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writing answer to contract complaint


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I have received a summons and a complaint (contract). This is about an alleged "credit account" debt.

I am going to file an answer to the complaint Monday or Tuesday.

The "junk debt buyer" collector who is suing me has not provided most of the info that I have been reading about, such as an account number, some kind of contract, evidence that they are actually entitled to sue me, etc. They don't say what year it was. They don't even have a signature of plaintiff or attorney on the complaint.

These are things that I am learning about.

Anyway:

(1) My question is, does the list of these missing things go into my filed answer, or do I save them for court, and then say "Hey! Where is the contract you are supposedly suing me over?"

(2) If I save them up to surprise them in court, then what does go into my answer?

Also, do I say in my answer "Because of all these failures of information, etc., I ask the court to dismiss the claim with prejudice"?

P.S. This site is incredibly informative! I was overwhelmed with anxiety until I started reading here, and at the site (CreditInfoCenter) that hosts this forum.

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Depending upon what is/is not alleged in the Complaint, some of the things you mentioned should probably be associated with your Answer in the form of a Motion to Dismiss.

Gotcha. So I will be saying, in effect, "Here are the things that make the complaint unintelligible, and, in fact, please dismiss the complaint because of them."

What is alleged is breach of contract.

Is a Motion to Dismiss incorporated as an item in my Answer, do you know? Or do I get another form for Motion to Dismiss?

THANK YOU, btw, for answering me! :-)

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You are in California, so you can find forms to file your answer here:

http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/forms.cgi#forms

I think you want PLD-C-010 Answer-Contract. (A possibility for some is PLD-050 General Denial)

If you want to file your own "longhand" version, you can use the first one as an example.

You will see a place to check and specifically deny the plaintiff's claims by paragraph number, a place to deny based on no information and belief, also by paragraph number, and a place to check and list your affirmative defenses as "Defendant alleges the following additional reasons that plaintiff is not entitled to recover anything:"

That's all you need to cover in your answer; no motions to dismiss, no list of things you haven't been provided. That stuff comes later or separately. The process moves in small steps, and everything comes at it's own time and place, and you can't rush it.

After you Answer, you will exchange Discovery requests with the plaintiff. We can talk about that here later, but that's your chance to request documentation. Along the way, there will be Case Management Conferences, for which you will need to file Case Management Statements. These are basically for the judge to check that the case is moving along. You will want to attend these, and move for dismissal if plaintiff doesn't show up. Eventually, trial will be scheduled. If plaintiff has not come up with the documents they need, they will move for dismissal before trial. If they come up with documents, and the judge rules against you at trial, that's when issues of wage garnishment and bank account levies will come up. But you're probably a year away from that point. The wheels of justice turn slowly.

Good luck.

DH

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Another approach can be found in CA Code of Civil Procedure 454. Issue a Demand for a Bill of Particulars. This will force tham to cough up a lot of evidence they probably do not have before you have to answer the complaint. Likely they will fold and go away because you are fighting them.

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Well, I filed my answer today, but yes, looking at that demurrer, it is applicable to my case.

Maybe the demurrer is still a tool I could use later ....

But I logged on just to say that I don't think I would have been able to file my answer (not to mention a Proof of Service by Mail for the answer sent to the out-of-town plaintiff's attorney) "in pro per" (another new thing I learned) without this site and forum.

What a great feeling to have done it!

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.... Along the way, there will be Case Management Conferences, for which you will need to file Case Management Statements. ....

The first Case Management Conference has been scheduled, per the court's web site --- in JUNE! :lol:

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I don't believe you can use a demurrer AFTER you answer. The demurrer is a motion to dismiss because the case should never have even been brought against you. Answering it recognizes it, which is different. This is my impression of a demurrer.

So, you are on CASE MANAGEMENT. I have started 'The Definitive Thread' on case management, and hope everyone chips in here. We should all have a clear objective for the appointment, and strategy, as well...

notagain xxheartxx

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  • 2 weeks later...
.... This answers everything!

I have hit my first of what I am sure will be many bumps. I received back my Application for Waiver of Court Fees and Costs today with this notation: "The application in incomplete because it does not have the order with it."

Does anyone know what "the order" might be?

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I have hit my first of what I am sure will be many bumps. I received back my Application for Waiver of Court Fees and Costs today with this notation: "The application in incomplete because it does not have the order with it."

Does anyone know what "the order" might be?

Sounds like a great question for a court clerk... Sorry I can't be more help. Does your state's rules of civil procedure explain it?

notagain xxheartxx

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Sounds like a great question for a court clerk...

Yup!

Called the clerk after searching through all the instructions for the Application for Waiver of Court Fees, and she said "You didn't include The Order with the App. The Order is the same form number but dot-two instead of dot-one. It's the part the staff uses to grant or deny the app."

Cracked me up that it wasn't page two of the application or something, but anyway, printed out The Order and sent it back with my app.

And here was an interesting side-note. The clerk told me always to include a self-addressed stamped envelope with any correspondence/forms to the court. She said that your (my) chances of getting a prompt mailed notice of error increase hugely when it doesn't have to go to a typist's "in" basket for mailing. She said that it was worth it even if you waste a few S.A.S.E.s.

P.S. She also said to write in pro per on every single sheet of every form/correspondence. I didn't ask why that was so important, but she was so helpful that I just did it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My Answer to Contract Complaint came back in my S.A.S.E.

Now I see why the clerk said to enclose an S.A.S.E. with every piece of paper sent to the court by mail. :lol:

This was pretty stupid on my part, so I am posting it in case anyone reading here is as green as I am.

The cover sheet says "No proof of service."

I HAVE Proof of Service (for the Answer served on the plaintiff) but did not realize that it (or a copy) should accompany the Answer to Contract Complaint filed with the court by mail.

Step by step .....

Also on the cover sheet is a note from a deputy clerk saying "Please call me at this number and I will help you with this." Wow!

Maybe the Proof of Service will be the last bit that I have done wrong so far and I can turn to NotAgain's Definitive Thread on case management.

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