Lawsuits and Judgments


If a debtor falls behind on payments, a creditor may file a lawsuit to collect on the debt and obtain a judgment for the amount owed. At Perrotta & Cahn we defend clients against creditor lawsuits, and work to prevent judgment liens, repossessions and wage garnishments. Our debt relief attorneys serve clients throughout northwest Georgia from offices in Cartersville, Calhoun, Dalton and Dallas.

Creditor Lawsuits against Debtors

When a debtor owes money to a credit card company, medical provider, student loan holder or any other creditor, and does not pay on the debt owed, at some point, the creditor may sue for collection of the debt. Creditors have the burden of proof when filing a lawsuit against a debtor, which means they must justify the judgment awards they seek. If their records are insufficient and they cannot prove some or all of the allegations they make, a debtor may successfully defend against a creditor’s lawsuit. Examples of defenses include:

  • The creditor was not permitted to accelerate the loan.
  • The creditor did not bring the lawsuit in a timely manner.
  • The creditor used deception or threats in attempting to collect on the debt.
  • After repossessing property, the creditor did not sell it in a “commercially reasonable manner.”
  • The contract or the creditor violated a consumer protection law.

Rather than file an expensive and time-consuming lawsuit, many creditors try to collect on an unpaid debt by repossessing a debtor’s car or home, or terminating utilities. At Perrotta & Cahn, we have experience defending clients against creditor lawsuits, and help clients keep their property through debt settlement and bankruptcy. Please see our foreclosure defense page for more information about saving your home from repossession.

Judgment Liens

If a creditor does win a lawsuit against a debtor, the creditor will receive a “judgment” in its favor. With a judgment, the creditor can use many more methods to collect on money owed by the debtor than without a judgment. These include:

  • Wage garnishment – If you receive a regular income, the first item of property most judgment creditors will go after is your paycheck. With a wage garnishment (sometimes referred to as a “continuing” garnishment in Georgia), your employer takes a portion of your wages each pay period and sends that money to your creditor.
  • Garnishment of accounts – A judgment creditor may also collect from a debtor’s bank account with a “regular” garnishment, which allows for seizure of funds held by a bank.
  • Levies against real or personal property – A levy allows a creditor to seize a debtor’s real or personal property to sell at a sheriff’s auction. The seized property is auctioned to the highest bidder, and the balance is paid to the creditor minus any fees for the auction.

Certain property is exempt from seizure by creditors, and federal laws limit the amount of money that can be garnished from wages. Our attorneys have extensive experience helping clients prevent and stop wage garnishment and property levies.

Talk to a Lawyer if You Face Lawsuits & Judgments from Creditors

If a creditor has threatened you with a lawsuit or judgment, do not hesitate to contact Perrotta & Cahn for a free initial consultation. We are at the service of debtors who need legal advice and representation.