Is it possible for a lawyer/collection agency to achieve judgment without serving a summons?

houseBrad Denton Jun 15, 2012

I recently got a letter from an attorney claiming that we owed a debt to an apartment complex for move out charges that we are still in dispute over. I went online to see if the attorney is legit, and found a few reviews that said he had achieved a garnishment judgment on people without even serving any papers. Is this possible? Should I be worried that he can garnish my wages? This is in the state of Arizona, I have checked the county records and there was a case entered against us nearly a month ago, but no calendar events scheduled. Should we file an answer immediately, or wait to see if we get served?

A: If there is a case against you but it was filed less than 30 days ago, it is probably not too late!

If the lawyer is following the rules, then he cannot get a judgment against you, garnishment or otherwise, without giving you notice. It’s possible the case has been filed but not yet served on you—which means that nothing could be entered against you yet.

It is important that you contact an Arizona collections attorney regarding this if you are concerned that a judgment might be entered without your knowledge. Our firm handles this sort of matter.

* This answer does not constitute legal advice. I am admitted in the State of Arizona only. This advice is based on general principles of law that may or may not relate to your specific situation. Facts and laws change and these possible changes will affect the advice provided here. You should not rely on this advice alone, and nothing in these communications creates an attorney-client relationship.

Answered by Arizona Collection Lawyer at Gunderson, Denton & Peterson, P.C.

Re-posted from AVVO Legal Questions & Answers.