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Being Sued...arbitration hearing June 11, 2009


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:)++ Hi all and thank you for any assistance you may have to offer!!

On 4/10/2003, I signed the following agreements for purposes of obtaining a CDL license/certification in the state of Indiana(this was where the training facility was) while a permanent resident of Pennsylvania.

An Enrollment Agreement, an Installment Business Loan Demand Note(with an arbitration clause), and 2 separate Authorizations of Payroll Deduction(1 for the driver payroll dept. of the training facility and 1 for a carrier stipulated in the enrollment agreement)

I am BEING SUED in the court of common pleas in Allegheny County, PA.

:oops: Reason for default…Living on the road for a period of 6 weeks as a TRUCK DRIVER, barely making enough to live on the road and support my wife and son back home, wife subsequently had a nervous breakdown, was hospitalized and had a 5 year old son to take care of with no family to help. NO PAYMENTS were ever taken by payroll deduction nor made by me, "the defendant".

The complaint was filed on 8/4/08 and answered in pro se on 9/18/08.

A Notice of default was then filed by plaintiff's counsel on 9/23/08. By court laws we were not in default and so litigation continues.

On 11/12/08 we hired an attorney who then filed an amended answer and new matter on 12/23/08. The attorney led us to believe that we had a solid defense of SOL, doctrine of laches, doctrine of waiver, and we also provided original documents instead of the generic ones filed by plaintiff's counsel, etc.

After acruing a $2500+ bill with our attorney, was subsequently told that "she" worked for an arbitration judge in the past and that typically even though the above defense(s) applied we would still probably end up owing some of the now ~$8000.00 to the plaintiff. Did she not know this before we accrued such a debt? :confused: Oh and was then subsequently told that unless our bill with her was paid in full before the hearing she could not attend the hearing…:confused: Also, on or about Jan 19, 2009 we were supposed to answer plaintiff’s “Request for Admission and Request for Documents” within a 30 day period. Our attorney suggested that we just try to negotiate with Plaintiff’s counsel to avoid the hearing. My wife started to suffer significant health problems, was hospitalized again and the ball got dropped for sometime…once she recovered we decided not to negotiate and now it is about 120 days late.

We have since terminated our attorney and are now paying a NEW DEBT of about $1800.00 :evil: Still have a hearing on June 11, 2009.

Uncertain whether or not the above defense(s) are in fact valid and will provide relief from this “OLD” debt we plan to proceed to arbitration unrepresented.

Question 1. Does PA SOL of 4 years in fact apply to this type of contract?

Question 2. Is the amended answer and new matter still valid since it was filed by an attorney who has withdrawn as per our request?

Question 3(a). Are we in default because we did not answer the plaintiff’s Request for Admission and Request for Documents?

Question 3(B). Or can we still answer at this late juncture?

Question 3©. Would this fall under a pleading?

Question 4. Can we plead for an adjournment based on withdrawl of counsel?

We genuinely thank you for any advice or assistance you can provide. :)

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Question 1. Does PA SOL of 4 years in fact apply to this type of contract?

It would seem so. However, did you sign the contract in PA? Is there a choice of law provision, should it come to litigation? I am asking because SOLs for the two states are different, I think. Furthermore, this isn't the type of contractual dispute that we are accustomed to seeing around here, so I hope an attorney can weigh in and elucidate this matter. I don't know if the Uniform Commercial Code could shed light on this type of contract or not. Please excuse my ignorance.

Question 2. Is the amended answer and new matter still valid since it was filed by an attorney who has withdrawn as per our request?

I have seen tentative rulings where counsel withdrew and the case proceeded. It seems reasonable to assume that unless counsel is disbarred for unethical conduct, and has affected your case adversely, that whatever they helped you to draft up is still valid. However, with leave of the court you may always amend your pleadings.

Question 3(a). Are we in default because we did not answer the plaintiff’s Request for Admission and Request for Documents?

From what I understand, if you do not answer requests for admission and documents, then the other side could get a motion to compel against you and the court would order you to produce this information. HOWEVER, given the compelling nature of your story, asking the court for a continuance or leave for more time may work. The problem is that you have waited a bit of time on this AND the courts could choose to deem your lack of response to admissions as an admission. Does that make sense?

Question 3(B). Or can we still answer at this late juncture?

Look up your state rules of civil procedure about continuances and asking the court for more time.

Question 3©. Would this fall under a pleading?

Vague question, would what fall under a pleading? Uncertain what you mean.

Question 4. Can we plead for an adjournment based on withdrawl of counsel?

I don't think you can ask them to stop the case and dismiss it, but it seems reasonable that you could ask for more time and submit doctors notes for your wife's condition and the letter from your attorney confirming her withdrawl, saying that these circumstances prejudiced your defense. I hope you can get some legal advice so that you don't get sanctioned for failure to respond to discovery demands. I wish you the best of luck and pray for your family.

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Your case is complicated. However, laches, SOL are valid defenses in your case. If you never paid them and signed the agreement in 2003, why have they waited six years to sue you? That makes no sense, unless the SOL for your type of contract is different...

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Hi rikkivs and ty...no the contract was signed in Indiana however luckily PA law applies here. I too hope an attorney can offer guidance here. Q. 3© nevermind it was late when I posted...lol The attorney did make a formal withdrawl in the court so that is ok and I never thought about a doctors note so ty there as well. Well as far as the contract goes...this is something that I still haven't been able to figure out...the attorney never did give me a definitive answer on that.

As of today...there hasn't been any filing by opposing counsel regarding failure to respond to discovery...I plan to answer and submit today.

TY again for your time...god bless!!

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I just found out that there has been a motion for summary judgement filed by opposing counsel and to be heard on May 29, 2009 for failure to answer discovery demands. Is there anyway to fix this now? I have email correspondance from my "then" attorney stating that because we were in potential negotiations for resolving the matter we were not under any court imposed time restraints to answer...she then kept contacting opposing counsel regarding further discussion of resolution to no avail. Once we asked our counsel to withdraw...they proceeded to this tactic. Can any attorney help me with this today??? PLEASE!!!!

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Question 3(a). Are we in default because we did not answer the plaintiff’s Request for Admission and Request for Documents?

When you fail to answer admissions they can be deemed admitted by the court. A MSJ would be the proper course of action for the plantiff. I would answer the admissions and discovery requests immediately and show up for the hearing.

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