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Theodore Lyons Araujo
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Theodore Araujo’s Answers

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  • I was served papers for a summons and formal complaint.

    My elderly mom was served papers by Forster & Garbus for Barcleys Bank! She is unsure as to what she charged that equals 7000.00 and change. Need advice! Appreciate any help. Thank you Lisa Gordon

    Theodore’s Answer

    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 than 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!

    Good Luck!

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  • How do I change to “Pro Se”? Can I do it myself?

    I have a lawyer helping me with divorce case, but now the case is pretty much over and I want to save money and do remaining “future work ” myself going forward or hire a “less expensive” lawyer to help me when I can’t handle myself. How do I chan...

    Theodore’s Answer

    If most of the work is done perhaps you can get a lower fee from current counsel? getting familiar with a case can be costly. Going pro se can be done if there are no children, no property distribution and this was a low income household. there are legal aid resources available as well. You can always substitute counsel. be open about this with your current attorney.

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  • I am considering filing for a chapter 13 bankruptcy. I was told that New York State has lenient bankruptcy laws.

    I was told that I can settle my debt for less than 10 cents on the dollar. I owe 5 banks over $300,000. I have a very limited income but I can get access to enough money to pay off my debts is at 10 percent of each total as well as the applicable ...

    Theodore’s Answer

    If you have limited income you may qualify for a Chapter 7 case which gets rid of the debt for nothing. Mr. Schwartz is correct to point out the tax problem, most of the tax debt will be non-dischargeable and could cause more harm than the original debt.

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  • When the Stay is Lifted how do we reopen? Do we need an attorney? We are attorney poor, over $4,000 and lost rent $11,000.

    We have the tenant from Hell. Tenant filed Chapter 13 in December 2015, as they already filed Chapter 7 in 2012. We hired a bankruptcy attorney, requested the Stay be Lifted in February as they never made one Adequate Protection Payment for thei...

    Theodore’s Answer

    Since this is the second 13 in a year the stay will only stay effective for 30 days unless the debtor brings a motion to continue the stay. If the debtor does this you should object. However I would allow the 30 days to pass. At that point there is no stay and even if the debtor files again there will be no effective stay.

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  • How do I go about placing information within my court file just for informational purposes?

    I am a self-litigant and I have recently looked at my civil case court file which is very lacking in informational support of my case. I would like to place some additional supportive information within my file so at least there is supportive defe...

    Theodore’s Answer

    You cannot just add things to the file. Did you Answer? Have you brought Motions? There are times in the life of the case that require that you make a record but it is not random.

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  • If a creditor is filing an objection but has not filed a POC in BK13 case. Can his objection is considered valid without POC?

    In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a creditor is filing an objection against debtor's confirmation plan. But he has not filed a POC against the secured debt. The secured debt is time barred and debtor is not paying to the secured debt citing SOL. So ...

    Theodore’s Answer

    First, in today's climate, you're lucky the bank has appeared. Even if the SOL ran prior to the filing of the bankruptcy (bankruptcy stays the running of any and all causes of action) that would not remove the mortgage or dilute the enforceability of a foreclosure action. In bankruptcy the secured debt on the residence cannot be modified as well. And it is frequently the case that the secured creditor objects to confirmation before filing a POC. It takes months to accurately put together the new "410" POC form. Confirmation in many jurisdictions is scheduled to take place before the bar date to filing POC's and again if the secured creditor does not file POC you would have had to file it yourself under your own objection to include the claim.

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  • My car got towed. I fought the parking ticket and won (not guilty). NYC won't refund because it's privately towed. What to do?

    I fought the ticket (obstructing driveway), and won : NOT GUILTY, $0 owned. Today, I faxed my tow refund ($350) and the Dept of Finance said they won't refund because it's privately towed. I wonder if I should sue for refund + compensation. ...

    Theodore’s Answer

    You should pay and get the vehicle back and minimize your damages and then go after the city for your expenses. If you do not have the funds go see an attorney locally...you may lose the vehicle and have to sue for that.

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  • How can the REVISED PAYE help me? How does one even get started?

    44 yr old male. graduated 1995 from small well respected (at least in its community) college.. At that time my family's income clearly qualified me for very robust loans and as a 17-18 year old kid I signed wherever I was told. Hence, loans compl...

    Theodore’s Answer

    Looks like you ran out of space...in the next question keep it simple and short and I am sure people here can help you. Are you being sued for defaulted college loans? Are they private or federally guaranteed? That is what you should write next time.

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  • Subpoenas to non-parties in a AP (adversary Proceeding), Is it to be served after the trial setting conference or before?

    In a AP (adversary proceeding) in a bankruptcy 13 filing, parties have been served with initial complaint and got a response too. Plaintiff wants to serve subpoenas for important documents from non-parties (private and government agencies and indi...

    Theodore’s Answer

    If you want discovery that should be completed in the best of all worlds before the scheduling conference, but Mike is right. You can subpoena documents you have never seen before so they appear at trial, but I would not recommend that...depending on what the documents are and who has them you may want to get them in discovery but you may also be required to subpoena them for trial...watch out when the agency or whoever brings a motion to quash the subpoena!

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