The statute of limitations is an affirmative defense that must be pleaded and proven. If you ignore the lawsuit, then the plaintiff will get an enforceable judgment against you -- even though you would have won at trial on the statute of limitations defense had you acted to protect your rights.
Assuming that the lawsuit is still alive, you must either respond to the discovery and defend the lawsuit, or have a judgment entered against you. I strongly suggest you meet with counsel to figure out the best way to respond to the documents you have received. Lawyers may be expensive, but ignoring a lawsuit can be much more expensive.
Yes, you can be sued even after the statute of limitations has expired. I am not sure how you conclude the statute of limitations has expired or that collecting on the debt was time barred. However, assuming this is so, once a lawsuit has been filed, it is imperative that you timelyt respond by filing an answer generally denying the allegations and raising all appropriate and applicable affirmative defenses, including the statute of limitations.
If you do not raise the statute of limitations as a defense in your Answer to Complaint, it can be waived and the plaintiff can still win a judgment against you.
Also, you have a duty to respond to written discovery such as interrogatories and requests for admissions. Otherwise, the plaintiff can eventually get a judgment against you via your failure to respond to discovery, either by way of discovery motions and/or a motion for summary judgment.
Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This Avvo.com posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.
You can be sued, and its up to you to raise the affirmative defense.
If you'd like to discuss, please feel free to call. Jeff Gold Gold, Benes, LLP 1854 Bellmore Ave Bellmore, NY 11710 Telephone -516.512.6333 Email - Jgold@goldbenes.com
In addition to the fine answers you have already received, you should keep in mind that sometimes determining when the SOL commences and creates a bar is not as simple as counting years. There are theories that can cause a the SOL to be "tolled" meaning put on hold for a while. There are theories that can essentially re-invigorate a dying claim. It is important that you not rely entirely on your confidence that the SOL bars any recovery in deciding how you are going to respond to the lawsuit at this point. Your best bet is to find a local attorney and share the facts with him or her and let them tell you if the SOL is going to be a valid defense or not.
Good luck to you.
This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed only through the mutual execution of an attorney-client agreement. The answer given is based on the extremely limited facts provided and the proper course of action might change significantly with the introduction of other facts. All who read this answer should not rely on the answer to govern their conduct. Please seek the advice of competent counsel after disclosing all facts to that attorney. This answer is intended for California residents only. The answering party is only licensed to practice in the State of California.