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Damn Midland again: Can info in my credit report be used as "proof" of debt?


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OK, I'm going to try and sum this up as best I can:

I am currently being sued by Midland for an old credit card debt (not past the statute of limitations) and have no choice but to be pro se. I filed my answer already (denied everything & had multiple affirmative defenses) and a week later received pages of interrogatories and demand for particulars, etc. I was able to briefly speak to a volunteer lawyer at a free clinic, but he told me to ignore them so they will be forced to file another motion to compel discovery. I am a little ambivalent about that and I think instead I'll reply as suggested in the thread about winning against Midland, but that is not my immediate concern.

Here's my biggest issue right now: I checked my credit report and noticed the lawyers for Midland requested my report (as well as reporting me.) My old credit card is in the report so I'm wondering if it possible for them to use my credit report and the info that the credit card listed (payments made, late payments, missed, balance, etc) on my report as proof of the debt?!? I am going to dispute both Midland's reporting as well as the credit card, but if the credit reporting agency ends up dismissing my dispute, I need to know if Midland can use the info in my credit report as proof.

I have no money, no savings, no assets, (I dont even have a bed, I sleep on a fold-out couch in my tiny one-room apartment, for crying out loud!), no wages (I work 2 part-time jobs and get paid cash- so they can't garnish), I lost everything in Katrina (which is what led to me originally not being able to pay my credit card- before Katrina, I never missed a payment or was late EVER! The credit card debt stems from using the credit card to get the hell out of New Orleans!) I can't pay my student loans, I'm falling behind in rent... the spiral just keeps getting worse. Basically they picked the wrong person to sue if they expect to get money, but I really think they are invested in this or they would not have been so quick to serve me w/ the follow-up papers. I'm worried about them having "proof" of the debt based on the info in my credit report. Would that be considered valid proof or not?

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

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I'm no lawyer, but I would think that a Credit Report would be "hearsay" evidence at best, and therefore inadmissable. In order for it to be admissable, the CRA would have to provide some proof of the accuracy of the reported information, and I dont believe they can. (they would tell you to get that info from the OC).

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Sounds a little like using the Bible to "prove" the existence of God.

I wouldn't bother disputing anything with the CRAs at this point. You're well past that when things move to lawsuit territory. If you're going to fight this pro se, you need to get focused. While I feel for your circumstances, bluntly stated: what does that have to do with the price of tea in China? Neither opposing council nor the judge will care.

A lot of pro se litigants here like gear up like they're going off to fight a war. If you want to have any chance of prevailing, put your emotions aside. Learn, understand, and use the law.

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I like that Bible/God analogy except it's too bad half of the religious zealots out there do just that...

Thanks for the info.

So, if they can't use the credit report info as "proof" of debt, then I'm assuming they have nothing... (?) What would constitute as "proof" of debt?

Should I send them my own demand for particulars and request proof of debt, breakdown of charges, etc? Or do I just ask for whatever they have without being specific? Or do I do nothing and wait until the court date (which isn't until July.)

I intend to reply to their interrogatories and demand by stating "Defendant is unaware of any such documents and therefore cannot produce said documents" and the like. I won't perjure myself, but I won't admit to anything either.

I would settle with them before I'd allow it to get to a judgment, if it comes to that. And I do feel like I need to arm myself because it certainly feels like I'm going to war with these people. Telling me to "put my emotions aside" is like telling a depressed person to "cheer up"- I don't work that way. I guess that's why I'm not a lawyer! :shock: And I'm trying to focus, but you're talking to a person with very real ADD and focusing isn't my strong suit either... :oops: Anyway, when all is said and done and it comes time to file my papers and when I'm standing in court, believe it or not, I can get it together. It's the insanity of trying to figure it all out as I go along, and sifting through what is relevant and what is not. I don't want to make the wrong move and end up hurting my own case.

Thanks again!

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I like that Bible/God analogy except it's too bad half of the religious zealots out there do just that...

Thanks for the info.

So, if they can't use the credit report info as "proof" of debt, then I'm assuming they have nothing... (?) What would constitute as "proof" of debt?

Should I send them my own demand for particulars and request proof of debt, breakdown of charges, etc? Or do I just ask for whatever they have without being specific? Or do I do nothing and wait until the court date (which isn't until July.)

I intend to reply to their interrogatories and demand by stating "Defendant is unaware of any such documents and therefore cannot produce said documents" and the like. I won't perjure myself, but I won't admit to anything either.

I would settle with them before I'd allow it to get to a judgment, if it comes to that. And I do feel like I need to arm myself because it certainly feels like I'm going to war with these people. Telling me to "put my emotions aside" is like telling a depressed person to "cheer up"- I don't work that way. I guess that's why I'm not a lawyer! :shock: And I'm trying to focus, but you're talking to a person with very real ADD and focusing isn't my strong suit either... :oops: Anyway, when all is said and done and it comes time to file my papers and when I'm standing in court, believe it or not, I can get it together. It's the insanity of trying to figure it all out as I go along, and sifting through what is relevant and what is not. I don't want to make the wrong move and end up hurting my own case.

Thanks again!

I'll let someone who's credentials are a bit more impressive than my armchair JD address the particulars of our questions. But I wanted to mention that I also have very real ADD and have been on medication for it on and off throughout both my teen and adult life (I'm 31 years old). However, I've taken a JDB to court and won. Before this forum, I had never even heard of the FDCPA, now I consider myself better versed on it and related case law than most non-consumer credit lawyers. I've had one heck of a credit repair journey that's taught me more than I ever wanted to know about consumer credit.

It's been a lot of hard work, but it's netted me piece of mind and my first home purchase. You strike me as an intelligent and motivated person who will likely be able to accomplish similar things. But yes, you have to get focused, read voraciously, and be persistent. The creditor's council will do everything he/she can do to rattle your cage. That's because 99% of pro se litigants are ill-prepared and try to argue their emotions rather than the facts. Don't fall into that trap.

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A lot of pro se litigants here like gear up like they're going off to fight a war. If you want to have any chance of prevailing, put your emotions aside. Learn, understand, and use the law.

This really says it all. While its not a war, the other side treats it like one. Don't back down, don't try to be a nice guy. The other side will do everything they can to win this case.

READ, READ, READ. The FDCPA, The FCRA, every bit of case law you can. Get on the internet, get on this site and find out everything you can.

Then... go after the bastards!. :twisted:

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I'm 31 too. Thank you for your post- it actually does make a difference knowing that people can overcome bad credit and debt. I feel so overwhelmed since I've started this, but getting this kind of support from those who have been through it before really makes it seem manageable and helps me calm down a bit. I tend to vent my emotions through writing and so I'm not as "emotional" in person, which is good for when I do have to deal with the lawyers face-to-face. I also know how intimidating they can be and that they know that so I'm prepared to absolutely not back down.

With such an onslaught of new information, my brain feels so disorganized and often I have to read and reread the same thing 2, 3, even 4 times before it sinks in. (Thanks to the ADD.) The problem is sorting through what applies to me and what doesn't. Next week I'm going to go to court and sit and watch all day just to get a feel for it all and maybe I'll learn some things that way too. I am glad I found this forum because I found one or two others that I did not like and the information was so disorganized and sporadic. Plus, all I got from people was, "If you paid your bills, you wouldn't be in this mess." :thefinger:

So can any ideas or opinions about the following questions would be greatly appreciated:

1) What would constitute as "proof" of debt?

2) Should I send them my own demand for particulars and request proof of debt, breakdown of charges, etc? Or do I just ask for whatever they have without being specific? Or do I do nothing and wait until the court date (which isn't until July)?

ANYWAY, thanks again for the responses and rest assured, I will be reading more and more and preparing for battle! :boxing:

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So can any ideas or opinions about the following questions would be greatly appreciated:

1) What would constitute as "proof" of debt?

2) Should I send them my own demand for particulars and request proof of debt, breakdown of charges, etc? Or do I just ask for whatever they have without being specific? Or do I do nothing and wait until the court date (which isn't until July)?

OK, I'll try.

1. First, evidence of the debt as it existed with the Original Creditor. To me, that means something produced by the OC on the OC's letterhead that shows at least the amount of the debt, and even better, how the amount was reached. They would also need the agreement you signed, and documentation showing they purchased the debt.

2. I had a lawyer to write Discovery requests, and they were general. Something like this:

Request to Produce:

- All writings relating to the account in question

- All writings relating to the agreement which is the subject of this lawsuit

- All writings relating to any assignment of the agreement which is the subject of this lawsuit

- All writings relating to any sale of the agreement which is the subject of this lawsuit

The thing to remember is, you are entitled so see beforehand what evidence they will produce in court. Anything they don't produce during Discovery, you object to being introduced in court. If they send solid documentation in response to Discovery, you may decide to settle before trial. That's what the court wants to happen. In any case, you want to complete Discovery before going to court.

Good luck.

DH

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One thing of note is that you now have an FCRA violation againest the lawyer. Litigation IS NOT permissable purpose under the FCRA. The FTC has a very good letter on this and I have read at least a couple of cases on it, although I do not have cites since they did not apply to me.

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Ok, great info. Thanks so much. I'll take your advice and put my requests in the format your lawyer used- or at least use it as a general template.

It's good to know I have a right to anything they have before going to court. But I still worry they won't send me anything.

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It's good to know I have a right to anything they have before going to court. But I still worry they won't send me anything.

I think you're missing the point. If they send you sound documentation, you may decide you have a lost cause on your hands, and might be better off settling. But if they don't send you anything, you're going to win the case. Either they dismiss the case, or they go to court, and any documents they try to enter into evidence, you say "Objection, you Honor. This evidence was not produced during Discovery, and I move to have it deemed inadmissible."

DH

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No, I got the point. I understand. As I said before, I'd rather settle than have it come down to getting a judgment against me, but until I know what they have (if anything), I'm not going to settle and I'll continue to fight it. My initial worry was that they'd show up on the court date with solid evidence and throw me for a loop, but knowing that they have to disclose everything before court, is very helpful. As well as the fact that I can object to anything NOT shown to me before court. I am assuming they rely on people going to court with no information on how the process works and what is or is not allowed, and I want to be as prepared as possible...

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