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I guess I am very confused on this being served thing. I live in Missouri and went on the court website about cases. I saw that I was being sued for Breach of Contract for an old credit card debt. It was filed on the 12/13, someone tried to serve me on 12/31 and was returned non-est. I have recieved nothing in the mail concerning this suit. It seems by the website that there is a hearing on the 1/25. My question is am I required to go to the hearing. I have not been properly served and had I not gone to the website I would have no clue about this summons. It is now 1/19 and I don't have anytime to prepare. Is there anything that can be done? I want to fight this and in fact had sent out a letter of validation to this company some months back and never heard a reply. What steps should be taken. I am not someone who goes around defaulting on credit cards, this is a first. I have not been in this situation before and would like to take care of it as cheaply and effectively as possible.

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I'm not a lawyer...but...yes, you should plan on appearing in court. At this poing, I'd suggest all you have to do is show up and explain to the judge that you have no idea what this is all about.

But...why were looking on the court's web site? Have you received a letter from a collection agency? Did you have some reason to think you might be sued?

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I recieved a solicitation from an attorney (not the attorney representing the plaintiff) suggesting that I had someone filing a complaint. Hence I visited the website and checked into it.

So am I able to get some sort of continuance based on this. Should the attorney or collection company (Midland Credit) sent me something threatening a lawsuit. As I stated previously I did send a letter of validation to them and never heard anything else from them and now this. Is that a viable argument at this hearing, that I never received proof or validation from the company about this debt and am unaware of any of the charges? I sent it certified mail and still have the signature card.

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Yes, your DV to Midland and their failure to answer SHOULD be a legitimate reason for a continuance. You can show the judge that you did ask for validation of this debt and they have not provided it. Your success at this will depend upon the judge's familiarity with the FDCPA, so you may want to print out a copy, highlite the important points, and take it with you.

Often, the plaintiff's attorney isn't prepared to have the defendant show up, let alone argue the validity of the debt, so you may even get the case dismissed...again, depends on the judge.

You also said "old credit card"...how old? Is it beyond the SOL for MO? That should be another legitimate defense.

Is this on your credit reports? If so, you may have a case against someone for violations of the FCRA, so, if you're absolutely sure this isn't your debt you might want to contact the lawyer that sent you the letter and see if he'll represent you on contingency. But on the other hand, I woulnd't want to pay a fee for something you might be able to get dismissed on your own.

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Some states require the plaintiff to file the summons and complaint as the first step ( normally to get the filing $$$$), with the plaintiff having a certain amount of time to serve the defendant and file proof of service.

Now, if this was a lower court and you live outside the county where the court is, the sherriff couldn't serve you, meaning the plaintiff is out of luck. He has to sue you in your county, anyway.

I would call the court clerk and see if an affidavit of service is filed. If the only one filed is one showing you could not have been served, then you are probably okay. Of course, you can get the name and phone of the atty and call them, if you want to get to it.

Many county bar associations have lawyer referral services, in which you can ask a question of a lawyer, get some freebie time. I suggest you try that route.

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