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Procedural question re: summons and DV

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On or about 12/21/07, I received a letter from a local collections attorney based here in Denver. The letter references a debt in excess of $15,000 with CITI being the OC.

According the the letter, as well as Colorado statute, I have 30 days to request validation of the debt.

Yesterday, 1/2/08, I received a "summons" dated 12/27/07. The summons and complaint were accompanied by an affidavit from an employee of the OC who stipulates to having "personal knowledge" of the debt, but provides only the account number and a balance. The letter goes on to reference an "Exhibit A" which it says is a printout from the OC's records, but there is no exhibit attached. The summons does not include a case number, court or any other indication that it was filed. At the bottom of the page, the following text appears:

"Warning: If this summons does not contain the docket number of the civil action, then the complaint may not now be on file with the clerk of the court. The complaint must be filed within ten days after the summons is served, or the court will be without jurisdiction to proceed further and the action will be deemed dismissed without prejudice and without further notice. Information from the court concerning this civil action may not be available ten days after summons is served."

The last page of the packet is a paragraph providing contact information should I like to "arrange to pay the debt" and thereby avoid appearing in court. It tells me I must call prior to the court date which, obviously, isn't provided since the summons wasn't filed prior to it being served.

This morning, just in case, I fired off a DV Letter to the law firm via certified mail. I've been calling the court to determine whether the summons has actually been filed yet, but haven't gotten through.

In the meantime, assuming they really do intend to file this (or already have), I have contacted an attorney to see whether it would be worth it to have him draft and file the answer.

Any suggestions? Does any of this sound familiar, in terms of the summons being served prior to having been filed? Should I accept the fact that they will ultimately file it and this is going to court, or are they simply trying to bully me into a settlement?

I've found some postings regarding this firm on this site and others and they apparently have a reputation for being low-lifes and making outrageous claims (i.e. "you will go to prison and lose custody of your children if you don't pay this debt").

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A couple of developments this morning...

(1) I got through to the Clerk's office and they have nothing on file as yet, so the summons hasn't been filed with the court and, for what it's worth, the collection attorneys should be receiving my DV letter this morning via certified mail.

(2) The balances referenced in the initial letter (dated 12/18) and the summons (dated 12/27) are different, with the later balance being lower.

(3) The plaintiff listed in the summons is "CITIBANK SOUTH DAKOTA". Citicorp Credit Services (CCSI) and CITIBANK SOUTH DAKOTA are both wholly owned subs of Citigroup. CCSI is the debt collection arm of CITIBANK SOUTH DAKOTA, but there is some case law that they are not a "debt collector" in and of themselves. The original creditor on the account was actually Universal Bank, but all UB accounts were transferred to CITIBANK SOUTH DAKOTA in 2002.

My question is whether the local collection attorney is representing the original creditor if they're representing CITIBANK SOUTH DAKOTA?

I've got two weeks left to file an answer (assuming they file the summons) and I'm just trying to get a sense of what (if any) affirmative defenses I might have available to me. Worst case, I can opt out of the Rule 16.1 expedited procedure and request discovery, right?

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