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Trying to Collect Again


BA42
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Javitch Rathbone et al was trying to collect on an alleged debt and I fought them all the way, step-by-step. In February of this year, the court sent me papers, "Notice of Voluntary Dismissal Without Prejudice."

Today, I got a letter from Northland Group for this same debt, but now the amount they want is even higher.

My question is - do I have to go through all of that again, the letters, discovery questions, etc. with Northland or do I send them the letter from the court that says it was dismissed?

Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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No, it's not a summons. It says:

"We did not receive a response from our initital contact letter. In order to assist you in clearing this debt, we are offering you options; however, the options below are not your only options."

Then they go on to say I can pay a 3-pay settlement or pay monthly.

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Personally, I think you should consult with a NACA lawyer. There are several very good ones in Ohio. While there is no law on point that I know of, I believe it is an unfair practice to sue someone for a debt, require that person to defend themselves in court, dismiss because you don't have any evidence, then sue again on the same debt a year later.

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I was under the impression, and correct me If I am wrong, that if a case is dismissed without prejudice - that the action can be filed again.

This is my biggest argument against the pocket docket system in Minnesota. Company serves summons. When defendant tries to answer, they are told to pay the fee because the case was not filed yet. When defendant answers (and pays $60 for small claims/$300 for regular court), the plaintiff dismisses with prejudice (this defendant is out court costs because you cannot collect for dismissal with prejudice). Plaintiff sells debt and then the process repeats.

You could DV them, try to flesh out a violation, then when you go to court, file a counterclaim so that they cannot get out of the suit with a simple dismissal with prejudice (they can remove their claim but yours is still standing). Other than that, yes, you have to go through this again.

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No, it's not a summons. It says:

"We did not receive a response from our initital contact letter. In order to assist you in clearing this debt, we are offering you options; however, the options below are not your only options."

Then they go on to say I can pay a 3-pay settlement or pay monthly.

Sounds like they're claiming this is not their first letter to you. If that's not true, and they didn't include the FDCPA required Verification Statement, you need to point that out.

Send a DV letter and be sure to say that contrary to their claims, this is the first communication you've had from them, and as such you are exercising your rights as per the FDCPA to dispute the debt, request verification of the debt, and request the name and address of the original creditor.

Good luck.

DH

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I was under the impression, and correct me If I am wrong, that if a case is dismissed without prejudice - that the action can be filed again.

Your understanding of the phrase "without prejudice" is correct. However, in California, it costs at least $300 to file an answer. I am sure that there are debt collectors who believe they may file several cases until they get it right--forcing the debtor to navigate the legal system and pay $300 each time.

I am saying that I believe there are Judges who would find that such a practice to be unfair and possibly actionable under applicable law (see California Business and Professions Code section 17200 et. seq.). Especially if the second time around, the plaintiff's evidence is no better than it was initially.

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I think California (I know some other state besides Minnesota) uses the pocket docket too. What is happening is that the plaintiff fills out the complaint and summons, pockets the complaint, and serves the summons. When the defendant goes to answer, because the complaint has not been filed yet, the court requires the defendant to pay the court costs to answer. It is legal here in Minnesota and one other state (don't remember off hand).

Another member here told be that supposedly, you can also serve the answer on the plaintiff without filing it with the court but I do not think there is any legal opinion to back that up and most lawyers here do not recommend it.

So you either pay the court costs to answer (and most of the time, the plaintiff then dismisses without prejudice, leaving you out the court fees, and sells the debt to the next person in line to try again) or you fail to answer and then the plaintiff pays the court fees, gets a summary judgment, and attaches the court fees to your bill. In other words, the plaintiff only puts up the money when the are 100% sure they have won and back you once they are forced to defend their complaint.

In fact, I figured out how to start a real good money making company using that process. Don't make or take any phone calls (thus avoiding the FDCPA violations). Just simply buy the debts and sue. Anyone calls my bluff, just walk away and collect on the rest (or sell the judgments that are uncollectable). All I have to do is leave my morals at the door.

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And anyone should wonder why the courts system is overflowing! Once it's dismissed imo it should remain that way. All this jdb is doing is tearing the country an even larger one than it already has. I can't imagine $300 to file an answer, that's ludicrous to say the least!

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Baggins , that's even worse than what is going on here in Florida , I sure hope you find a way to get around it , there was a time when I would have read that and think that you just did not understand , because it seems that would be impossible but I have learned how immoral some of these things are , how could anyone think those rules could be to help or protect us ?

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I think California (I know some other state besides Minnesota) uses the pocket docket too. ......

No, California is not like that. The complaint and summons must be filed with the court, and there is a fee to file. The clerk puts the case number on the summons. The two documents must then be served upon the defendant.

In case anybody is interested, here are the Alameda County court fees, effective 7/28/2009. These are the fees to both file the complaint and to file an Answer:

Amount less that $10,000: $205

$10,000-$25,000: $330

over $25,000: $350

Despite these huge fees, the courts will be closed one day per month due to our state budget problems.

Regards,

DH

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