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Michael Wayne Weston
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Michael Weston’s Answers

305 total


  • I am being sued for defaulting on a shell gas card back in October 2012. What are my options for trying to handle this.

    I didn't default intentionally and the corporation suing me is asking for $2001.55. When I defaulted, the amount I owed was $1423.47. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks and have a great day.

    Michael’s Answer

    First it's important to understand the amount in controversy. They are suing for $2001.55 but if they get a judgment they will tack on attorneys fees, court costs and post judgment interest. The total liability here is easily $3000 or more with the balance doubling in about 5 years or so. That being said, there are debt defense lawyers that charge about $500 or so to defend small collection lawsuits. So it often makes sense financially to have representation.

    The options are to file an answer and get some leverage back from the creditor. They still need to prove the case. Often a resolution can be worked out but if you don't have an attorney and you don't file an answer they will likely want an agreed judgment for the full balance. Seek out some debt defense lawyers here on avvo.

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  • Being sued by debt collector...what are my options?

    Being sued by Portfolio Recovery for $1685.58 on JCPenney credit account. Copy of JCP bill in lawsuit show charge off of account on 7/16/2010. Affidavit is dated 11/10/2014. Citation issued 1/23/2015. Served papers in person 3/11/2015. Made ...

    Michael’s Answer

    First - 20% for a PRA lawsuit is not realistic so most likely the "deal" you got is them taking a payment that they will credit towards the alleged balance due so you can restart the SOL and then come after you for the remainder of the debt. This is why it's never a good idea to deal with collectors directly, they are not your friend.

    I think that calling them is going to be a waste, they will still take the money out. You need to get your bank to stop it and you may need to close your account prior to 3/31 if they won't help. You should also send written notice to PRA that you are not agreeing for them to take any money from your checking account so they don't try to allege a separate breach of contract..

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  • Can a judgement attach to your homestead . I am also disabled and need to sell to reduce my housing cost.

    judgment on homesteaded home and disabled on a fixed income and need to sell to downgrade my expense for housing. The judgement is very old.

    Michael’s Answer

    You need to do a partial release of lien pursuant to Texas Property Code 51.0012.

    Instead of reading the property code and potentially holding up the closing even more, you should consider paying a flat fee to an attorney to handle this so you can move forward with the sale of your homestead.

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  • Can a motion for judgment (debt collection) be filed after "SOL", with original suit filed within the SOL?

    I'm in Texas---statute of limitations began Jan 2010, collection agency filed suit against me in 2012, I never heard from anyone since 2012, now they have filed a "motion for judgment" December 2014 w/ court date of 2/13/15-------after original st...

    Michael’s Answer

    It's definitely not a done deal. To defeat a motion for summary judgment you need to show a fact issue. Doing this is hard without an attorney because your response has to be in writing and timely. Consult with some debt defense firms that charge flat fees to see what the best route here.

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  • Default judgment

    What happens if i never responded and a default judgment is now against me. Do i have to respond to make payments? Or will they start billing me? The judgment is for $120,000.

    Michael’s Answer

    You may be able to vacate the judgment if it was recent and you have a decent reason as to why you did not file an answer. Once it's vacated you have more leverage and could potentially work out a deal with the creditor or fight the case depending on the facts. More information is needed.

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  • How should my daughter proceed with payment request letters from collection agencies totaling approximately $10,000?

    My daughter has racked up about $10,000 in medical bills from a car accident, a personal loan, a demand letter from Wal Mart for shoplifting (court costs have been paid for this and the items were returned), and a variety of other bills. She wor...

    Michael’s Answer

    Bankruptcy for only $10,000 of debt is overkill in my opinion. They may agree to settlements but this would involve written settlement agreements. Be sure no money is paid based on "verbal" agreements with any creditors. If nothing is done they may file lawsuits in the future to collect the debt.

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  • Is there such a thing as putting too much in a general denial?

    I have a small claims debt collection lawsuit filed against me. I have seen sample general denials that are short and sweet. Others cite case law and seem to include specific denials and a plea for dismissal citing lack of standing. I do not wa...

    Michael’s Answer

    A general denial is typically short and sweet. You don't need to cite case law. That being said, you are required to list any other defenses you have. These are called "affirmative defenses.". You said you don't want to reveal your defense but Courts do not allow"trial by ambush". For instance, if you have a statute of limitations defense, but you don't put this in your answer, then most likely won't be able to argue it at trial. Same goes for "payment" - meaning you paid the account already. These aren't defenses that you can bring up for the first time at trial. Honestly these creditors have thousands of cases so any defense you list will likely not change the way they prosecute the case. If anything, you want them to dismiss the case if you can prove you have a good defense.

    If the plan is to simply say they don't have standing to sue you because they are a debt buyer, I can tell you that likely isn't going to work. Case law allows for creditors to sell debt to each other so long as they can show evidence of the assignment. The best defenses in my experience is to attack the Plaintiffs evidence for one reason or another and then convince the Court that they have not met their burden of proof. You should consider hiring a debt defense firm on a flat fee.

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  • I'm in Austin, TX. My civil citation was served to me but it was not endorsed or dated by the process server.

    I am being sued for debt collection. I was told I have 14 days from the date I was served to file an answer with the court, and if the 14th day falls on a weekend or holiday, then I have until the first business day after the 14th day to file my a...

    Michael’s Answer

    As previously discussed, this does not affect your rights in the case. If you argue you were not served the process server will argue you were and there will likely be a default judgment granted against you if you do not file an answer. Obviously it's best to get an answer on file. Consider hiring a debt defense firm on a flat fee because these cases typically end up with a judgment for the creditor if there is no consumer attorney on your side.

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  • Need to file Original Answer within 14 days of being served but JP Court offices are closed due to holiday break.

    I was served by a credit collection company on December 16, answer is due in 14 days on Tuesday December 30th. The court that I need to file with is Closed from December 24 until January 5th which is after my 14 day window. The Court is Ruckel, Ju...

    Michael’s Answer

    Presumably you were able to avoid a default. The next step in a debt collection lawsuit is to defend the case. The Plaintiff may file a motion for summary judgment soon and this will require a written response from you.

    Discovery is not allowed without Court approval in justice Courts so you want to take steps to ensure you are not blindsided at trial. The Plaintiff may not produce any documents to you and instead will simply show up at trial with documents and try to get a judgment for the full balance plus attorneys fees and costs. If they offer you a settlement, try to avoid an "agreed judgment" if at all possible.

    You should consider retaining a debt defense law firm on a flat fee. You may end up saving money in the long run.

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  • Just recieved a certified letter about writ of garnishment how long before they can sieze my account

    does this happen right away or do I have time to fight this ? should I take money out as soon as possible

    Michael’s Answer

    There is not much that can be done to fight a garnishment. The arguments against owing the debt should have been argued in the original lawsuit but that has already been decided against you. The best thing to do is stop any future direct deposits and open a new bank account. You should seek to get a release of the judgment so this doesn't happen again. The judgment creditor may work with you on a release if they were able to garnish anything. Another option to discharge a judgment is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

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