JAG. The plaintiff provided proof that he had told the sailor about the debt, and about the pending suit. So, yeah, this guy is on the hook legitimatley for a debt that he owes. Now he owes me a plan on how he is going to make it right, and proof that he has gotten to the plaintiff and the court.