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Civil Litigation on a car loan

Discussion in 'Civil Court, Procedure & Litigation' started by Deone, Oct 26, 2021.

  1. Deone

    Deone Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
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    Hello, I am a US citizen living with my wife and two children. I am on a spouse visa. I have been living here in Japan for 2 years now. On the 8th of this month a law firm had sent a notice in the mail to my mailing address in the US (Nebraska) stating that they plan on collecting on a debt I had from 2019 which was for a car loan. The balance is around $17,000. They are planning to sue me over this. Will this affect my ability to renew my spouse visa? I've already contacted the law firm and told them about my situation. Should I higher an attorney since I won't be able to represent myself in court or should I just do nothing and wait it out? What will happen?
     
  2. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Why didn't you fulfill your contractual obligation?

    There's no way that we can tell you whether or not you should hire an attorney, or just bury your head in the sand, although burying one's head in the sand rarely ends well. None of us can see the future either.
     
  3. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Hiring a lawyer isn't going to change anything if you owe the money. You'll still end up with a judgment against you. You'll have spent thousands on the lawyer. Your loan contract probably says you pay the plaintiff's lawyer fees when you lose.

    By the time it's all over instead of owing $17,000 you might owe $25,000. Worse, leaving the country stopped the Statute of Limitations from running, giving the creditor many more years to sue you while the debt is accruing interest..

    See if you can get a payment plan by offering a large cash down and avoid the lawsuit and its consequences.
     
  4. Deone

    Deone Law Topic Starter New Member

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    If I lose the trial, will they come for my assets here in Japan? And will I be harrassed if I were to visit the US?
     
  5. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Maybe, maybe not.

    Only the debt collector can say with any certainty.

    Common sense reveals, debt collectors use every means at their disposal to extract money from their targets.

    Maybe, maybe not.

    No one can say positively what any other entity might or might not do.
     
  6. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Maybe I'm not correctly understanding the situation or your question, but it appears you are asking a question about Japanese immigration law. You are a U.S. citizen living in Japan on "a spouse visa" (which presumably was issued by the Japanese government) and you want to know if a civil lawsuit filed against you in the U.S. will have an impact on that "spouse visa." Correct?

    If so, no one here will have the slightest idea.

    The first thing I'd do if I were you is consult an immigration attorney in Japan to determine the answer to your first question. If the answer is no, then your decision to hire a lawyer in Nebraska will depend on a number of factors including the likelihood that you will move back to the U.S. and whether or not you own assets or have a source of income in the U.S.

    We can't intelligently predict what some unknown entity will do under a hypothetical set of circumstances. That being said, a judgment issued by a court in Nebraska is ONLY enforceable within the borders of the State of Nebraska. In order to enforce the judgment in another country, the creditor would have to take some pretty complicated and expensive steps. In simplest terms, the creditor would have to have the judgment translated into Japanese and have that translation certified as accurate by the Nebraska court and multiple U.S. governmental agencies. The creditor would then have to ask an appropriate agency/court in Japan to have the judgment entered in Japan. My GUESS is that this would cost a minimum of $25k, and I have no idea if that $25k could be added to the judgment that would eventually get entered. It also would take probably a couple years (in addition to the time for the lawsuit in Nebraska). I will leave it to you to think about how likely this would be.

    Harassed if you visit the U.S.? I suppose that depends on whether the lender you have stiffed is a legit business or the kind of business/person who doesn't appreciate people who welch on their debts.
     
  7. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Collection efforts are not harassment. You may feel harassed but, as long as the creditor is complying with the FDCPA, he can "dun" you all he wants, especially if there is a judgment.
     
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  8. flyingron

    flyingron Well-Known Member

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    And that legal "harassment" can involve (depending on what state you are in) attaching your bank accounts and garnishing your wages. In fact, if you're being paid by a US company they may be able to do so even if you're living abroad.
     
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  9. Redemptionman

    Redemptionman Active Member

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    but can they legally garnish government funds?
     
  10. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    First, what do you mean by "government funds"?
    Second, why did you bring that up? It wasn't mentioned above.
     
  11. Redemptionman

    Redemptionman Active Member

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    Medicaid, Medicare, disability checks, government social security checks are non garnishment eligible wages.
     
  12. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Those are not wages from a US company, but it does answer the first question...
     
  13. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    None of those things are "wages." While is true that these things cannot be garnished/levied in connection with the enforcement of a civil money judgment, that doesn't appear in any way relevant to "flyingron's" comment to which you replied (or to this thread in general).
     
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  14. Redemptionman

    Redemptionman Active Member

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    the OP is upset that they could come after him over a car loan default. If they do and if they try to attach wages then they can not attach them to what I mentioned. Also the OP could declare bankruptcy and see what they can collect then as it is discharged out of the court.

    The other part could be my Lewy bodies acting up, then again the old people medicine I take.
     
  15. Deone

    Deone Law Topic Starter New Member

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    To which I would reply, I don't know how to file bankruptcy abroad...
     
  16. Redemptionman

    Redemptionman Active Member

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    Call an attorney in the area which you use to live where you got the loan, say I want to file bankruptcy.

    Then press the easy button.
     
  17. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    I don't sense that the OP is "upset" about anything. The OP merely asked questions. But I agree that a wage garnishment isn't applicable to things that aren't wages.

    Questions for the OP:

    1. Do you intend to remain in Japan permanently, or do you intend to move back to the U.S. at some point? If the latter, when do you intend to return?

    2. You mentioned having a mailing address in the U.S. Why do you have one?

    3. Do you have assets or a source of income in Nebraska (or elsewhere in the U.S.)?

    4. Why have you failed to pay the loan as agreed?

    5. What became of the car for which the loan was made?
     
  18. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    What about the OP's situation has given rise to a belief that bankruptcy might be a viable alternative?
     
  19. flyingron

    flyingron Well-Known Member

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    A single, relatively small judgment is probably not worth starting a chapter 7 over, and a chapter 11 isn't likely to do anything for him in this situation anyhow.
     
  20. Deone

    Deone Law Topic Starter New Member

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    So I chose to give the car that I was still making payments on and gave it back to the credit union that I was loaning it out from.
     

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