I understand how upsetting this must be for you.
If Midland Funding is not the original creditor who loaned you money, there are defenses to this claim. When a creditor charges off its bad debt and sells that debt to another party, the debt buyer may have difficulty proving that it has a right to collect that debt from you.
You do need to file an answer and avoid a default judgment. You may be able to handle this yourself, or hire an attorney that specializes in defending these types of cases. If you are low-income and cannot afford an attorney, the Community Legal Services of East Palo Alto has a consumer clinic, and they may be able to help you file an answer. I am providing the link below. You could also contact the Consumer Law Center in San Jose (they will charge a fee).
You may be able to settle the claim after you file your answer. If you settle the claim, the lawsuit will be dismissed (and the settlement will be confidential), but there will be a record of the lawsuit having been filed and dismissed.
This answer is for general information purposes only and is not legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is intended or formed by the posting of this answer.
If you can afford an attorney it may help. However it looks like you do not have a defense to the lawsuit and do owe the money. You can try to enter into a stipulated judgment with them at terms that are more reasonable for you to pay off the debt. Either way you need to decide if you are going to contest this and file an answer in court.
Mr. Driessen is a former Deputy DA in Orange County with over 8 years of criminal law experience. Nothing stated on this site shall in anyway be construed as legal advice, or as creating any attorney client relationship. If you would like to hire Mr. Driessen, feel free to contact him at www.theocduiguy.com.
From the fact pattern, you have been served with a lawsuit. You should absolutely contact an attorney for assistance with this matter, wether that assistance includes answering the suit, settlement negotiations or anything else is a matter for discussion. At the very least, if you do not choose to meet with an attorney, be sure that you answer the complaint and show up for your hearings. Good luck.
When responding to questions posted on Avvo, I provide a general purpose response based on California law as I am licensed in California. In reviewing my response, you are specifically advised that your use of, or reliance upon any response I provide is not advisable. I do not have all relevant background details or facts related to your issue / matter, thus I am not in a position to give you legal advice. Further, your review, use of, or reliance upon my response does not establish an attorney-client relationship between us nor does it qualify as a legal consultation for any purpose. For specific advice regarding your particular circumstances, you should consult and retain local counsel.
Midland is a notorious "debt buyer." It pay a few cents on the dollar to buy accounts of dubious collectability. Many are past the Statute of Limitations. Often, Midland will not have access to documents kept by the original creditor or it will not be able to authenticate such documents with competent witnesses at trial. The underlying obligation may contain an attorney's fees clause which provides that if you are represented by an attorney, and if you win, Midland will have to pay your attorney's fees. You need to consult an attorney. Midland, and other debt collectors, often settle if they have previously lost cases to the consumer attorney. Midland makes most of its money collecting default judgments. Litigation is not profitable for such debt collectors. Talk with an attorney. There may be additional defenses, and/or violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which will allow you to recover damages and attorney's fees.
Yes you need a lawyer. There are lawyers in San Jose who defend debt buyer lawsuits at very affordable rates. You will lose and your paycheck will be garnished unless you can beat these guys.