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$14,000 Judgment Against Soldier by HOA Dismissed with Volunteer Legal Help

June 24, 2016

An Army servicemember, while stationed abroad, rented out her condominium. Without her knowledge, the renters failed to pay the homeowner association (HOA) fees and then, unbeknownst to the soldier, the HOA sued her for the fees and a judgment was ordered against her for approximately $14,000. The soldier was never properly served, and she was not aware of this problem until she found that her wages were scheduled to be garnished, likely in violation of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). Meanwhile, the HOA would no longer accept her payments so the amount she owed only continued to grow. Despite the efforts of the soldier’s overseas military attorney to resolve the matter, he was nonetheless unfamiliar with the local court procedures and could not represent her in court. So the ABA Military Pro Bono Project quickly referred the servicemember to a qualified volunteer attorney in the locality in which the lawsuit was brought. After filing multiple pleadings and appearing in several court hearings, the soldier’s pro bono attorney was able to persuade the court to set aside the judgment and dismiss the underlying case against the soldier. Finally, in order to resolve the matter entirely, the servicemember’s pro bono attorney engaged in multiple settlement discussions with the HOA and was ultimately able to obtain a very favorable settlement for the servicemember, allowing her to refocus on her military duties while preserving her wages.

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