I strongly suggest that you contact a consumer lawyer in your area. Most consumer attorneys will provide a free initial consultation for your case. In addition to this lawsuit, he or she may be able to determine whether you have a claim under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
There are a number of legal terms laced throughout your question that makes me very concerned about you trying to do this yourself. (For example, sua sponte is when a court does something on its own accord--without the prompting from a party.) There are a number of technical details which need to be complied with and your best bet is to contact an attorney.
Mr. Driver is right. I am not sure why you are trying to do this on your own. Midland Funding does this as a business and is very experienced in court and used to dealing with Pro Se Defendants. Making a mistake can be very expensive, and unnecessary. As an old debt, under dispute, you may very well have defenses. As mentioned, attempts to collect a debt are governed by a Federal law known as the FDCPA. Before this gets any farther along, you should consider going to http://www.naca.net/find-attorney and talking to an attorney that lists the FDCPA as a practice area. The FDCPA allows for attorney fees so most attorneys may even take your case on contingency in this area.
I give you much credit for defending your action in court. However, it seems from what you are writing, the Plaintiff is trying to finalize its case against you. You must talk to an attorney as soon as possible about this matter, and see, if any, options you may have.
The information is for general information purposes only. Nothing from this comment should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information does not create and does not constitute an attorney-client relationship or a prospective attorney relationship.