Monthly Archives: November 2009

Name search in the on-line court records!

If you suspect that a creditor may be planning to  sue you, do not wait for “proper service”.   Unfortunately you may not know what is “proper service” of a lawsuit.  Also a disreputable process server may lie about having given you court papers, when in truth you never received them.   Always give your creditors an updated address or they may serve a “John Doe” at your old apartment address, claiming he is your room mate.  And guess what, that guy is just going to throw your court papers away.

I think if  you are worried about being sued, it is much better to go on line periodically  and check the local court house web site to search for your own name under parties to a civil lawsuit.

Otherwise, you might be shocked to discover that a case is proceeding to judgment that you  did not even know about.  If so, you need to act quickly.  The law does not protect those people that sleep on their rights.

Here is an example how to find you local court web site.  If you live in Orange County you would google “Orange County Superior Court”.  When the court web site appears, then look for “on-line services” or “civil”. (You might want to check out your traffic tickets while you are there.)   Look for a  the link to “civil case”  “party name”.   Once you found any case with your name on it, you want to click on it and try and print the docket— which is a list of papers that have been filed in that particular case.  Search the docket especially for “proof of service” or “request to enter default”  which is a big clue that someone is claiming to have served you and is proceeding to judgment without your knowledge.

As soon as you discover a case you do not know about it is  best run immediately to the clerk’s office of the court house and get copies of everything and call a lawyer.  Timing is everything.  Do not wait!  Setting aside defaults can be difficult, if not impossible if you wait too long.

Many counties are starting to charge a nominal amount  for name searches and in others (like Orange Co) it is free. Copies of  some case files ( like some unlimited jurisdiction lawsuits filed in the Central District in Los Angeles Superior Court) can be purchased on-line without a trip to the court house.

Exorbitant interest and unfair fees

Most people do not  realize that credit card companies have set them up to fail.  Many  creditors want you to go over limit  or be late on a payment so that they can charge you over limit fees and late fees and increase your interest rate. That is how they make the most money.   That is why many companies will give you two $500  limit credit cards instead of one card with a $1000 limit.  The two cards gives them two chances to charge you over limit fees and two chances to assess late fees. These fees can rapidly turn $1500 worth of credit card purchases into a $5,000 + obligation accruing interest at 29.99% .

Despite  layoffs or health problems, many people have struggled and sacrificed to make their credit card payments but nevertheless have faced unfair and inexplicable  interest rate increases which prevented them from making their minimum payments.  Next comes the charge off on their credit report and their debt is sold to a series of nasty debt collectors.   The harassment of collection calls and letters can be almost  unbearable. All the brow beating and harassment is designed to make a person feel hopeless, and helpless and to give up and pay this unfair unsecured debt before more important payments, like taxes and critical  living expenses.

A  person may or may not find out that  a debt collector is proceeding with a lawsuit against him or her related to that old credit card.  They may feel paralyzed or trapped in the debt.

But there are many legitimate ways to fight a credit card lawsuit.  You do not have to  just give up.  Consumer protection attorney Aurora Dawn Harris has a heart for those who are economically oppressed.  She will aggressively fight for your consumer rights.

Use the contact form at this link to get in touch with Aurora Dawn Harris.

California Senate Bill 94 Update

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 11th, 2009
SIGNED: October 11th, 2009

Senate Bill 94 prohibits any person — including a real estate licensee or California attorney — from offering or negotiating “foreclosure rescue” or “loan modification” services where an advance fee is charged before performing all services provided in the contract. The law also requires written notification be included in the contract to inform homeowners that the services of these intermediaries are not required.

California Notaries and Signing Agents have been asked to accept assignments from foreclosure rescue and loan modification companies seeking to intervene between a homeowner and lender by providing services to renegotiate a mortgage or to postpone or preclude foreclosure. Because the new law prohibits the collection of any type of advance fee by a foreclosure rescue company, California Notaries and Signing Agents should not agree to perform an assignment that asks the Notary or Signing Agent to obtain a check for advance fees.

Foreclosure rescue companies are also prohibited from taking a power of attorney from a client.

Attorneys General across the nation are warning Notaries not to accept work from “Mortgage Rescue” firms.

View the text of the law, details about the changes and an NNA analysis here here

SUMMARY: If you are asked by anyone to pre-pay for services regarding the renegotiation of your mortgage, don’t.  It is now illegal in the State of California to require such a payment.

Strength In Times Of Trouble

The times, they are a-changing, is the title of an old Bob Dylan song from the  nineteen sixties.  You may be too young to remember it, or too old even, but the theme of the song was no more true back then, when flower power and peace and love were going to overtake the world, than it is today.

Today, however, the changes seem to be more raw.  Whether it is concern about economic collapse, loss of a job or jobs or the inability to find a new job, mounting credit card debt or having purchased an automobile only to find it is a lemon, change can cause a great deal of stress.

Having your credit card maxed out and then receiving notification from the bank that your interest rate is being raised to 30%, and / or your balance lowered, or missing your mortgage payments, or health care insurance payments, or worrying about an invisible 401k, these are all stress creating.  Maybe it is simpler for you, perhaps you were using your credit cards to buy food and now that the bank has lowered your credit limit you are wondering where you are going to get money to buy food for your family.

It may very well be that you need the assistance of a competent attorney.  We have a number of them available, depending on your particular needs, in our offices here at The Honest Lawyer Online.  If you don’t feel you can afford legal services it may be that the Christian Legal Aid Office, also in our building, can be of assistance.  But,don’t be discouraged ! Because…

There is HOPE !  In the midst of these trials, there is always hope.  As long as you have hope for the future you can carry on in the certain knowledge that whatever you are struggling with will pass.  If that hope is in Jesus Christ you can not only know that you have a much brighter future, but also that He will be with you through these troubles, standing by you and, as the “Footsteps” poem relates, carrying you when you are too weary to walk yourself.

If you do not know Jesus Christ as your savior, I urge you to start looking for Him.  He is waiting for you.  He loves you, and His church will likely be very willing to help you deal with your struggles.  Look around your neighborhood for a good strong Bible believing church near you and go and visit them one Sunday.  Sit quietly in the back if you want to just test the waters.  Or, ask one of your friends if they have faith, or know someone that does.  You’ll be surprised how many people around you are people of faith.  They’re there, just seek them.

Jesus tells us:  “Seek and you will find,  knock and the door will be opened”.  If you feel that this might be something that you would like to do it is probably because He is standing at the door of your heart and knocking.  Let Him in.  He is the greatest source of strength and comfort available to man.

Proverbs 3, verses 5 and 6 say it all so succinctly:

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.


An Introduction To Bankruptcy

Welcome.  My name is Rob Curatola and I specialize in bankruptcy law.

Many people qualify for bankruptcy protection from creditors.  In the U.S. everyone has the right to apply for the cancellation of debts every seven years and this is as it should be.

The Bible also supports the cancellation of debts every seven years.  The Biblical support for the legal right to cancel debt is enforced by the even stronger Biblical doctrine that prohibited interest or any amount rather than the excessive interest we see today from the credit card industry.

The Old Testament is full of examples of the compassionate treatment of the poor, and with the presevation of the family.  These goals were superior to the material concerns of repayment of debt.

Today many individuals and families are seeking bankruptcy protection in a world where it is becoming increasingly more difficult to make ends meet.  Often times debt accumulates because of unexpected job loss or the accumulation of medical bills because of unplanned for injuries, accidents or illnesses.

A consultation with a qualified and compassionate lawyer can answer a lot of your questions on whether bankruptcy is the right option for you.

Contact Robert J. Curatola at (714) 474-5740 or by using the contact form for a confidential free consultation.