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Being sent to mediation with a JDB by court, was expecting a hearing...help?


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I received a summons back in Feb. from my County Muncipal court that I was being sued by Midland De LLC through an attorney for a CC debt they purchased from another. I followed the summons and filed my answer in 10 days(had 28). I have been watching the county web site to see activity on my case waiting for a hearing to be set so I wouldn't miss it. It showed my answer filed and then "assigned to a judge" well, 10 days went by I haven't heard from the attorney for Midland or the court. I was expecting the next step to be either receiving the questions, discovery...from the plaintiff but yesterday it posted "mandatory mediation" scheduled for early May. Does this mean the judge feels I don't have a chance and therefore wants us to try to settle? I feel like I have been stopped in my tracks. I haven't served the plaintiff with any of my questions, discovery.....because I thought I needed a pre-trial hearing first. I am so confused. I can't afford a lawyer. Any suggestions would be helpful. Should I go ahead and send the court/Plaintiff my set of questions/interog. now or is it too late? Or would the judge see that as me being uncooperative? I feel so intimidated and feel I am going to be forced to settle (which I can't afford) and therefore an automatic judgement will be set against me? In all the other cases on their docket I am the only one in the last 6 months filed by Midland/lawyer to be sent to mediation. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

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It is the courts way of trying to get you guys to settle to avoid the costs of litigation. California has it and its called judicial arbitration. Look up your state rules of civil procedure on mediation and see what it might consist of and what you need to bring to the table. Best wishes.

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You may not be forced to settle. Depending on what the complaint says, your response to the complaint, the plaintiffs alligations and evidence, and your affirmative defense the mediation is used to bring the parties together to work out a solution. If you have not admitted owing and/or do not owe the debt, then stand your ground. Midland is known for not having sufficient evidence to prove their entitled to thier claim. I am not sure, but I do not think the mediation is a binding, conclusory process such is found in an arbitration rider.

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There is a difference between private arbitration and court ordered arbitration/mediation. And you aren't forced to settle the alleged debt; the process is there so that the parties may settle. But if they haven't provided proof or answered discovery, then you should stand your ground:)

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In court ordered arbitration, it's just as the other people have said - you are not forced to settle, it's just a step to avoid court, which is a taxpayer expense. You can always say that you don't want to settle and want court, and that will be the end of it.

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The court-ordered mediation can be viewed, too, as part of an overall intimidation process. In effect, it's a subtle way to obtain "admission" to the debt. For example, if a debtor is claiming not to owe a debt, then there is no upside to taking one step away from the court bench, to go to another room, a corner, a side table, with the plaintiff's attorney. A debtor's response should be to the point: "Your honor, I don't owe this debt. There is no reason for me to mediate a debt I don't owe." Keep it direct.

On the other hand, however, if the debtor is admitting a debt owed, but is quibbling over the amount, the interest, etc., then a pre trial mediation might have benefits. Maybe.

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Thanks to all of you for your responses. In my answer filed I denied the complaint mostly due to it being a JDC who I don't think has any right to try to collect without proving to me that they do indeed have legal rights to any account.

Their complaint went 1. Plaintiff is the owner of the written card account through purchase

--my answer:Defendant denies the allegations contained in paragraph 1 as Defendant is without information or knowledge sufficient to form an opinion as to the truth and accuracy of alleged assignents and entitlements

2. By use of the account, the Defendant became bound by the terms in agreement. A copy of the STATEMENT is attached as exhibit A.

--Defendant denies the allegations contained in Paragraph 2

3. Plaintiff exercised its rights pursuant to the terms of said agreement to accelerate the time for payment of the entire blanace.......

--Defendant denies the allegations contained in Paragraph 3 as there is not, nor has there ever been any agreement, written, oral or implied with the plaintiff and defendant.

4 Amound due now owing is -----

--Defendant denies the allegations contained in paragraph 4

5. Although demand has been made upon defendant to liquidate the balance due and owing the Defendant failed to do so.

---Defendant denies the allegations contained in Paragraph 5 as there is not, nor as there ever been any agreement, written, oral or implied with the Plaintiff and Defendant.

I then attached OBJECTION

Defendant objects to Exhibit A being a statement from the original creditor and is considered hearsay.

I followed with the following Affirmative Defenses

1. Statute of frauds: The Plaintiff has produced no agreement/contracts from the original creditor

2. Failure to State a Claim: the Plaintiff has produced no documents to sustain a clam.

3.The Plaintiff has violated numerous debt collection laws.

4.Lack of standing: Plaintiff has provided no evidence.

5. Defendant reserves the right to amend these affirmative defenses.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

OK sorry that was so long. I feel like with the mediation the Plaintiff (JDB) isn't required to prove any of my defenses especially anything legal stating/showing that they legally own it. the "statement" attached as exhibit A was nothing more than a computer generated box with my name the most recent creditor(not the one I signed an agreement with) saying they bought it and how much I owed at that time. There isn't any signatures on it at all. and it appears to be placed on top of Midland's letterhead and photocopied (there is a light line between their letterhead and the computer statement.)

Am I able to go ahead and send off my request for discovery, interrog., answers now so they will have 30 days to respond before we are due for our mediation? I feel like without it I am going to go into mediation with NOTHING but my word saying "they have no right to sue me". At least with the hearing I figured they were going to have to prove something in regards to my defenses.

Oh, I need to hit the lottery!!!

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I've been through mediation. If it's anything like the meeting I had, you may meet with the mediator and the JDB's attorney for a few minutes. The mediator states the rules of the mediation. Then you go into separate rooms. The mediator goes back and forth with the offers.

In my case, the JDB "offered" the full amount, but no interest added. I offered around 3%. Needless to say, he didn't accept it. That was it. No meeting of the minds and everyone left.

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just received a letter from the Mediation department from my municipal court with my date/time for Mediation. It says to bring copies of contracts, receips or other paperwork that supports your case......I have NOTHING!!! I haven't sent out any questions, iterog. or discovery because I was under the impression that my civil court required it to be done after the pre-trial. Am I allowed to go ahead and send the Plaintiff's attorney my request for copies of the purchase agreement, anything that has my signature on it and such? I feel like I am going to be so screwed when I get there since I haven't had an opportunity to ask them to "prove" "provide" that they legally have a right to sue me and for the correct amount. I have no money for an attorney. Please help!!

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just received a letter from the Mediation department from my municipal court with my date/time for Mediation. It says to bring copies of contracts, receips or other paperwork that supports your case......I have NOTHING!!! I haven't sent out any questions, iterog. or discovery because I was under the impression that my civil court required it to be done after the pre-trial. Am I allowed to go ahead and send the Plaintiff's attorney my request for copies of the purchase agreement, anything that has my signature on it and such? I feel like I am going to be so screwed when I get there since I haven't had an opportunity to ask them to "prove" "provide" that they legally have a right to sue me and for the correct amount. I have no money for an attorney. Please help!!

First take a deep breath...relax. I know it's easy to say but you need to just realize they brought you to court and eventually they need to prove their case. Right now I don't think you need to have much of any paperwork to prove your case. If you are denying the debt, denying it's yours etc. then you likely wouldn't have much documentation.

Some people might be sued in a situation where they've already paid the debt or it's beyond the statue of limitations etc. In these cases at this stage you'd want to bring receipts showing payment in full or proof of the fact that it's beyond the SOL etc. In these instances a Defendant could bring their proof to mediation and possibly put an end to things right there.

Conversely the Plaintiff could bring whatever they consider PROOF to the mediation/arbitration hearing and hope you cave and settle right there.

Please realize this doesn't mean you need to somehow PROVE this isn't your debt with documentation. If you have no knowledge of the debt then you likely have ZERO paperwork on it. If you do have any documentation or paperwork to support any of your arguments at this point then by all means take it with you to the hearing. If you don't..then simply show up and state your case. You might mention things like you don't know what debt they are talking about, they haven't proven they own the alleged debt and have standing to sue...etc etc etc.

As others have said, this sounds like mandatory mediation that many states/courts have. It's often little more than an opportunity for one party to give up. Unless you plan on admitting the debt is yours and settling w/ Midlan w/o them proving anything then I wouldn't worry too much. Once the mandatory mediation is over you will be afforded the same opportunity to begin whatever Discovery and other procedures are permitted via the applicable rules of the court.

From what I can tell 90% of the actual civil pre-trial process is basically little more than a longer drawn out mediation. Each time you show up to a pre-trial it generally consists of a pointless pretend conversation in the hallway between both parties:

Plaintiff's Attorney: "The judge wants us to talk. So do you give up?"

Defendant: "No...do you?"

Plaintiff's Attorney: "Nope."

Defendant: "Ok see you in there."

Sprinkle in some unsubstantiated claims, intimidation, lies and idle threats and you've got yourself a meaningful pretrial status conference. :roll:

Then you go before the judge and again explain why you aren't giving up and what the issues are. The judge then either tries to find a way to resolve it before trial or simply sets a trial date and a schedule of events to get you there.

Not much difference between the two scenarios other than the name and how long it takes. Mediation can be over in 10 minutes. The "pre-trial process" is basically the same thing all over again; except it can drag on for several different 10 or 15 minute sessions over the course of many months. Either way it's the same game of chicken which should always end in you saying "prove it" ;)

I'm not saying don't take the mediation process seriously if it is court ordered...I'm just saying there probably isn't a need to worry as much as you are. Believe me I can relate!

Edited by SingleDadJames
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  • 2 weeks later...

thank you for all your responses. Today even though mediation is scheduled next month I did receive ROD from the Plaintiff's attorney today 36 questions!!! I guess I will be sending off my own discovery request. My answers are due 3 days after our mediation so I might answer them but not send/file until after the mediation? I can almost guarentee they won't return my discovery request back before mediation.

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I received a summons back in Feb. from my County Muncipal court that I was being sued by Midland De LLC through an attorney for a CC debt they purchased from another. I followed the summons and filed my answer in 10 days(had 28). I have been watching the county web site to see activity on my case waiting for a hearing to be set so I wouldn't miss it. It showed my answer filed and then "assigned to a judge" well, 10 days went by I haven't heard from the attorney for Midland or the court. I was expecting the next step to be either receiving the questions, discovery...from the plaintiff but yesterday it posted "mandatory mediation" scheduled for early May. Does this mean the judge feels I don't have a chance and therefore wants us to try to settle? I feel like I have been stopped in my tracks. I haven't served the plaintiff with any of my questions, discovery.....because I thought I needed a pre-trial hearing first. I am so confused. I can't afford a lawyer. Any suggestions would be helpful. Should I go ahead and send the court/Plaintiff my set of questions/interog. now or is it too late? Or would the judge see that as me being uncooperative? I feel so intimidated and feel I am going to be forced to settle (which I can't afford) and therefore an automatic judgement will be set against me? In all the other cases on their docket I am the only one in the last 6 months filed by Midland/lawyer to be sent to mediation. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

I am in a battle with Chase Bank Attorneys in Circuit Court. Discovery has come and gone and the Plaintiff did not send me any discovery or written deposition. I submitted my answer to the complaint and was expecting a pre-trial conference. Instead I got a case evaluation. I went to case evaluation, the Plaintiff had no evidence still, so I stood my ground and the panel awarded the Plaintiff $0. Then I was expecting a trial date or pre-trial conference, but the Plaintiff since the panel said the case is less than $25k, it is going to court ordered mediation for Tuesday this week. The Plaintiff still has not shown me any evidence, so I will stand my ground again and I offered them $250 to settle so I can get this over with.

If after Tuesday we do not get into court, I will be upset..it has been a year since they filed the suit.

Hang in there, if they have not shown you any evidence do not admit to the account or how much you owe. Wait to get into court. Once the CA sees that you are willing to go to trial, they will want to back down. Most CA attorneys have never taken one of these cases through trial, they usually wear people down and get them to settle. Stay Strong!!!

Edited by bmc100
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