A couple months ago, we had a business owner come to us with a five-figure judgment entered against the business. The owner wanted to know the answer to one question: “What should I do?”
The one question we didn’t have to ask him was, “How did this happen?” We see this all the time – a busy business owner gets served with a lawsuit, the owner either loses the documents or, more often, doesn’t know what to do with them. We’ve seen them respond to the court with letters, formal pleadings, or, worst-case…nothing. Then the owner’s biggest fear hits him – a letter is delivered to his place of business containing a judgment against the business (and sometimes the owner individually!).
We tell our clients to come to us when they get served (at the latest), but sometimes that isn’t always possible. When we reviewed the documents with the business owner described above, we determined he had valid defenses to the lawsuit and had filed a responsive document with the court that we believed would provide grounds to reverse the judgment. After submitting our documents to the court, we ended up settling the matter for less than 10% of the judgment. The client was extremely pleased and surprised to know that just because the judgment had been entered did not mean he was stuck. Stories like these just goes to show a judgment may not be the end of the road.