- District Court Judge Sarah Weaver and staff at Farmington Judicial District 11th Court have been working on debt and money owed settlement as well as foreclosure settlement programs since January 2020.
- The goal of each program is to provide plaintiffs and defendants the opportunity to resolve a lawsuit without a judge making a decision.
- For those who lack funds, the program could charge on a sliding scale based on party income.
FARMINGTON – County court officials want the public to know about two programs created to help residents navigate debt garnishment and collection cases in a way that helps prevent people from being overwhelmed by the court process .
District Court Judge Sarah Weaver and the staff of the Eleventh Farmington Judicial District Court have been working on the Debt and Amounts Due Settlement Program as well as the Foreclosure Settlement Program since January 2020. Both programs have been launched. in November.
The goal of each program is to provide plaintiffs and defendants the opportunity to resolve a lawsuit without a judge making a decision.
New Mexico reopens:Governor drops restrictions on pandemic on July 1
This would allow the parties involved to potentially reduce the number of cases and court hearings, which could reduce the cost of handling the case.
Justice Weaver understands how a person can be scared or overwhelmed when they are sued for money owed.
She said she hopes the programs will help both sides find an out-of-court plan to pay off the debt for which the defendants are being sued.
“This is actually a good opportunity for people to take control of their lives, to take control of their debt,” Justice Weaver said in an interview.
Judge Weaver believes the moratoriums on foreclosures may end on June 30, creating a big wave of foreclosures filed against homeowners in the near future.
Local News:Navajo Nation Council Fires CFO, Acting Replacement Appointed
How many debt and money cases does San Juan County see?
The data provided by the court details the impact of the programs on reducing the number of default judgments.
A default judgment Is a court decision rendered by a judge when a party to the trial does not appear in the case, usually the defendant.
Debt and money owed cases represented 69% of all civil cases filed in San Juan County District Court in 2019, and 1,421 of 2,062 civil cases were debt-related. Foreclosures accounted for 6.4 percent, with 132 cases filed in district court.
There were no default judgments in 2021 for the 13 foreclosure cases and only seven of the 498 debt and money owed cases this year (1.4%) resulted in default judgments.
The program uses a settlement facilitator to help resolve the case in court. The facilitator works with both parties to find a resolution they can agree on. Several local lawyers have been hired to work on these cases.
Each party is billed $ 125 an hour to resolve the case, about half the average lawyer rate, Justice Weaver said.
For those who lack funds, the program could charge on a sliding scale based on party income.
Those interested for more information can call the Farmington District Court at 505-326-2256 or visit https://eleventhdistrictcourt.nmcourts.gov/individual-settlement-facilitation/
Joshua Kellogg covers the latest news for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or by email at [email protected].
Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/2I6TU0e