You Have Been Served a Summons – What Now?
If you have been served a summons for delinquent, unsecured debt or if you feel it is likely that you will be served, remaining constantly fear-ridden is unacceptable. A summons presents a set of legal issues you don't want to face on your own. You have, probably, already asked yourself: Where do I go from here?
May I suggest you give the office of James Foley PLLC a call, as quickly as possible. I am an experienced debt-collection defense attorney; and I would like to put your mind at ease by saying I can help! If losing a portion of your assets due to a lawsuit is a concern, and if you want to take financial control of your life, once again, being supported by strong legal counsel can make all the difference in the world.
Contacting me, immediately, would be to your benefit – under Texas law, you may have as few as 14 days, from the date of being served, to avoid a default judgment. A default judgment being issued against you by the creditor or collection agency would mean you have reached the end of the road in terms of defending yourself; and the plaintiff would be entitled to everything requested in the lawsuit. Depending on your circumstances, you could be forced to relinquish personal and/or business property as payment for your unpaid debt; and that could include monetary assets in one or more bank accounts.
Debt-collection defense is my passion and my area of expertise for the residents of Fort Worth. I encourage you to read the insightful information, below, and then call me at: 817-738-1633. I can serve as your powerful legal ally, and would be with you, from start to finish.
Delinquent Credit Card Debt Can Get Messy
Unpaid credit card debt that is, even recently, past due can open up a very big can of worms, so to speak. If creditors have the slightest reason to believe their owed money could be in jeopardy (such as a single missed payment), they will waste little time with utilizing every legal resources to retrieve money they feel they are owed. In some cases, unethical or illegal methods are implemented to get what they want and prey on your unfamiliarity with the law.
Consequences of unpaid credit card debt include:
*** severe decline of your credit rating
*** inflated fees, penalties and/or interest rates on balances due
*** continual calls from creditors or collection agencies
*** frozen bank accounts or savings accounts
*** seizure of business property or personal property
*** the serving of a citation
*** the filing of a lawsuit, against you
It should be noted that, in some cases, bankruptcy can be the best avenue to choose. Through Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, you could retain your property while paying all or part of the debt. With Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, you lose little or no property as well as being able to discharge your credit-card liability. Through a complementary case assessment, I could help you determine your best financial direction.
Being Served the Summons
The mere thought of an unsecured-debt law suit from a creditor, a collection agency, or a lawyer representing those two entities, can feel very intimidating and surreal. The reality is in your face, however; and it begins with the filing of a complaint or petition with the court. The complaint includes information concerning the debtor such as: his or her name, the reason for the pending lawsuit, the date by which the debtor would need to file a formal response, and the total amount owed which could include the plaintiff's attorney fees and interest.
Along with the complaint, a summons would be issued which would indicate that the debtor is being, officially, sued. Once the complaint and summons are hand-delivered to the debtor, the act of being officially 'served' will have taken place. Usually, the serving of these documents takes places at the debtor's home or place of employment by a uniformed police officer or a plain-clothed professional process server. If the debtor is not available to receive the papers, the server can present the documents to another adult; and the debtor would receive mailed copies.
Please note: 1) If the server of the documents appears in civilian clothing and arrives in an unmarked vehicle, he or she is a legal representative of the court and has full authorization to serve papers, as much as if the serving were performed by a uniformed police officer and 2) If you find yourself being sued by a debt-buyer you are totally unfamiliar with, do not treat it lightly. A legitimate debt buyer can fully challenge you with a lawsuit, in court. Don't tackle this on your own! As your much-needed legal representative, I would take your burden and place in on my shoulders and guide you, every step of the way.
Ignoring Your Summons Can Spell Disaster
A summons will stick to you like Super Glue, so choosing to ignore it or procrastinating with addressing it won't make it disappear. As noted, in Texas you may have as little as 14 days, from the date of being served, before a default judgment could be issued against you. By not properly addressing your summons, any bank accounts, savings, tools, jewelry, vehicles, business equipment and other valuable assets could be confiscated to help pay the unpaid debt.
Your summons will have wordage similar to this: “You are, hereby, required to appear and defend the complaint filed against you...”, the words, “to appear” mean you must file a legal paper with the court called a “motion” or “answer”. The motion or answer must be fashioned in proper, legal format; and I would be able to do this for you and submit it to the court clerk or administrator.
Laws are in Place to Protect You
There are various aspects of the law designed to protect debtors dealing with debt-collection lawsuits:
1. Statute of Limitations
The statue of limitations, regarding your debt collections, could work in your favor. If enough time has passed, all collectors could be forced to stop action against you. There are a few conditions, however, that must be satisfied. Firstly, the time period for the statute of limitations starts on the last date of activity on the account. This is not, necessarily, synonymous with the date of the first non-payment.
Whenever an action is taken on a delinquent account, the statue of limitations will restart!
Debtors can, unwittingly, restart the statute of limitations by:
*** verifying their owed debt
*** making a payment, regardless of how small
*** entering a payment plan
*** making an agreement to payment
*** making a charge on the account
*** accepting a settlement offer
Secondly, the debtor/defendant must prove, in a court of law, that the account does meet the state's statute-of-limitations guidelines. If proof is inadequate, the plaintiff would win and a judgment would be issued against the defendant.
2. Inability to Prove Ownership of the Account
Often times, creditors will assign delinquent debt to debt-buyers. If a debt-buyer owns your account and cannot prove that the amount you owe is correct, it would be to your advantage. Also, a debt-buyer may not be able to prove you owe the debt, at all. If so, you would have grounds to possibly pursue a collection lawsuit. Some debt-collection agencies have received multimillion-dollar fines in penalties and restitution to consumers for abuse and violations.
3. Inability to Authenticate Documents
The number of debt collectors in the US runs into the thousands; and they take the form of collection companies, law firms and debt-buyers. You might, already, be familiar with Midland Funding or Portfolio Recovery which are well-known.
Debt collectors must validate the documents of the original creditor; but if they cannot, it could be to your benefit. In many states, a creditor or debt collector suing for collection must 1) attach a copy of the account, written contract, or agreement to the complaint or 2) state, in the complaint, why the account or document is not attached. If this 'attachment rule' is not adhere to, you may be able to get the lawsuit dismissed.
Possible Outcomes of Debt-Collection Lawsuits
1. A Dismissal of the Case
A dismissal of the case is what any defendant would wish for! However, if your case is dismissed it may not be as cut and dry as you might expect. If certain errors contributed to the dismissal, creditors can re-sue the defendant. The good news is, when creditors are challenged by competent, legal counsel, such as James Foley PLLC, creditors may agree to a type of withdrawl where they would non-suit their case against you. This action would be termed 'without prejudice' since it would involve a ruling that is not based on the merits of the case.
2. A Ruling in Your Favor
A ruling in favor of the defendant is the best, possible news! Here, the creditor or collector can no longer issue legal action against you. But it gets better: you would be able to file for monetary compensation against the creditor. I would be happy to assist you with this as well as get your debt expunged from your credit reports.
3. A Ruling in Favor of the Credit Card Company
A ruling in favor of the credit card company is not good. In this case, the creditor or debt collector would be able to issue a judgment against you. You would be entirely responsible for paying the debt amount stated in the lawsuit as well as, possibly, being forced to pay all court-related costs the creditor or debt collector/buyer incurred. Property liens, bank-account levies, property seizures and more could be up for grabs toward paying off the unpaid debt.
4. An Agreed Settlement
Through an agreed settlement, your case would not have to go to court. Here, the negotiated settlement would take place among the parties, involved; and the plaintiff would agree to give up the right to pursue any further legal action. Ceasing further legal action would be in exchange for receiving a reduced lump-sum payment or an agreed-upon payment schedule. When you settle a debt, be aware that it can negatively impact your credit report for seven years.
Don't Fight This Alone!
Are you tired of the worry associated with your unpaid debt? You want your life back – let's do this together – your peace-of-mind is only a phone call, away! Creditors have powerful attorneys on their side to fight for their rights – shouldn't you?
Call the office of James Foley PLLC, today, for a complimentary case-evaluation in any of these areas:
*** Debt-buyer suits
*** Original-creditor suits
*** Vehicle repossession
*** Loan-deficiency suits
James Foley PLLC
~Debt-Collection Defense & Bankruptcy Attorney~