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Need help with a collection law suit

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State: PA

My mom missed payments on a credit card with the balance of $1900 and the creditor is taking her to the court in Feb, 2010. I wasn't aware of this situation until a sheriff served the summon to my parent's home. I am not sure about the total amount right now. I am guessing probably $2500. I am sure someone can tell what the legal limit on the fees for this debt in Pennsylvania.

I am willing to bite the bullet and settle this out of court. I don't want her to have a judgment on her credit report. Plus her name and my dad's name are on the deed for the house. Not sure if they will come after their only home.

How do I go about approaching either the suing attorney, collection agency or original creditor to settle this law suite? Or should we go to the court and make an arrangement? I would prefer to avoid the court. I am ready to cut the check on the day we make the deal (no payment plans).

I appreciate your help.

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Is the complaint asking for costs and attorney fees? If so, you'll likely be asked to pay more than just the amount of the suit.

Once you determine that, and if you're still willing to pay it, call the attorney and tell him you'll trade him a check for a dismissal with prejudice.

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We just got a letter from the suing attorney. It says:

Plaintiff v. defendant

Enclosed is a default notice in the above case. This is an attempt to collect debt and any information obtained from you will be used for debt collection purposes.

You are in default because you have failed to enter written appearance personally or by the attorney and filled in writing with the court your defenses and objections to the claim set forth against. Unless you act within 10 days from the date of this notice, a judgment may be entered against you without a hearing. You should take this paper to your lawyer at once. If you don't have a lawyer, go to the ****** county bar association to seek help.


Does this mean my parents missed the court date and a judgment was already entered? or Are they saying they will file the lawsuit in the court if we don't respond to them within 10 days? The law suit letter we received a month ago said our court date is on Jan 2010, at least that's what my brother claims. To make the matters worse, he misplaced it.

I am confused if the court date is in Jan, then how can these guys claim a judgment will be entered within ten days?

I also went to the county website and tried to look at the case but no record is found. I did a search by the docket number, plaintiff/defendant names or suing attorney names. None of them returned any record. I checked all the cases for the month of January 2010. Our case is not scheduled. Is there any other site where I can check the filed lawsuits in a county?

I would really appreciate it if someone can tell me what's going on.


Edited by pirsquare
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Someone familiar with PA law can chime in here and give a better answer, but here's the basic rundown.

Look at the Rules of Civil Procedure for your state, and the applicable local court. It should tell you the time frame in which your parents have to submit an answer. It will also tell you if a motion for default or summary judgment can be sought in the event an answer is not filed.

Attached to the summons should be a complaint. In order to answer the complaints, you will have to respond to the allegations. The general tactic is to deny them and make the other side prove their case.

I don't know that you even want to try to deny the debt, but by filing an answer you'll at least avoid the default judgment (if such is allowed by your courts rules).

Under PA code 231.1000 et seq.

Here's the notice to defend form and rule:


Says 20 days from receipt of service of summons.

1019-1023 tell you how to style your pleading (answer).

1029 deals with the "effect of failure to deny"

1034 and 1036 deal with motions for judgments

Pay particular attention to 1035.3(d) "Motion for Judgment for Failure to Respond"


Hope you can get something submittted in time to avoid a default. Like I said, even if you don't plan on fighting it to the end, you may be able to work something out with these guys outside the courtroom in settlement; the answer will buy you more time to do that.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We called the attorney and negotiated the settlement to 50%. I tried to get her down to 25% but didn't work out. I will take the 50%. Now what I need is help with the writing a settlement letter.

I like to say the following in the letter and have the CA or the attorney sign it.

1) Law suit will be dismissed with prejudice.

2) All the parties will consider the debt paid in full. The collection agency will not sell or transfer the amount not covered by the settlement to another entity.

Anything else I should add? Also, if you can point me to a sample letter, I would appreciate it. The ones on net is bit different.


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