September 14, 2004

Just another ordeal... No big whoop...

So anyway...

Without going into boring details about why I'm being sued by a creditor (not a credit card company) over non-payment of a loan ($4,800) that I haven't made a payment on in over 2 years, I'm getting sued (for institution of a wage garnishment of 25% of my net) by a creditor (not a card card company) over non-payment of a loan (now balanced at over $9,300 due to lawyer/court/Marshall fees) that I haven't made a payment on in over 2 years.

The only explanation of why this is that I can give very briefly, is: Between the lesser amount of money that I make and the more I must to commit to paying my monthly commitments, let's just say that I have 'tween $800 and $1,000 less per month to play with. I used to eat filet mignon several times a week. Nowadays I sometimes have to search for an old box of macaroni and cheese that's been sitting in the back of the cabinet for two years just to get through to my next paycheck.

On August 11th my employer gave me photocopies of paperwork he'd been delivered by certified mail. It was an order to begin a wage garnishment of 25% of my "discretionary income". "Discretionary income" is defined as my pay after the various federal and state payroll taxes. I guess that one pays for their rent, heat and electricity bills at their discretion.

Anywho, the "Date of Service of Wage Execution on Employer" is dated 30 July '04. My boss took a week to finally get the package from the post office. That aside, there is a 20-day window in which I, the Debtor, may file an "Exemption and Modification Claim Form" on the wage execution. If I file within the 20-day window, the garnishment is nollified pending a scheduled hearing.

I filed the claim form on August 18th (I got it in a day before the deadline). My next paycheck -- and the first that I recieved after the 20-day deadline -- was on August 27th. My employer deducted 25% of the net ($158.64... [yeah, I'm open book here...]) because neither one of us at the time was sure if he was legally bound to do it or not.

On August 28th my employer received the paperwork for my scheduled hearing on 20 Sept 04. He stated that the "good thing" was that he'd never gotten around to mailing the check to the State Marshall's Office.
He wrote me a check for $158.64.

Last Friday was my next payday. My boss walked up slowly with my paycheck in his hand and said,
"Here's the deal. It turns out that I HAD mailed the check. I phoned the Marshall's Office and asked about having it sent back. They told me that they wouldn't return it because you didn't make it to court within 20-days of the service. So, I'm out 158 bucks. I'm deducting $50 from this paycheck just 'cause I know you can't do without the entire amount in one swell foop. We'll start with this and see how we can do the rest later."

Uh..... ooooookay. He handed me a check for $625.70. I will deposit this into my checking acount to cover my incoming rent check of $600. I will then annotate the approximately $11 maintanance/per-check-charges that will be assessed on the 14th. What remains, together with what I had left from my previous paycheck, leaves me with about $40 to live on for two weeks. $30 of that will be eaten up by bus fare so's I can get to work so's I can make more shitty money.

But wait a minute, methinks! The fact that there's a hearing scheduled for the 20th means that they can't collect anything yet! The more I tried to convince my employer that the Marshall's Office was wrong, the more he seemed to want to shrug his shoulders and say "well, what are ya gonna do...?"

So, I followed him as he retreated to the middle office of the shop and I grabbed the phone.
"Do you have the Marshall's number?" I asked.
"Yes, it's 1-203-%#$-&*#%"
"When did you speak to them... this morning?"
"No, it was sometime late last week or early this week"
"Who did you speak to?"
"Her name was 'Kim'"

I dialed the number and got an answering machine. I left a brief message: my name, why I was calling, the CN (docket) number of the case, and asked to be contacted as soon as possible. While it was reasonably early (about 3pm), apparently the office was closed for the weekend 'cause I never got a return call.

Monday morning I went into work and wrote a letter. I faxed it to the Marshall's Office along with copies of the application for Exemption and/or Modification Claim Form. I wrote:

At some point about a week ago, B---- G----, my employer, telephoned your office seeking the return of a check in the amount of $158.64 that he had mistakenly sent in regard to CN:K####.

Mr G---- spoke to Kim, who told him that the check would not be returned since I did not make an application for modification within the 20-day period from the date of Service of Wage Execution to Employer.

Kim was mistaken, as the attached documents plainly show.
Please note that the date of Service on "page 1" is 30 July '04, and my date of claim on "page 2" is 18 Aug '04.
Please also note that a hearing is scheduled for 20 Sept '04 @ 9:30 AM.

As per CT statutes -- and as plainly written near the bottom of "page 1": "No earnings subject to a claim for modification may be withheld from any employee until determination of the claim".

Please return check in the amount of $158.64 payable to B------ G------, ## Blahbiddy Road, Milford, CT 06460 ASAP.


[my signature]

Kim phoned me almost immediately. Within 5 minutes, I tells ya.

"I just fax'ed the material you sent me to the attorney. Just to let you know, it was the attorney that told me not to return the check."

ah HA! I was ready to give Kim the benefit of the doubt for being in the Marshall's Office and, maybe, not having all of the relevent paperwork. But, as it turns out, the refusal to reimburse my boss (me, really, since he was docking my pay to pay for "his" loss) was a directive from my creditor's lawyers. And they. Have. The Paperwork.

I thanked Kim, hung up the phone, and stewed in my own angry juices all day. These bastards are testing my competance, dammit. They're wondering if they can talk me/us into giving up on the 158 bucks. They had my boss hoodwinked and ready to surrender. He'd just pass the loss onto me.
But, they cannot escape the wrath of Tuning Spork and his trusty sword: His belief in the rule of Law, not the rule of Intimidation.

Monday afternoon came and went without word. Tuesday (today) I got into work and checked the fax machine's tray for any word from Kim. Nothin'.

All morning I paced. Working out in my mind just what my next steps would be if the attorney's (whose names you'd know by now - believe you me - if this didn't have a happy ending) had, again, refused to return the check. I waited. I checked the fax machine everytime it beeped.

Finally, around 1pm, I called the Marshall's Office. Kim answered. I told her who I was and that I was calling to get an update on my matter at hand.

"Oh, didn't B--- tell you? I called him early this morning. They're returning the money... it's in the mail... should be there in a few days. I'm surprised he didn't tell you..."

FUCK! Here I was, plotting to get the Connecticut Attorney General's Office crashing in on the Sh--ff Law Firm like a sledgehammer on an under-cooked egg and it's settled. Settled!
They sent. the check. back.

B----- wrote me a check for $50. All is well.

And I'm looking forward to the 20th. Not really. Nevermind, that'll be another post....

Posted by Tuning Spork at September 14, 2004 10:09 PM

Good for you! That's really great that you made the system work for you. Seriously. Dealing with the Marshall's office is never easy and they hate giving up anything. I think they may be paid out of what is collected or seized. I wish I had some CT expertise so I could offer you some assistance.

Posted by: RP at September 15, 2004 08:59 AM

Yay! Well, you won this round anyway.

Posted by: Ted at September 15, 2004 12:35 PM
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