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Landlord Violates SCRA, Resolved in Favor of Sailor with Pro Bono Legal Help

June 17, 2016

A Navy servicemember received deployment orders, so he properly terminated his lease with his landlord. He paid an additional month’s rent in order to cover any fees charged upon moving out.  The sailor proceeded to vacate his apartment and was not told of any charges against his security deposit or any other fees. However, when the servicemember returned from deployment, he learned that there was a lien on his bank account from a default judgment entered against him by his former landlord while deployed—in violation of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)—and, due to the lien, he would not be able to access his bank account. The sailor was never served notice of the litigation and did not learn of it until he tried to access his account. The sailor, then stationed in another state, needed pro bono help to set aside this order. The ABA Military Pro Bono Project quickly referred the servicemember to a qualified pro bono attorney in the jurisdiction in which he needed court representation. The sailor’s attorney succeeded in getting the default judgment set aside and was able to negotiate a favorable resolution of all claims against the servicemember. As a result, the sailor could refocus on his military duties without the stress of further legal action against him.

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