Credit Card Company “Filed a Judgment” Against Me
Written by Sharon K. Campbell

Words I have heard from clients many times. What those words mean to the client as opposed to me, are two very different matters. Most people are calling because they think what has just happened to them is the end. In fact, it is just the beginning. Upon questioning, what has usually happened is they have just been served or had delivered to them, by either a private process server or a constable, a lawsuit from a credit card company or debt buyer. There is language on the citation warning of the possibility of a judgment being rendered against them.

Let’s talk about the timeline or chronology of a lawsuit. What is the first step?

Usually, you have been receiving letters from the credit card company, debt buyer company or a law firm. Sometimes, all three, in progressive order.

The first step in a lawsuit is the filing of the lawsuit. In Texas, the document is called Plaintiff’s Original Petition. In Dallas County, many credit card lawsuits are filed in Justice of the Peace Court. A Justice of the Peace Court has jurisdiction to handle suits up to $10,000. If the debt alleged to be due is more than $10,000 or the lawyer prefers a different court, the lawsuit may be filed in County Court or District Court. The lawsuit is filed, the clerk issues a citation and it is given to a private process server or a constable whose job it is to deliver the lawsuit and citation to you, the person being sued.

Many, if not most, lawsuits filed in Dallas County also include with the Petition, discovery requests. There are several types of discovery requests, but the most important one with the most significant deadline, is the Request for Admissions. The Request for Admissions is a document which contains numerous detailed Requests, asking you to admit or deny certain claimed facts about the case. If the Requests are not answered within the designated time, the Requests are deemed admitted and may be used to support a Judgment against you. It is very important to make sure both that a response is filed to the lawsuit itself, raising all possible defenses, as well as responding to the Requests for Admission.

Once a consumer receives a lawsuit from a process server, there is a deadline by which a written response must be filed with the Court. How long the deadline is depends on which Court the lawsuit is filed in. For Justice Court, the deadline is the Monday following 10 days after service. For County or District Court, the deadline is the Monday following 20 days after service. If no response is filed to the lawsuit, the Plaintiff credit card company or debt buyer may request the Court to enter a Default Judgment against you. The person sued has defaulted by not filing a response or answer to the lawsuit, and legally all allegations in the lawsuit are admitted to be true. If the Plaintiff complies with all the requirements, the Judge will most likely sign a Default Judgment. The Court is required to send a copy of the Judgment to you at your last known address.

A consumer has 30 days from the date of the signing of the Judgment to file a Motion to Set Aside the Judgment or a Motion for New Trial. Once the 30 days has passed, unless you can show you were not served or did not receive a copy of the Judgment, in most cases, the Judgment becomes final. Now, the Judgment will be “filed against you.” An abstract of judgment will be obtained and filed in the Dallas County Property Records so that the Judgment now operates as a lien on all non-exempt property in Dallas County. The Judgment will also be reported to the credit reporting agencies and on your credit report.

The credit card company or debt collector has now become a judgment creditor and may undertake several avenues to collect the judgment.

If you have been served with a lawsuit, the most important thing to realize is that this step is just the beginning of the lawsuit. You have an opportunity to respond to the lawsuit, raise defenses and put the Plaintiff to the proof of its allegations. The best chance of doing so is by hiring a lawyer who is experienced in handling credit card defense lawsuits and can help you raise all possible defenses. I have handled numerous credit card cases to a successful result for my consumer clients and will be happy to discuss how I might handle your case for you.

Sharon K. Campbell, Attorney at Law
3500 Oak Lawn Ave
Suite 110
Dallas, Texas 75219

Phone: 214-351-3260
Fax: 214-443-6055

Board Certified

Business Hours:
Monday - Friday: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday - Sunday: Closed

The results of all legal matters depend on a variety of factors unique to each case; past successes do not predict or guarantee future success. The information contained in this website should not be construed to be formal legal advice or the creation of any attorney/client relationship.