Skip to main content

Why would a defendant & their lawyer not respond to a civil suit demand letter within the time that the plaintiffs lawyer set.?

Salem, OR |

My lawyer sent the defendant a demand letter & gave them a fixed amount of days to respond to our allegations against them or else we would proceed in filing a civil suit in court . The defendant & their lawyer have not responded and it's been weeks since the deadline . My lawyer is puzzled about this and I was wondering what Y'all think could be going on here ?

I would like to add that the defendant is a wealthy business owner and the suit involves allegations of child abuse.. So why on earth would ANYONE with so much to lose simply by the suit being filed and the case hitting the media want to be so disregarding to the plaintiffs lawyers timeline requirements.?? Seems Loco to me.

+ Read More

Attorney answers 6

Best Answer
Posted

There are many possibilities depending on whether it is an insurance company who will defer to their insurance defense attorney (with a sophisticated understanding of the legal process), or an uninsured defendant who may or may not defer to their attorney's advice. BUT in any event, in our business its often "put your money where your mouth is". In other words, other than in rare situations the defendant has no obligation to respond to a "demand". The only requirement is to respond to a lawsuit, and only then if they don't want a default judgment against them. Some defendants (not typically insurance companies) don't even care about a judgment and won't even respond when served with a lawsuit because if they are uninsured and they don't have assets they are what we call "uncollectable" meaning you can get a judgment and you still won't get your money. This begs an important question: Is this an insured defendant? A defendant calling the shots ignores demands all the time, for good, bad, and ugly reasons and no reason at all. Oh, and it also depends on the magnitude of your case. If there is not alot of injuries and damages, it won't get anybody too excited to jump too fast, perhaps willing to call your bluff. There is advice to be given here and that is what your lawyer is for. You should sit down with your lawyer and see what kind of animal your are dealing with here.

Asker

Posted

Thank you.

Posted

Unfortunately this is very common. Often times, Defendants will ignore a demand letter until a lawsuit has been filed and they have been served. If they have not offered to settle, file the suit.

Although Avvo makes it clear to consumers that attorney answers to questions are for general purposes only and do not establish an attorney-client relationship, some attorneys prefer to add their own disclaimers to answers. You can set your custom disclaimer here and it will be automatically added to your answers.

Asker

Posted

Wow.. You would think that a prominent business owner accused of child abuse would want to avoid the public relations complications of the suit being filed and going public and hitting the media.. I guess some people think that they are invinsible.. Well we will see about that.!! Thank you for your response Sir.

Asker

Posted

Thank You Sir.

Posted

I agree - not uncommon. You need to talk with your attorney about how best to proceed, since you have not heard from the other party and their attorney.

Asker

Posted

I did speak to him and he is baffled considering what the defendant will lose simply by the suit being filed and hitting the media. Thank you for your response.

Kevin Coluccio

Kevin Coluccio

Posted

work with your lawyer

Asker

Posted

Thank you.

Posted

Very common occurrence. Have your lawyer send another certified after a reasonable a,out of time.

David B Pittman

David B Pittman

Posted

If nothing occurs from that, have your lawyer file suit

Asker

Posted

Thank you.

Posted

No one is going to be able to tell you what someone else is thinking. My colleagues here are right - the common tactic is to ignore the demand letter and make you prove your allegations and there is a chance that you won't win at trial. The other possibility is that that an insurance company is involved and your demand was either higher then what they think the case is worth or they don't think you have a valid claim. Finally there is a chance that the demand letter wasn't sent to the right person. So a lot of guesses, but we can't tell you exactly. Remember Michael Jackson was accused of sexually abusing a child and put up a vigorous defense and won. So you may be in for a heck of a fight. Just no way to know. http://www.portlandlegalservices.com

The comments by this author to questions posted on Avvo are designed to foster a general understanding of what might be the law governing the area of the legal problem stated and suggest what might be the approach to finding a legal solution. Under no circumstances is this author acting as the attorney for the party who posted the question or as the attorney for subsequent readers to the question or response and no attorney client relationship is being formed. This attorney's comments are not intended to be a substitute for getting legal advice from a licensed attorney. A reader of this author's comments should never act on the information provided in these comments as though these comments were legal advice and should always seek legal advice in a personal consultation with an attorney in their jurisdiction before taking action. The information provided here is not intended to cover every situation with similar facts. Please remember that the law varies between states and other countries and is always changing through actions of the courts and the Legislature.

Asker

Posted

Thank you.

Asker

Posted

I can understand why alot of defendants would ignore the demand but a business owner who stands to lose contracts by way of media exposure to a horiffic allegation just baffles me.

Joanne Reisman

Joanne Reisman

Posted

You are welcome and good luck.

Joanne Reisman

Joanne Reisman

Posted

Here is the flip side - your demand may be viewed as blackmail by someone that believes they are innocent or at least intends to claim they are innocent. There may indeed be media exposure listing you as a black mailer. There are many ways this can play out and it doesn't necessarily have to be the way you think it should. Those of us on Avvo can't really help you since we don't have access to all the facts. We can only speculate and this is not a good way to get legal advice. You need to follow the suggestion I made earlier - talk to your lawyer and if that doesn't satisfy you, pay another lawyer to give you a second opinion. But you can post all day long here on Avvo and unfortunately I don't think it will ever resolve your questions.

Asker

Posted

You are right.. but I have received alot of great information on this site which I appeciate.. I would normally direct all these qustions to my own lawyer but unfortunately he is harder to get ahold of than Jusin Bieber tickets right now..er,( for my kids of course) lol. Thanks again Ms. Reisman.

Posted

The majority of lawyers haven't stepped foot in a courtroom, and I hope your attorney has trial experience, or you would want to retain a lawyer with a proven track record. The defendant will need to answer a lawsuit complaint. A lawyer should file a complaint immediately, so you don't waste more time.

Only 29% Contingency Fee! Phone: 215-510-6755 www.InjuryLawyerPhiladelphia.com

Joanne Reisman

Joanne Reisman

Posted

Unfortunately true - there is a lack of experienced trial attorneys. The flip side of that is an inexperienced attorney may have been hoping to scare up some money with a demand and not have properly advised their client of the costs of litigating a case and the risks of losing. They may not go forward with the lawsuit after all especially if they are not willing to advance the costs for their client and take the risk. (Our courts are trying out a 6 man jury fast track system to encourage more attorneys to try cases. Not sure if it's working. Mandatory arbitration sort of killed the chance to train on smaller cases.

Asker

Posted

How interesting. So if my lawyer lacks trial experience and his intention was to go for the quick "slam dunk" settlement then I shouldn't be surprised if this defendant calls bluff and my lawyer who is working on contingency drops me when the time comes to file the suit? Yikes.

Joanne Reisman

Joanne Reisman

Posted

Yes, your lawyer could drop your suit. On the other hand they may file and go forward but not know what they are in for and may not have the funds to properly fund the suit, and may not have the experience to be effective in the trial. On the other hand you may have a brilliant lawyer that does an excellent job. All you can do is sit down and talk to your lawyer about the case. You can always talk to another lawyer to get a second opinion on the case, although you should probably expect to pay for the second lawyers time. There are some lawyers in town that specialize in child abuse and sexual abuse cases. You can probably figure out who they are by googling some key words since these cases often end up in the news.

Avvo personal injury email series

Sign up to receive a 3-part series of useful information and advice about personal injury law.

Personal injury topics

Recommended articles about Personal injury

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer