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Reached settlement...still trying to avoid judgment

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Quick summary so far...(I reside in AZ):

Received summons from Zwicker a couple of weeks ago on behalf of Chase. I called and agreed to a payment plan after which they sent a consent for judgment which I have not signed.

After reworking our finances I called the corporate/collections office yesterday and was able to work out a settlement spread out over 12 months. They told me I would be receiving a settlement letter and I confirmed that I was agreeing to a settlement, not a consent for judgment. The supervisor told me I should receive the letter shortly and should not expect to receive further communication from the attorneys office.

I contacted the attorneys office to advise them of the settlement and that they should be receiving communication about it. They proceeded to tell me since the payments are spread out over a period of time they might still require a stipulated judgment to protect their ability to receive the money.

I contacted the court to find out the procedure for filing an answer or a motion to dismiss (I'd be happy to do that without prejudice as long as I can avoid a judgment). They said I have to file an answer to the summons first and then I can file a motion to dismiss once I have the settlement letter.

These are my primary questions:

*If the collector told me they were accepting the settlement and a judgment would not be necessary can the attorney do something different or are they just telling me that since they haven't received the final word from the corporate office?

*Once I have the settlement letter can I ask the attorney to work with me on the terms (ie. dismissal without prejudice v. judgment)?

*If they are not willing should I tell them I plan to file an answer so that I can file for dismissal (hoping the judge would go for the dismissal without prejudice which protects the creditor but relieves the court load)?

*If I do have to file an answer how should I respond? I can't really deny all the claims since I agreed to a settlement, so what should my answer consist of?

*Any other suggestions or feedback?

I do owe the debt (loss of a 50K paycheck per year put me in a bad position) and am satisfied with settling so I'm not trying to beat the system. Just trying to keep a judgment off my record.

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I am sure others will chime in with more advice than I can give but I will tell you what I think on a few things.

I have dealt with Zwicker twice and what they say vs. what they do on any given day is anyone's guess.

They know you are under a timeline to get an agreement signed before your answer date. Chances are they will think you are relying on this instead of filing your answer.

I would spend my time preparing and answer for the court and be very careful when doing it. I wouldn't admit to anything just yet. If you admit everything in your answer you are likely to get a judgment handed to you. I don't know the rules of AZ though.

Make answering the summons/complaint priority and deal with the agreement if and when Zwicker decides to follow through on their end.

The thing is that you admitted the debt to them and as willing as they might sound about an agreement without a judgment, I wouldn't hold my breath.

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The clerk said that as soon as I file an answer I have the ability to file a motion for dismissal based on the settlement letter. What are the odds that the judge would allow for dismissal without prejudice knowing I have the offer letter? Seems like that would be preferable instead of adding to the court load.

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I have been waiting for a letter that was supposed to be mailed out on December 17th. What day is today? One month later and still no letter. I call corporate weekly and always get the same answer. It is in the mail.

Yes, you can file a motion after you file your answers to dismiss etc.

Default Judgments are those who didn't file a response. 9 out of 10.

The dismissals without prejudice are more than likely cases that have entered into an agreement.

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Okay...let's say I file an answer with a denial to bide some time, then I do receive the settlement letter. Do I go straight to the courthouse and file a motion to dismiss? Will it matter that I denied first and then accepted a settlement or is that really irrelevant?

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Okay...let's say I file an answer with a denial to bide some time, then I do receive the settlement letter. Do I go straight to the courthouse and file a motion to dismiss? Will it matter that I denied first and then accepted a settlement or is that really irrelevant?

In my opinion, it will not matter if you denied first, then accept settlement. It happens everyday with the big corporations. They settle so they don't have the cost to litigate.

Once you get settlement letter, contact CA and have them dismiss, that way you don't get charged filing fees.


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I have a similar situation which I asked about on the "Settlement-How To Avoid Stipulated Judgement" thread.

Here is my question to everyone. Zwicker sent me the letter/offer of a settlement. I have agreed but asked them to drop the lawsuit which is in discovery phase. They want me to sign the consent letter which I won't based on the verbage of the letter.

The question is can I motion the court to dismiss the case including the letter as evidence that they have agreed to a settlement? The letter says nothing of a consent decree needing to be signed. How best should I do this (what motions etc), and should I make the check payable to zwicker & send it to them, as I don't think they will cash it without me signing the consent order. Should I include a copy of the check to the court as evidence? Can I make a check out to the court?

Here is the letter they faxed me

Sorry I don't have a PDF editor so I had to copy & paste as best as I can. Here is the first part, sent yesterday offering a settlement. These is no mention of a consent or stipulation in this.

This letter will confirm that our client Amex has

agreed to accept $xxxx as settlement in full of

the above referenced acct. This settlement is

conditional upon receipt by this office of a

check in the amount of $xxxx on or before the

28th of the month oe each consecutive month

beginning January 2011 until december 2012.

Amex has requested that we advise you of the


By accepting this amount Amex releases Mr Nice

Guy from further liability on this acct only. No

attempts will be made to collect the remaining

balance. However it should be noted that the acct

will continue to reflect the remaining balance

which would need to be paid before Amex processes

any future applications that you may choose to

submit for Amex accts or that an employer may

submit on your behalf for an Amex corporate card.

Notewithstanding the foregoing future

applications may still be declined based on the

credit criteria in place at the time the

application is submitted.

Upon timely receipt of said payment and

successful negotiation thereof, this office shall

advise our client that the account is settled in

full. Thereafter in due course our client will

notify the appropriate credit reporting agencies

of the accounts settled status.

If the payment of the settlement account is not

received on or before the date stated above,

acceptance of this settlement offer is withdrawn.

If there are any questions or concerns please

contact ...

thanks everyone

Edited by kabbalah
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just so you are aware, az. courts charge $223. just to answer a summons/complaint you must have 3 copies of everything when filing also.

Any motion or additional filings after filing your answer is no charge.

I answered 2 summons/complaints & 1 has already received a motion for summary judgement, arbitration set for 4-2011, should file my bk by then though

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