In May 2021, Rodney Hawkins called the DC Debt Collection Defense Hotline after all the money in his bank account was garnished based on a judgment from 18 years ago. Legal Aid attorney Zenia Laws investigated the case and learned the garnishment stemmed from a default judgment that expired in 2015. Even though the judgment was no longer legally enforceable, the creditor was somehow able to register it as a foreign judgment in the State of Maryland and issue a writ of attachment on Mr. Hawkins’ bank account.
Mr. Hawkins was surprised because he never got notice about a collections case and didn’t know the judgment existed prior to the garnishment. Sadly, he did recall the early 2000s as a rough period in his life when he faced addiction, eviction, and ultimately, homelessness. Having turned his life around, Mr. Hawkins was disheartened to see his rent and bill money taken away from him without any warning. With Legal Aid’s help, the creditor agreed to return Mr. Hawkins’ money, vacate the foreign judgment, and dismiss its case with prejudice.
“Ms. Zenia, she was a jewel," Mr. Hawkins said. "She took care of it, and she explained that this would never come up again.”