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Here in FL, got summons this past Thursday for AMEX. Trying to put together answer letter and am VERY concerned about doing it properly.

I have tried to find the answer through search here but haven't been able to. I also searched online.

I don't want to take the chance that by some technicality it is rejected and therefore judgment brought on me.

Is there a particular way to do this letter for the state of Florida? Or am I supposed to get a particular form from the court clerk for this letter? I looked into civil procedures for my state and was totally overwhelmed by the info and still never did find the correct procedure for the letter.

OR am I making this harder that what it is?? Could I simply use a basic sample letter and that will work? OR is there someone here that has done an answer letter for a FL summons CC debt response that could please share with me how they did their letter?

Would like to get that done and letter out by no later than end of next week.

ANY help with this would be VERY much appreciated!

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We are all new here at one time or another and trying to learn the ropes, you have to remember that you will not be Perry Mason in a matter of a couple of weeks reading on this board. What will happen is you will learn enough to help yourself and extend the proceedings and possibly win if you work hard enough.

1. When you recieve somthing from the plaintiff/lawyer review the form and your response should be in similar form.( If there information came on a standardized form from the court, then likely in your jursidiction there is a standardized form for your to respond) In laymans terms what they sent you you will likely send something that looks similar back, speaking of form only. If you have MS Word on your computer you may have "Pleading Wizard" search help in word and this will get you an open legal document form.

2. Here is the information from the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure-

"© The Answer. In the answer a pleader shall state

in short and plain terms the pleader’s defenses to each

claim asserted and shall admit or deny the averments

on which the adverse party relies. If the defendant is

without knowledge, the defendant shall so state and

such statement shall operate as a denial. Denial shall

fairly meet the substance of the averments denied.

When a pleader intends in good faith to deny only a

part of an averment, the pleader shall specify so much

of it as is true and shall deny the remainder. Unless

the pleader intends in good faith to controvert all of

the averments of the preceding pleading, the pleader

may make denials as specific denials of designated

averments or may generally deny all of the averments

except such designated averments as the pleader expressly

admits, but when the pleader does so intend

to controvert all of its averments, including averments

of the grounds upon which the court’s jurisdiction depends,

the pleader may do so by general denial.

(d) Affirmative Defenses. In pleading to a preceding pleading a party shall set forth affirmatively accord and satisfaction, arbitration and award, assumption

of risk, contributory negligence, discharge in bankruptcy, duress, estoppel, failure of consideration,fraud, illegality, injury by fellow servant, laches, license, payment, release, res judicata, statute of frauds, statute of

limitations, waiver, and any other matter constituting an avoidance

or affirmative defense. When a party has mistakenly designated a defense as a counterclaim or a counterclaim as a defense, the court, on terms if justice

so requires, shall treat the pleading as if there had been a proper designation.

Affirmative defenses appearing on the face of a prior pleading may be asserted as grounds for a motion or defense under rule 1.140(B);

provided this shall not limit amendments under rule 1.190 even if such ground is sustained.

This explains what the content of the information should be first general denial of everything except where you live assuming you were served properly. Then look at the list of affrimative defenses, search what they mean and review others posts and pick 6 or 8 to include in your answer that may relate generally to your circustances. As I state above we all have along way to go before we become Clarence Darrow.

Your purpose right now is to answer so you can buy time!!!!! With this time you can gain more knowledege and you will realize what options you have. Don't worry about what they have submited with their pleading, your job is to get an answer filed in a timely fashion, then you can learn the next steps, You can't run until you have learned to walk, and you are only crawling right now.

Deep breath finish the answer and post the answer, then ask for assitance with the answer.....

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THANK YOU skippy and FlaLawyer!!!

Looked into that FlaLawyer and kept info for future reference...thank you!!

Thanks to you skippy for taking the time to outline the info above..I think I got somewhat a grasp of it. Late here and have been doing research all night..ready to fall on my face.

I am assuming I don't need to get and use form from county clerk for my answer letter..that it doesn't matter either way? I will place my letter here after I work on it tomorrow..I will post it here later on Sunday. Please let me know what you think of it.

I agree, I am buying time in getting that answer done and sent out, so will get right on it. I know I am to send to atty registered certified letter but is it best for me to go to county clerk and hand over the copy personally or do I simply send it?

Want to mention there is a statement that the atty had placed on the summons. It was an absolute lie. It states: " Before the institution of this action Plaintiff and Defendant had business between them and on April 1, 2010, they agree to the resulting balance." FALSE! That NEVER happened. Is this something I can use for my good somewhere along the way? Should I use this in my defenses, and how to write that if so?

One more thing that I am unsure of is the language used on the first page. There is the statement: file the original of the defenses (my letter of answer?) with the Clerk of this Court either before(?) service on Plaintiff's attorney or immediately after(?). Is that only saying to get my letter done in the 20 days I was given?? I assume so. I am sure I am being over stressed...I know skippy..breath. :>)

I feel like I am asking a lot of dumb questions, but I want to make sure of all of this..I have never had any experience with the court in this way. Only experience is jury duty (and protection of a grandchild), so I am feeling lost and sometimes overwhelmed. I had 30 years of perfect credit so this is hard to swallow, but long story short, I need to keep my home.

I will be doing my answer letter on Sunday and later that day post here. Please let me know what you think of it.

Thanks again..I am so very grateful for your help, don't feel so alone now as I have the last few days.

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If you want a jury, include a jury demand in your answer.

You do not need to send it certified mail to the opposing counsel in Florida. Save youself the six bucks. You can hand deliver it to your clerk of court or mail it.

You cited the certificate of service rule. Make sure the last thing - right before your signature block - is a certificate of service. There is an example as part of that rule. As long as you fax, hand deliver, or mail a copy to the opposing counsel around the same time you file it with the court you should be fine. A certificate of service provides prima facie evidence of service.

Your Answer format will have headings like this:


Affirmative Defenses

Jury Demand

Certificate of Service

You might want to look into motions to dismiss depending on what they attached to the Complaint or if you want arbitration instead.

What county are you in?

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Thanks for the help, MUCH appreciated, I can use all I can get!

Yes, am considering motion to dismiss, would like to include that with answer letter, but need to know more on what I am doing with that first. I want NO mistakes in doing that letter. That's why my copy of answer letter is not posted here yet, not complete for I keep learning what I may be able to add to it.

This is what was attached to summons: exhibit A is the generic membership CC agreement that is sent out periodically to CC members. Exhibit B is a payment coupon from last summer showing a payment made. Funny thing is, atty has statement in summons saying that no payments on account were ever made! Laughable.

There is no document of assignment attached showing atty was assigned debt by AMEX. Can I use that alone for motion to dismiss?

Most of all is the lie stating there was an agreement between myself and AMEX of a 'business transaction and agreement made between us of the 'resulting balance' which NEVER happened! Can I use this as well for motion to dismiss?

Recall I am green here. Am trying to learn fast but I still slow in some understanding of terminology and such for this is my first suit EVER, so please be patient with me. I am more than willing to say I am very ignorant at this point of how to handle any of this, other than what I have learned the last couple of days. And there is a lot to learn.

"you cited the certificate service rule" meaning?? What do you mean by certificate of service and I cited it? (2 am here, maybe I am seeing double by now)

Affirmative defenses would be what I want to mention as a breakdown on what points I do not agree with, correct? I am concerned of the language I would use for that, would it be 'good enough'.

And DO I want a jury?? Have no idea...I am still crawling here. :>) Wonder whats involved with that and is it a good idea at this point to do so. all of this still seems like a bad nightmare and makes me nervous as is!

Should I mention county here on forum?? I understand attys lurk here. Remember am a green horn here and paranoid.

Looks like its going to be a long week..almost 2 in morn and still doing research and trying to get an understanding of it all. Would love to catch a plane and leave the country never to return. I see here in my country so much greed, power hungry people taking advantage of people while they are all my years I have never seen so many cold and calculating people..don't even want to call myself an American anymore and was once proud to be. Most discouraging, BUT I have those who depend on me so here I stay, for now! Someday I will walk the sand of Grand Cayman and this all will be but a dream.

Thanks again!

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