A creditor has 4 years from the date of your last payment in which to sue. It does not matter when they bought the debt but when the last payment was made. Since suit was first filed in 2011, the lawsuit may be timely. I am not sure why it was "reinstated." What happened? Was the complaint ever served? If not, why not? Was the action discontinued and then re-filed? If so, when?
These are all questions that a lawyer has to answer. If you have a valid defense then this has to be asserted in a timely filed answer. If the complaint is in magistrate's court, then you have to tell the magistrate that you intend to present a defense.
You don't indicate when the hearing is scheduled for but I suggest you get up with an attorney NOW.
He is not in your area, but Attorney Greg Artim here at Avvo does statewide credit card defense. If I had an issue he is someone I would recommend. If time is really short, he may be able to recommend someone in the eastern part of the state.
Regardless of the statutory limit, just don't ignore the summons because this would lead to a default judgment and possibly a garnishment after that. Please see a knowledgeable attorney in your jurisdiction. The only way you can challenge is by filing an answer and then stating your legal stand.
Only see a licensed attorney before you make any decision. This answer may not be perfect in any given situation. However, more fact may be required by your local attorney. If you are in Las Vegas, you are welcome to send your questions regarding Chapter 7, or 13 to Attorney Malik Ahmad at Malik@lasvegaslawgroup.com or www.fastbankruptcynevada.com or by calling (702) 270-9100. In many cases, we do not charge initial consultation fee.
As others have mentioned, the statute of limitations in PA on a written contract is generally 4 years from last payment or default. Depending on who the original creditor is and the underlying contract, sometimes it can be just 3 years. A debt defense or consumer lawyer can look at your paperwork and determine if you have a statute of limitations defense. You should also check your credit report to see if the account is listed there and if it has a last payment date listed. You may have other defenses as well. Feel free to call my office for a free phone consultation, as I do some work in the Lancaster region. If it turns out that the lawsuit was filed past the statute of limitations, you may have a claim under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act.
Legal disclaimer: The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.