Bill of Review
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A Bill of Review is a way to attack a judgment and try to get it vacated. A Bill of Review typically must be filed within 4 years of the date of the judgment.
If you have a recent judgment within the last 2 to 4 weeks, then you should seek to file a motion for new trial. If your judgment is older than a Bill of Review may be an option. You have 4 years to file a Bill of Review. You technically could file it after 4 years but you would have to prove some type of extrinsic fraud. This is a very difficult task.
Usually a Bill of Review is filed because the consumer was never served with the lawsuit. If you recently discovered a judgment against you from years ago, then a Bill of Review should be considered. Typically you need significant proof that you were not served. For instance, maybe you were not living at the residence that the Plaintiff claims you were served at. Obtaining affidavits from others to prove this will help your cause.
Burden of Proof
Simply saying that you were not served with the original lawsuit is not enough. Obtaining affidavits from others, as well as documentation that you were not served is beneficial. Perhaps you were out of town at the time of alleged service. You will need some proof of this.
Often settlement is the best option for a Bill of Review depending on the circumstances of your situation. The Judgment creditor is often much more willing to negotiate a judgment settlement if you have filed a Bill of Review and you have an experienced debt defense attorney representing you. If settlement is not considered, then the matter will go to trial and the judge will determine if the judgment should stand or should be vacated.
Winning a Bill of Review
Vacating a judgment with a Bill of Review does not mean the debt goes away. This simply means that the lawsuit on the debt will move forward and the default judgment is vacated. Thus, you will still have to prove that no debt is owed if a Bill of Review is successful. This is why settlement is often the best way to go in a Bill of Review proceeding.