i am a US citizen now living abroad for work
I got a summons to a court for a civil issue, it was delivered to a place I used to live in Illinois. The person there sent it to me by mail to my location out of the country. Am I required to do anything because I was not served in person. Note: the person at the place the summons was served is not a relative of mine.
What are the consequences if I ignore the summons that was mailed to me?
Child Support Lawyer
The purpose of the "Service of process" rules was to provide a format where someone who was being sued, would know about it. Technically you could fight it on a procedural ground, but generally judge's won't bite since you now "know" about it (And I'm presuming you still have time to file an answer).
Generally if you ignore the summons, default judgment is entered against you and there is no going back. Whatever you owe, you owe.
If you want to contest it, I recommend you contact the appropriate bar association for a list of attorney's in your area that concentrate in your issue.
Lawsuit / Dispute Attorney
The Indiana lawyer is wrong. Illinois rules are very strict. You can fight and should fight this. 735 ILCS 5/ Code of Civil Procedure says you have to be served in person or served at your place of abode through a family member. To avoid any further action, you can file a motion to quash (hire an attorney) to challenge the jurisdiction of the court over you and your assets.
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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney
The first thing you need to do 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.”
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!
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.
Mr. Brinkmeier is correct and the others are not. This was not proper service and would be subject to challenge; however, you would need an attorney to challenge service, as the court might assume service was alright and enter a default against you if you just fail to show up.
My firm would be happy to talk with you to determine how we can be of service.