Thursday, February 18, 2010

What happens if you ignore a lawsuit?


pittsburgh, pa, personal injury, judgment, collection, enforcement

Several years ago, we filed a complaint against a Pittsburgh dentist for dental malpractice. As a result of his negligent dentistry my client, a very sweet and unassuming mother of two, suffered catastrophic infections of her teeth and gums that led to all of her teeth having to be pulled.

The dentist’s response? Nothing. For years we notified him of the complaint and gave him every opportunity to respond or obtain legal representation. He never did a thing. With no other choice and wanting to do what was best for our client, we obtained a default judgment. Thereafter, we instituted collection proceedings and ultimately had a sheriff serve a writ of execution on the doctor personally. This notified the doctor that in thirty days we would come and sell off all of the property in his dental practice. Despite this, the doctor kept with the “head in the sand” response and, I can only assume, hoped this would all magically go away.

Well it didn’t.

Today, with the help of some friends, the sheriff and a locksmith, we entered the practice, conducted a sheriff sale and began unloading everything within onto a U-Haul. Realizing that what he thought could never happen was happening, the dentist came up with a portion of the judgment and then signed an agreement to provide the rest of the money in the near future.

The sad part of it all is that had the dentist simply responded to the complaint and addressed the matter from the outset his ultimate financial exposure would have been much less.

Normally the civil legal system is, well, civil. But when people disregard the process they become subject to the less talked about and much more brutal side of things. While this was not a pleasant experience it was certainly an educational one. Never disregard a legal document served upon you. Do your research and/or contact a lawyer immediately. Share this post :
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