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Forhad

summons by mail from como law firm

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I got a summon in the mail from como law firm in st paul,mn on my medical bill. They are saying I have to sign it and send back to them within 20 days. That bill was around $1600. Now they are saying I have to pay them some other costs and interests. I dont know what I should do now. Anyone else deal with them before ?

Edited by Forhad

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I am NOT in Minn. I gather the laws are very strange there. The lawyers can go against you for a judgement even without filing a case, or something really weird like that. You need to use Google, or whatever your favorite search engine is, to check out the civil procedure laws in Minn. The debt collection lawyers aren't on your side, and may very well lie to you. Don't talk to them until you have a better idea of the facts. Some people on this forum ARE from Minn. They will have some ideas on where to get started.

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Sign the summons is a new one unless they are telling you to admit guilt so that they never have to go to court to prove their case.

This is a famous MN law firm/JDB that uses the pocket docket laws to their advantage. Pocket Docket is where you serve a summons without filing the case in the courts in hopes that the defendant does not answer or pays the court costs themselves so that they do not have to. If they get a default judgment, the law firm can then try to seize assets in hopes of finding something to take before paying the court costs.

There is a mixed opinions here as well as with lawyers in Minnesota on whether you can simply send an answer back CMRRR without filing with the court (it would make sense that the defendant is afforded the same process as the plaintiff) where as other attorneys believe that you as the defendant should pay the court costs to make sure you get the protections of the courts. Realize however that this is an official summons and you need to answer it.

Once in court (or even answered) though, most places like this cannot prove their case (or the case itself has serious deficiencies such as the original creditor is not included as a plaintiff) that you probably can win or at least for the moment, get the attorney to back off. 95% of these summons go on to default judgments so you will probably have good odds to make them go away by answering.

From here you have a couple of options:

1) Send the answer CMRRR to the law firm and see if they go away. You may get lucky and they will go away to handle the sheep rather than the one person who will go against the herd.

2) File your answer with the court and pay the court fees if you can afford them (or if you think you are eligible, file an in-forma paupis form). The judge would have to approve the in-forma paupis form however and they are hard to get approved. If you pay, make sure to counter-claim for legal fees including court costs paid by you in the answer so that they simply cannot dismiss and leave you holding the bag for those.

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Every time I read these threads I am absolutely shocked and appauled that it costs money for people to defend themselves.

There is no cost where I'm from to file an answer or to counterclaim a summons and a complaint and it really baffles my mind that is there is such a charge in other jurisdictions. (I believe in California I have read this can be as much as $300!!!!!).

Yes to do more advanced things there are fees such as motions, cross-motions, special orders etc etc.

This needs to be changed in this country especially in debt collection litigation.

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Thank you all for the advices. So should I just signed that "ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF RECEIPT OF SUMMONS AND COMPLAINTS" and send it them? I can not post a image link here otherwise I could show you the scanned copies of the letter(because I don't have enough posts). Can anybody please send me a pm with your e-mail address so that I can e-mail to you. I am really do not know much about laws about this matter. So I really need some help from you guys.

or should I just send them a DV letter. Please advice.

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If you are sure that all the paper is is a summons, then it is fine to acknowledge that you have been served. You may want to consider seeing a lawyer first however to make sure that is all you are signing to.

Acknowledging that you have been served does not mean you are guilty but you have 20 days from when you were served to file an answer.

I am surprised though that the law firm is using the US Mail to send summons rather than paying the sheriff's office. Check to see how the summons was mailed out because technically, in MN, a summons can only be served by another person who is an adult and is not connected to the matter at hand. A staff member at the law firm would not qualify in that regard because the firm is connected to the case.

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in MN, a summons can only be served by another person who is an adult and is not connected to the matter at hand. A staff member at the law firm would not qualify in that regard because the firm is connected to the case.

Rule 4.02. By Whom Served

Unless otherwise ordered by the court, the sheriff or any other person not less than 18 years of age and not a party to the action, may make service of a summons or other process

A staff member from the Attorney's office is allowed to serve process.

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OK, lets assume you have been served whether you send back the Acknowledgment or not. The issue then is that you have 20 days to get an answer back in the law firms hands.

There are many tips on how to set up an answer. I am not sure about medical debt but if they are using account stated as the reason for action, 2 things have to occur:

1. The plaintiff has to provide a accounting from 0 to the present charges and if the charges were legal

2. If there is a chain of custody, all former holders of the debt must be plaintiffs as well as the current holder.

For the amount you are talking, if you end up paying the court fees, you could force the issue into conciliatory court (small claims). This may work as an advantage because the rules of evidence are looser but may also work for the plaintiff as well. Depends on if you think they have a strong case or not.

I would suggest looking around the site for how to formulate an answer. You can also look for similar cases in your county where the defendant won and see how they formulated their answers and do the same thing.

If you do not wish to go through the trouble, then find a lawyer. That would be my advise anyways as no internet board replaces the advice of a good lawyer.

Just realize that if you do not answer, the plaintiff WILL GET a default judgment without a judge reviewing whether they even have a case or not. The law firm will then try to find and freeze assets such as bank account or look into garnishment BEFORE paying the court fees to see if they can get anything worth the court costs. If they can, then and only then will they pay the court costs to obtain what they froze. DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU. If you show even an inkling that you will fight, they may just leave you alone to find some easier targets.

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If you come back to this thread you started, PM me and I'll give you the name of my lawyer in town. He's new to this kind of thing with debt collectors, but he knows contract law and has good advice.

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I sent you a pm. Please send me the info.

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