Asked over 2 years ago - Arlington, TXFlag
I recently received a Citation that I am being sued by Target National bank for a credit card debt that I owe. It says I am commanded to appear by filing a written answer to the Plantiffs petition in about 2 weeks. I called the firm that is suing me to set up a settlement and was transferred to a department where we did set up a settlement in 2 payments. He said once they receive the 2nd payment they would dismiss the case and not pursue further action. As long as I make these 2 settlement payments is there anything else I need to do? Do I need to send a written response? If so how do I respond?
Thanks for your advice.
The first thing you need to do if and when you get sued is file an Answer. The summons will tell you that you must “appear” by way of an Answer in 10, 20 or 30 days, “depending on the method of service.”
PLEASE CHECK THE LAW IN YOUR STATE AS YOU MAY ACTUALLY HAVE TO APPEAR IN COURT, AS IN VIRGINIA, IN ORDER TO AVOID A DEFAULT!
You need a lawyer, but if you cannot afford one right away, rather then do nothing and have a judgment entered against you, is to “appear” by filing something!
Many people think this means they have to go to Court and this is incorrect. 90% of all lawsuits end in Default Judgments because the defendant (person getting sued) did not file an Answer.
I recommend you go to the free form I have on my website. Print it out and fill it out as instructed. You must answer the numbered paragraphs on the Complaint by writing them into the appropriate lines in the Answer. The Answer will allow you to preserve your rights and will prohibit a default judgment (i.e. you did not show up) from being entered against you.
Mimic the paperwork you got when you got sued. Answer all the paragraphs of the Complaint by writing the numbers in lines 1, 2 or 3.
Almost 100% of attorneys will deny what is owed because they did not do the calculations and do not know what the basis for the number is…
When you file the Answer that is your “not guilty”. You have the right to make the person suing you (Plaintiff) prove their case, but you must also answer the complaint truthfully.
Make sure you fill in the name and address of the attorney suing you before you bring this paperwork to the Court. Mail it to the attorney suing you right away!
Check out the guide I have drafted on the Avvo profile. This will provide more detailed instructions. If it is helpful remember to indicate that and get the guide read!
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Disclaimer: This answer does not constitute legal advice. I am admitted in the States of New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts only and make no attempt to opine on matters of law that are not relevant to those three States. This advice is based on general principles of law that may or may not relate to your specific situation. Facts and laws change and these possible changes will affect the advice provided here. Consult an attorney in your locale before you act on any of this advice. You should not rely on this advice alone and nothing in these communications creates an attorney client relationship. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author only and the fact that he has worked as an Assistant District Attorney; State Supreme Court Clerk; Special Assistant United States Attorney (Hawaii); Assistant Cornell University Counsel or Judge Advocate, United States Marine Corps should not be relied upon to assume that these statements reflect the policy of these organizations.
I would not rely on a promise from a lawfirm that they will dismiss a case once you make payments. Have them put it in writing!
In most areas of the country, you need to respond to a complaint in writing by filing a document called an “answer.” The Court may use official forms, and if they do, you can often download this form off the court website. If they don’t use official forms, you will want find an example of an “answer” and follow it as closely as you can.
In an answer, you respond to each claim made against you, sentence by sentence or paragraph by paragraph with one of four phrases - “Admit” (it’s 100% true), “Deny” (it’s 100% false), “Admit in part and Deny in part” (some of it is true, some is false), and “Deny for lack of Information (You don’t know whether it is true or not).
Of course, you must sign the answer & in most places, a notary will need to certify that you were the person that signed the answer and that you signed the answer under penalty of perjury.
Then file the Answer with the Court & wait for a Court date to be scheduled.
Hope this info helps & good luck!
Getting the deal in writing is important. On the other hand, this law firm is a debt collector and may not lie to you in order to induce you to pay. If they set up a payment plan with you and promise to dismiss the case, then they must do what they say or else you may have a claim against the firm under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Be careful about court deadlines, however- if Target is able to get a judgment against you before you make both payments, they may say it's not their fault. So get an agreement for them to stay/stop the case also. But make sure the court doesn't act without your knowledge. Maybe write to the court when you get the lawyer's agreement and notify the court of the agreement. Talk to a local consumer attorney for more advice- find one at the website of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, www.naca.net. Good luck.
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