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Do I need to include Affirmative Defense on my Answer for a Debt Collections law suite summons?

Seattle, WA |

I am being sued for some unpaid medical bills. I would like to submit my Answer without stating any Affirmative Defense. I would like to first see any supporting documentation they have for the claims, before I chose the Affirmative Defense.

Can I do so? Is it a good or bad idea?

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Attorney answers 4

Posted

Bad idea. With many affirmative defenses, if you don't submit them with your Answer, you may be precluded from asserting them.

Hope this perspective helps!

Asker

Posted

Thank you! What if I include as many as I think are possibly applicable, can I withdraw them later, based on information provided by the plaintiff?

Dorothy G Bunce

Dorothy G Bunce

Posted

There wouldn't be any need to withdraw your affirmative defense from your pleading.

Asker

Posted

so should I include all the Affirmative Defenses I want, just in case?

Dorothy G Bunce

Dorothy G Bunce

Posted

Yep, assuming they apply to you. For example, unless you have filed bankruptcy, don't allege "Discharged in Bankruptcy" as an Affirmative Defense. You are submitting the Answer under penalty of perjury!

Asker

Posted

can I include fraud, because there was incorrect billing? Thank you for all your help with this!

Posted

Is the debt being pursued by the original creditor, a collector for the service provider, or a party who purchased the debt? If not the original creditor (ie, hospital, doctor), was information provided proving that they have ownership of the debt and the right to sue you? You will need to check with an attorney licensed in Washington, but it may be possible to file a motion to dismiss the lawsuit based on their inability to prove the have a proper interest in the case. Good luck to you.

Disclaimer: The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create, an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the states of Illinois and Michigan. Responses are answers to general legal questions and the inquiring party should consult a local attorney for specific answers to questions.

Asker

Posted

Thank you! It's a collector for the service provider. So far, I haven't seen any proof that they have the ownership of the debt, all I have is the court summons and the complaint. The complaint claims that the debt has been assigned to plaintiff for collection. So I should enter that as one of my Affirmative Defenses, it sounds like? Any advice on what that's called?

Posted

If this is small claims court, you won't get information on ownership ahead of time unless you dispute it. File your answer and raise your defenses. Do not risk waiving them and do not play ambush litigation. You will lose.

Mr. Goldstein is a Virginia-licensed attorney only. The information is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation. Answering this question does not in any way constitute legal representation. Contacting Mitchell Goldstein or the Goldstein Law Group does not constitute legal representation, nor is any information you provide protected by attorney-client privilege until otherwise advised.

Posted

You could answer without stating affirmative defenses, but that is a bad idea. If you don't state your affirmative defenses you waive them.

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