Judge Frank J. Johnson of the Los Angeles Superior Court (Van Nuys) has granted my motion to vacate a default judgment obtained by collection agency First Resolution Investment Corporation through their attorneys (fellow debt collectors) Winn and Sims. Lawyers working on the case for Winn and Sims were Brian N. Winn, Ralph L. Sims, and Stacy C. Sturm. This now makes me two for two in succesfully vacating judgments obtained by Winn and Sims (the other case is described here).
First Resolution (through Winn and Sims) brought a collection lawsuit against my client. Shortly after serving her with the lawsuit, they sent her a collection letter that caused my client confusion about her obligation to respond to the lawsuit. Eventually, she hired me and I filed an Answer to the lawsuit, but Winn and Sims had already obtained a default against her. Judge Johnson ruled that First Resolution failed to "address [the] settlement demand letter that gave defendant the impression there was no urgency to file an answer pending defendant's response." Judge Johnson also noted that the Answer was filed less than two weeks after default.
Consumer advocate and credit/debt expert Bud Hibbs has information about Winn and Sims and First Resolution here.
Consumers in California served with collection lawsuits need to be aware that they have thirty days to respond to the lawsuit or they can have default judgment entered against them (which may then give the collector the ability to garnish wages and bank accounts, as well as place liens on real property). If default is entered, you may be able to have it vacated, but it is usually an uphill climb. The best thing you can do if served with a collection lawsuit is immediately obtain a free consultation with an attorney. California residents may contact my office. Residents of other states should use the National Association of Consumer Advocates website to find an attorney in their state.