Civil Action Complaint

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Latest post Mon, Aug 10 2009 1:30 PM by miclynn. 5 replies.
  • Wed, Jul 29 2009 8:54 PM

    • miclynn
      Consumer
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Jan 9 2002
    • PA
    • Posts 137

    Civil Action Complaint

    First off I know I was in the wrong.

    I havent paid on my credit card bills in a year or so.  I do not have the money to pay, I can barely put food on the table.

    Well now I have a paper that I am being sued and to get an attorney,which is hard to do since I do not have money.  It says I was 20 days to take action with my defense or objections.

    What should I do?  Do I contact the plaintiff or the courthouse?  What should I say?

    Any help would be appreicated

  • Wed, Jul 29 2009 9:12 PM In reply to

    • Kivi
      Consumer
    • Top 25 Contributor
    • Joined on Sat, Jan 1 2005
    • CA
    • Posts 6,189

    Re: Civil Action Complaint

    Does the paper actually give you a court date in which you are supposed to appear?

    Generally, you respond to the court, but you are supposed to give the other side a copy of your response.

    Now, for some practical questions?  Are you employed?  What state are you in?  Do you have a bank account somewhere?

    Seems like you owe the money and they are going to win the court case.  Your next step will be to protect yourself from a bank freeze and/or wage garnishment.  If your wages are low enough, they might not be able to grab your wages, especially if some other garnishment, such as one for child support, is already in place.  But, you may have to close your bank account and start cashing your paychecks at those check cashing places and use money orders to pay necessary bills.

    Just noticed that you are in PA.  Your state does not allow wage garnishments.  So, your next course of action likely needs to be to ward off a bank levy.

     

  • Wed, Jul 29 2009 9:16 PM In reply to

    Re: Civil Action Complaint

    miclynn:
    Well now I have a paper that I am being sued and to get an attorney

    What kind of paper?

    Summons and complaint from the courthouse? Does it look like this:

    http://www.aopc.org/NR...

    Or is it just a letter from the creditor?

    How much are you being sued for and what court is it in, small claims (magistrate) or higher, and what city/county are you in.

    If it's a summons and complaint is there an attorney listed?

    We can't give you specific legal advice but might be able to steer you to some forms and instructions with a little more information.

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • Wed, Jul 29 2009 9:44 PM In reply to

    • miclynn
      Consumer
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Jan 9 2002
    • PA
    • Posts 137

    Re: Civil Action Complaint

    Right now I am not employed, I just finished school and was and still am living off my child support and currently looking for a job.  I live in a furnished apt.  I own a 1994 car and a laptop plus clothes, thats it.

    The paper was delivered tonight by the sheriff. It was the plaintiff and me as the defendant.  Court of Common Pleas, Indiana County, PA

    It has the amount I owe but no court date just that I need responde in 20 days. It doesnt look exactly like that form but it seem to have the information (looks more like my custody papers).  The only date on is is the one stamped on the first page that says filed July 27,2009, Indiana County Prothonotary and Clerk of Courts.

    The amount is $2200. There is an attorney listed.

    This cc account hasnt been used in over 2 years and the orginial amount owed was around 1500.  The rest is penalties and fees.  I couple yrs ago I tried to make arrangments but they wanted too much in montly payments and wouldnt take less, so I quit paying.  I know that is wrong and I dont deny that I owe. I actually forgot about this I havent heard from them in almost a year.

    I guess I am just trying to see what steps I should take since I cannt afford an attorney.

    Thanks for the help

  • Wed, Jul 29 2009 10:38 PM In reply to

    Re: Civil Action Complaint

    miclynn:
    The paper was delivered tonight by the sheriff. It was the plaintiff and me as the defendant. Court of Common Pleas, Indiana County, PA

    That's unfortunate. Even though it's a relatively small amount as courts go (PA small claims limit is 10,000) the fact that it was filed in what amounts to regular civil court means there is precious little reference material available at the layman's level of understanding.

    And I suppose the creditor does that on purpose because credit card agreements provide that loser pays winners attorney fees so they don't care what it costs them to go to court, it'll all end up in what you owe. And they also figure that the procedures are so complicated that defendants won't respond or respond improperly and they'll get a default or summary judgment.

    Your notice to respond within twenty days probably looked something like this:

    http://courts.phila.go...

    I did some googling and found the following website that provides instructions on how to file an answer and refers to specific rules of civil procedure that relate to the instructions.

    http://www.smartrules....

    What might be more helpful to you is a sample I found of an answer. It starts on the 4th page:

    http://howappealing.la...

    I imagine it looks daunting, but yours doesn't have to be that complicated.

    Each of the numbered responses are referring to the numbered allegations on the complaint.

    If you look at your own complaint you'll see a lot fewer allegations than the sample is responding to and you'll just have to make your answer conform to your court name and respond to the allegations in a similar fashion.

    Then you file it with the court, sending a copy to the plaintiff's attorney.

    That will, at least, buy you some time because, after the answer is filed, the discovery period starts and that could take a couple of months.

    miclynn:
    This cc account hasnt been used in over 2 years and the orginial amount owed was around 1500. The rest is penalties and fees. I couple yrs ago I tried to make arrangments but they wanted too much in montly payments and wouldnt take less, so I quit paying.

    That was a mistake. Even though they say they won't take less, whatever payment you make they would have likely just applied to the debt and as long as they were receiving steady money, at least they wouldn't have been likely to sue you.

    miclynn:
    I guess I am just trying to see what steps I should take since I cannt afford an attorney.

    While you are working on the answer it might be a good idea to call the attorney and remind him that there's no wage garnishment in PA for credit card debt and see if they'll agree to a payment plan instead of pursuing the lawsuit.

    FYI - the statute about no wage garnishment is:

    Title 42 PA CSA Judiciary and Judicial Procedure, Part VII - Civil Actions and Proceedings, Chapter 81 - Judgments and other Liens, Subchapter B - Exemptions from Execution, Section 8127 - Personal earnings exempt from process:

    http://government.west...

    If negotiating a payment plan doesn't work, try borrowing the money from family. By the time the lawsuit is over you could owe two or three times the 2200.

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • Mon, Aug 10 2009 1:30 PM In reply to

    • miclynn
      Consumer
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Jan 9 2002
    • PA
    • Posts 137

    UPDATE

    I called the attorney and they are willing to take 70% of the debt in two payments.  Which I tried to get the money for the first payment and I am short.

    I was going to call back and ask if they will take about 63% of the debt.  I found I letter from May in which they were aasking for 50% of the debt, so maybe.

    Thanks for all y our advice

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