I posted about Rapid Cash’s problems previously. It looks like they have escalated somewhat. Our own Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada has filed a class-action lawsuit against Rapid Cash and associated defendants for fraudulent activity in their obtaining default judgments with fraudulent affidavits of service.
For those that don’t know the procedures – when a Plaintiff files a lawsuit, the Plaintiff (or his/her attorney) has to have a third-party personally deliver a copy of the lawsuit and the summons to all Defendants. The entity or person that does this is called a ‘process server’ who signs an ‘Affidavit of Service’ stating, under penalty of perjury, that the person has personally delivered a copy of the lawsuit and summons to the Defendant. Courts accept this affidavit as gold unless challenged. Once a Defendant has been served, the Defendant has 20 days to file an Answer admitting or denying the allegations in the complaint. If the Defendant does not do so by that time the Plaintiff can request the court enter a ‘Default’ against the Defendant. The Plaintiff then files an Application for Default Judgment and generally gets however much they asked for in the complaint and provided final account statement showing the asked for damages.
Now – if the Plaintiff’s process server LIES and says he served the Defendant but did not, then the Defendant doesn’t know about the lawsuit and the Plaintiff can get a default judgment. With a judgment the Plaintiff can garnish the Defendant’s wages, clear out their bank accounts, take their non-exempt car/motorcycle/boat/etc until the judgment has been satisfied (i.e. amount has been paid.)
Why mess with Defendants who have a chance to defend themselves when the process server can lie and get a judgment without a fight? That’s what this process serving company is alleged to have done. Even worse, it appears that the Plaintiff, Rapid Cash, may have known (actual knowledge), or at least when the company started claiming they served tons of Defendants all over Vegas on the same day, the company ‘should have known’ (constructive knowledge), that the process server was lying.
Unfortunately for them – the U.S. Constitution specifically says that the government cannot take someone’s property ‘without due process’. Because wage garnishments and bank account executions are court issued at the request of the Plaintiff holding the judgment, if the Defendant was not given a chance to defend him/herself, then there is no ‘due process’.
How’s that for a quick Civil Procedure & Constitution lesson?
If you are notified by your employer that it received a court order for a wage garnishment against you, or your bank notifies you that it received a writ of execution against your bank account – contact me, your Bankruptcy Defender. I can help you determine if the judgment was obtained legitimately, and if it was done recently I may be able to get the default judgment vacated so you have a chance to defend yourself.
Lastly, some lawyerly advice – If you are served with a collections lawsuit – don’t ignore it. Ignoring a lawsuit or ducking process servers does not stop the lawsuit. It makes it easier for the Plaintiff to get a Default Judgment and take your hard-earned money. It’s your money, let me help you keep more of it.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Bankruptcy Defender