elderly parents sued by credit card company in california

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Latest post 01-15-2013 11:11 AM by ca19lawyer2. 12 replies.
  • 01-14-2013 2:06 AM

    • pwky
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    elderly parents sued by credit card company in california

    My elderly parents just got served by a credit card company.  How should I help them respond to the suit? They have no assets, no cars, no house, currently living with my sister.  The summons were left at the door at my sister's house.  My mother is currently living with her, however, my father has been living in another country for the past year.  What are their options on how to deal with this suit?  Thanks in advance!

  • 01-14-2013 3:10 AM In reply to

    Re: elderly parents sued by credit card company in california

    pwky:
    How should I help them respond to the suit?

    Legally, you cannot assist them in responding to the lawsuit if you are not an attorney. If they owe the debt that the credit card company claims they do, they'll likely end up losing when all is said and done and get a judgment against them. The judgment is only useful for the creditor if your parents have some non-exempt income or assets it can attach to collect the debt. From what you say, they might not have anything the creditor can reach. Do your parents have any source of income other than perhaps Social Security? Is it likely that your parents will have significant assets or income in the future? If not, then spending money and time defending this claim may not even be worthwhile. The creditor cannot get blood from a stone. 

  • 01-14-2013 7:35 AM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: elderly parents sued by credit card company in california

    Agree...CC firm cannot get blood out of a stone  .

    Examine what sources of income they have and if it is exempt from attachment etc.

    Be careful about even modest checking accounts  as once even modest exempt income is deposited it may be subject to being grabbed IF a judgement gets in place --yes, if accounts with just SS in them are supposed to be exempt that should work but mom has burden to prove that so why go there --focus on safety.

     



  • 01-14-2013 11:13 AM In reply to

    • pwky
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    Re: elderly parents sued by credit card company in california

    Thanks for the responds.  I have read that they should definitely respond to the summon, since if they dont' do anything, it is an automatic win for the credit card company.  I don't mean that I'll represent them in court, but is there a form they can fill out to reply to the summon.  They do not have any other source of income other than the social security check that gets deposit into their only bank account every month.  My father is not in the country and how should he respond or is a response from my mom good enough for the 2 of them?  Thanks.

  • 01-14-2013 11:21 AM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: elderly parents sued by credit card company in california

    It probably makes sense for mom to answer the summons as required but keep the answers very very short and to exact point. May make sense for Dad to join the response . BUT ..I'd not rush to tell them where Dad is.

    Me, if ultimately a  judgement gets issued I'd be sure NOT to keep more than $1.98 in any account where others could find it and debate it.  So  SS goes in on say monday--move it out that same day?



  • 01-14-2013 1:29 PM In reply to

    Re: elderly parents sued by credit card company in california

    pwky:
    How should I help them respond to the suit?

    Beyond helping them find an attorney or helping them fill out forms at their direction, you shouldn't.  Anything you do beyond those things could put you at risk of practicing law without a license.

     

    pwky:
    They have no assets, no cars, no house, currently living with my sister.

    No one has no assets.  Perhaps they have no non-exempt assets.  Do they have a bank account?  What is their source of income?  Anything from social security is exempt.

     

    pwky:
    The summons were left at the door at my sister's house.

    That's not proper service (unless it was done as the result of someone refusing to answer the door).

     

    pwky:
    What are their options on how to deal with this suit?

    The basic options are as follows:  (1) try to negotiate a settlement; (2) pay the amount claimed in full; (3) defend against the claim; or (4) default.  Since service appears to have been done improperly, they could try to do something with that, but that may not be a valuable uses of their resources.

  • 01-14-2013 1:41 PM In reply to

    Re: elderly parents sued by credit card company in california

    Judicial Council forms are available here:  http://www.courts.ca.gov/forms.htm.  We cannot legally suggest how they should proceed.  However, it appears clear that your father in particular hasn't been served.  Your mother cannot respond on behalf of both of them.

  • 01-14-2013 2:18 PM In reply to

    • pwky
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    Re: elderly parents sued by credit card company in california

    I was only planning to help them fill out forms and nothing beyond that.  Their only form of income is thru social security and that's it.  They do have one checking account where the social security is automatically deposited.

    The summons for both my mother and father was left at the door.  My mother speaks very little english and she said someone came to the door asking for someone and she said to the person in broken english saying she doesn't understand.  And the person then left 2 copies of the summons at the door.

    My parents only have a few hundred dollars to their names and that's why my mom is not able to pay the credit cards.  From what I understand, the debt was incurred over many years and for years she was trying to make payments, eventually it just overwhelmed her and she was no longer able to afford to rent her apt, and had to move in with my sister.  Even after she moved in with my sister, she still made payments for a long time until about a year ago when she can no longer even make the minimum payments after exhausted all her savings. 

     

    At this point, would filing bankruptcy be an option?  and can she file bankruptcy without my father there?  

  • 01-14-2013 2:24 PM In reply to

    Re: elderly parents sued by credit card company in california

    pwky:
    Their only form of income is thru social security and that's it.  They do have one checking account where the social security is automatically deposited.

    It's something of an unrelated point, but I have to wonder about your father living overseas.  You said your mother is living with your sister.  I assume that's rent free.  How is your father paying his living expenses?  As someone who has done collection work in the past, I can tell you that the facts you have told us so far will raise questions about your claim that they have no non-exempt income or assets.

     

    pwky:
    The summons for both my mother and father was left at the door.  My mother speaks very little english and she said someone came to the door asking for someone and she said to the person in broken english saying she doesn't understand.  And the person then left 2 copies of the summons at the door.

    I'm not sure why the process server wouldn't have handed her the summons and complaint.  That's probably proper service as to your mother.  Not likely for your father since he doesn't appear to live there anymore.

     

    pwky:
    My parents only have a few hundred dollars to their names and that's why my mom is not able to pay the credit cards.

    Then she shouldn't be using them.  If she is still using credit cards knowing she has no ability to pay them, that's fraud.  If these are old debts, then that shouldn't be an issue.

     

    pwky:
    At this point, would filing bankruptcy be an option?  and can she file bankruptcy without my father there?

    Bankruptcy is an option, but the question is whether it is worthwhile.  If your parents have no non-exempt income or assets, then what they do have is already protected, so bankruptcy protection doesn't serve any real purpose.  Your mother could file on her own or jointly with your father.  If your father is part of it, then he will need to return at least once for an examination in court.

  • 01-14-2013 2:50 PM In reply to

    • pwky
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    Re: elderly parents sued by credit card company in california

    My father is self-employed overseas, he was able to send some money a few years ago, but from what I understand, he is not even able to pay for his own living expenses and my aunt is paying for his expenses. 

    The process server didn't get her the papers because she didnt' open the door.  She peaked thru the side window and didn't know the person and didn't understand the process server.

    She hasn't used the credit cards since she stopped making payments and the last payment she made was probably a year ago or so.  Not sure if that is still consider fraud. She made good faith effort to continue to pay until she has exhausted all her savings.  

    Any advice is much appreciated.  If bankruptcy doesn't really serve any purpose, then what would be the best course of action from this point forward.  continue with the suit and eventually she'll lose. And what happens after that?

     

  • 01-14-2013 3:28 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: elderly parents sued by credit card company in california

    If there is no blood in a rock  it makes little sense to mount an expensive defense of the rock --rudimentary one --perhaps --but why spend money to do so....



  • 01-14-2013 3:57 PM In reply to

    • pwky
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    Re: elderly parents sued by credit card company in californi...

    Drew, 

    I understand, but my mom should at least respond to the summon right?  If she doesn't, it will just be a default judgement against her.  She certainly doesnt' have any money to hire a lawyer to fight against this.  But I thought she can at least still go to court and go thru the process.  That doesn't require much money if she doesn't hire a lawyer right?

  • 01-15-2013 11:11 AM In reply to

    Re: elderly parents sued by credit card company in californi...

    pwky:
    I understand, but my mom should at least respond to the summon right?  If she doesn't, it will just be a default judgement against her.

    Does she have any defense to the claim?  If not, then responding is only likely to increase the plaintiff's attorneys' fees, which likely will be added to the judgment.  The point of responding is either to defend or to delay the judgment.  If there's no viable defense and if delay will serve no purpose, then a default judgment is no worse than a summary judgment or judgment after trial.

     

    pwky:
    But I thought she can at least still go to court and go thru the process.

    She certainly can.  But she needs to consider whether there is any point in doing so.

     

    pwky:
    That doesn't require much money if she doesn't hire a lawyer right?

    If she acts as her own attorney, her only cost should be the $300+ filing fee.

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