Paul Hooten & Associates / Paul Hooten & Ripping People Off
I had a similar situation happen to me. I went to buy groceries a couple months back and my debit card wouldn't go through. I wondered why, because I pay all of my bills and didn't think that I had any outstanding debts. It turns out that Paul J Hooten's office had a levy on my bank account as well!
I tried calling the office, and I got the voicemail too. I never got a phone call back, but when I called again, I was able to speak to a representative. At first I did not know what to expect, I was only given Paul Hooten's name and phone number from my bank, and had no idea what this was for!
It turns out that I had a surgery a few years ago, and the anesthesia was never paid for by my insurance company. The lady in Paul's office gave me the court information and I went to re-open the case. I thought that Paul Hooten was doing the same thing that happened to you, but I found out at the court date that it was all legit. I was told that my insurance company did not pay and left me responsible for the bill. Apparently, several attempts were made to contact me, but I moved and they never got my new address.
It was a few years later when I found out! Paul Hooten's office was helpful and directed me to taking care of the bill. Even though I thought the bill was paid, it never was, and left me paying a lot more than I should have.
I consulted an attorney who told me that a judgment is a legal document that displays the debted amount owed, and is enforceable for 20 years!! It certainly was not Paul Hooten's fault, he was just trying to collect the money back for his clients and I completely understand what you are going through! And, my attorney showed me the Suffolk County Clerk's website that you can search your judgment online! A judgment is public record and can hurt your credit.
I would suggest contacting Paul Hooten's office and being very nice to them on the phone. If you call screaming or yelling, they will probably just hang up on you! Explain to them the situation, and what you can do to resolve the bill. If you're like me, had a surgery and insurance who didn't pay, maybe you should go after the insurance company and not Paul Hooten's office!
Thank you, Paul Hooten, for resolving this matter professionally. I would say to pay the bill as soon as possible, to clear your name and your debt. You are the one who had the surgery and you are the one who is responsible for following up on the bill to make sure everybody is paid. You're probably like me - I got many letters from the anesthesia company and never called them to ask why they were billing me. I thought that it was paid when they stopped harassing me, but it turns out that Paul Hooten was trying to collect.
Good luck with your judgment and your bank account! Once you find out what it's for, you should get your credit report and see if any other judgments or collection items are on it, and if so, contact the company or lawyers office to resolve them. Not only will you make a good faith effort to clear your debts, but you will clean your credit report and your name wont be smeared.