In a tale of true perseverance and persistence, a Virginia attorney managed to successfully garnish a $60,000 default judgement plus interest after using social media to track the defendant down.
The default judgement was handed down in Virginia Beach Circuit Court after the defendant failed to appear to fight the lawsuit.
Virginia Beach attorney Jeffrey F. Brooke, who represented the plaintiff in the case, said this was one of the more unique cases he’s taken on.
“I’ve been practicing law a fairly long time,” he said. “This case was by far the most interesting one I’ve taken.”
Sudden movement leads to injury
The defendant, Lexus Armel Lewis, was in the custody of a sheriff’s deputy conducting a routine transport of Lewis. Lewis made a sudden movement to try and escape, and the deputy who was holding onto him twisted his knee, experiencing a dislocated patella as a result.
The deputy had surgery to repair the injury and received workers’ compensation. But a third-party claim for damages against Lewis was sought.
Brooke said even with the lawsuit, the odds of actually recovering damages were slim.
Social media investigation
Brooke employed the services of Norfolk investigative firm Ciccotti & Buckley after attempts to reach Lewis regarding the suit failed.
Lewis was a rapper that went by the stage name of “Lex Luger”, and Brooke said they even tried to reach Lewis through his management company in southeastern Virginia to no avail.
That’s where Ciccotti & Buckley came in.
“Eventually through his social media and YouTube we were able to track Lewis down at one of his shows in Virginia Beach,” Brooke said.
The process server acted as a fan of Lewis to get backstage to receive an autograph in order to serve Lewis with the lawsuit.
Even after serving, Lewis didn’t retain counsel for the matter, and when Brooke and the deputy appeared in Virginia Beach Circuit Court, that’s when they received the default judgement for $60,000 plus interest.
Eventually, after more social media digging, they traced Lewis back to the Atlanta area and found out the name of Lewis’ record label.
Brooke found Atlanta business litigation attorney Edwin Cook, who helped domesticate the suit in Gwinnett County Circuit Court. Still, Lewis and his label didn’t respond.
Cook filed three garnishments, and over the course of several months, the damages were recovered.
“We were pleased with the results, and we certainly appreciate the efforts of Ciccotti & Buckley and Edwin for all the work they did for us,” Brooke said. “We weren’t expecting to get very far, but through a lot of persistent digging and monitoring we got the results we wanted.”