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Do CA's really go into mediation?


kbean
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We got our reply back from our answer to the court based on a summons via Asset Acceptance.

It indicates that there is 7 days to contact a mediator, to pay for it.

Will AA really do this? They got a default judgment against us last month because my fiance didn't "answer" the summons, he called AA, and paid them. They told him that he didn't have to answer the summons, that they would drop the suit. (I wasn't there to coach him, and he doesn't understand that you can't exactly listen to a debt collector).

So I wrote a letter to the court requesting that the judgment be vacated. He paid the bill, but no one told AA's attorney, so it went to trial, I guess. Since he didn't answer, he didn't know when the trial was... SO anyway, we wrote a letter indicating that he wasn't properly served, and that the debt was paid. The court replied by saying that even though he had good defense, there was no reason to not answer the summons in a timely manner, and that the judgment will stay.

So when he was properly served this time, we sent a letter to the court (new court, we moved). He called AA again to try to settle. They wouldn't settle for anything less than 70% of the balance. This was the only way for them to drop the suit. He obviously didn't have the money, so he then listened to my advice (about following protocol and exercising rights).

I hope that this attempt to resolve the matter with a settlement won't work against him in the future regarding this matter.

[i even brought that up in the letter, he was sued in a county where he "used to live 7 months ago", this county is not where the business was conducted either]

I answered the letter indicating that he had no knowledge of a second account with AA, and blah blah blah. So we just got an answer with a bench trial date in feb of 05...

We indicated that the summons was the first communication regarding the second debt. He paid the first debt without dispute, which he noted in his request for validation from AA, within 30 days of receipt of the summons.

So we're waiting for a response from the validation letter.... and now we have to go into mediation. I wonder if AA will comply, since they didn't have to deal with an informed person the this last time they tried to sue....

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Exactly what are you being told about the mediation? Generally, there are two types of mediation: private and court-sponsored. If the court is arranging for mediation, it is usually an effort by the court system to reduce the caseload and it is provided free or at a low cost. Call the court or check the local rules to find out. If it is private mediation (ie with an arbitration forum) it will be more expensive but both sides usually split the cost. Private mediation is most often used when there is a contract between the parties that requires it.

If you have a good case, mediation might be worthwhile as it will force the other attorney to figure out what is going on and explain the plaintiff's position to the mediator.

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Well the response to the "answer" we sent after receiving the 'summons'... basically says that we have to contact this "alternative dispute resolution' place and pay the reasonable and customary fees.

There is a bench trial date set and a settlement conference as well.

I don't think we really have a good case, we just didn't have the money to settle (since they took it all on the first debt they sued us for). But we answered this time to actually bide some time.

Plus he never requested validation on the second debt, so they signed for that on Aug. 17... so I guess we'll see what happens.

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Thanks Calawyer!

The thing is that when we spoke to asset acceptance after receiving the summons, they would not accept a monthly payment in return for dropping the suit. The only way they would stop legal action is if 70% of the bill was settled, which we couldn't do because we JUST settled on the other debt they owed.

So if we go to mediation and say "he we can only afford to pay you this much a month" that will be it? It just seems like if that were the case they would have let us do that before.

I really hope that is all it takes though. I would hate for him to have another judgment on his credit report.

Thanks again though, I appreciate your posts!

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I'm just saying that if the mediator is any good, you might be able to arrive at that kind of settlement. You can only afford what you can afford and it seems to me that they would be better off with a payment plan than a judgment that you can't pay (or to have you file BK to avoid it). Sometimes the parties need a neutral person to help give a bit.

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