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Proof of Service of 30-day Summons & Complaint filed yesterday


Meli
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***Updated***

I found out today by searching the court system that a Proof of Service of 30-day Summons & Complaint - was filed by Midland Funding LLC for a debt of less than $10K.

I never received any paperwork but I will get a copy of the complaint at the court house on Monday.

I consulted with a local attorney and she quoted me $3500 if I retain her and $250/hour - crazy!!

Can someone break down the steps needed on this? I understand that I have to file a response within 30 days but what else should I do to be prepared for the court date?

Edited by Meli
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Someone will be along soon to give you a hand, these people here are awesome and very helpful. They are going to need a lot more info from you and I would recommend reading this thread to get you started: http://www.creditinfocenter.com/forums/there-lawyer-house/242744-qs-answer-when-posting-forum-please-read.html

Also, here's another thread about beating midland, it's a pretty good read! http://www.creditinfocenter.com/forums/there-lawyer-house/292720-start-finish-winning-against-midland-funding-aka-jdb.html

Good luck,

rt

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I had read your earlier post, and I was surpised that they didn't leave a copy of the Summons and Complaint with your husband, and then mail you a copy. That would complete the requirements for service by Substitute Service.

You don't need to worry about a court date just yet; you have plenty of time. I use the term "glacial" to describe the speed of the judicial system.

You already know the first steps: get copies of the Summons, the Complaint, and the Proof of Service. It appears they may be trying to pull a fast one on the Proof of Service, but challenging it is not an effective use of your resources. All you will "win" is the opportunity to get formally served.

Once you've looked over the paperwork, you basically have three options.

1. Ignore it, allow them to win a Default Judgment

2. Negotiate a settlement

3. Defend yourself in the lawsuit.

This board can help you if you choose number 3. A lawyer can be an invaluable help, but they are expensive, as you've found out. Six years ago I chickened out and hired a lawyer. I had to pay a $500 retainer, which is kind of like the security deposit for renting an apartment, then had to pay the attorney's actual fees (yep, $250/hour) as things went along. Total cost was about $2900, plus $300 court costs to file. Then, when the plaintiff backed down, we recovered $1100 in costs, the maximum allowed by statute.

If you choose to fight the lawsuit, the first step is to file an Answer. Filing fees are high in California, now more that $300. Unless you are destitute and qualify for fee waiver. There are forms for your Answer available online. I've posted links to them before, and can again if you can't find them.

Several months from now, the first Case Management Conference will be held. That's basically for the court to ascertain whether not you have been served. Your notice of that conference may tell you that if you've filed an Answer, the case will automatically be continued, and you don't have to appear.

There are more steps after that, but very briefly:

- You will engage in Discovery. This is where each side asks the other to produce the evidence they will use at trail.

- There will be several Case Management Conferences to make sure the case is progressing

- Eventually, a trial date will be set.

For now, get the paperwork. There are Stickies on What to Do If You Are Sued and Affirmative Defenses. You can start reading; there's lots to learn.

But don't panic, there are many people here to help you.

Good luck,

DH

Edited by debtorshusband
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Right, so now you know what they are going to be saying when you drive their legal fees through the roof.

An Oregon attorney I interviewed claimed they do not like Arbitration because all the plaintiff's attorney wants to to is negotiate a settlement. A well prepared Defendant is better off going it pro se.

Also suggested most of the the plaintiff's attorneys work on contingency with Midland. If that's the case what kind of an investment do you suspect they run up to fend off an overly active CIC forum participant with all the excellent help we get.

HP

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I never received any paperwork but I will get a copy of the complaint at the court house on Monday.

I consulted with a local attorney and she quoted me $3500 if I retain her and $250/hour - crazy!!

Can someone break down the steps needed on this? I understand that I have to file a response within 30 days but what else should I do to be prepared for the court date?

When I came to this forum, what I found missing initially was a Step by Step in layman's terms that would at least allay my fears. So I'll try to do one for you. The following is what I'd tell myself if I could go back in time. In my opinion:

Step 1: Don't do what what I did and IGNORE the complaint until the last minute. Sounds like you're already ahead of the game on that one. I waited until a week before the first court date and hired an attorney in somewhat of a panic, which in retrospect wasn't the smartest decision. My attorney wasn't really in tune with the nuances of this area of law - he advertised himself as a BK lawyer. And you may find many attorneys just aren't interested, the general attitude seems to be that defense of debt and collection suits isn't very compelling to them.

Step 2: If wondering what's on the complaint is going to gnaw at you all weekend (it would for me), go to the court's website -> civil cases -> enter your first and last name and you should be able to view/download the document in PDF format, sometimes they charge a few dollars.

Step 3: Don't PANIC like I did upon reading the complaint. My current case's initial summons & complaint was more than 2 years ago and I'm only just now getting to trial. And I'm going to trial only because settlement wasn't an option. You have plenty of time to get yourself educated. And the idea of "going to trial" made my blood run cold in the past but it does not anymore because I took a deep breath and got informed, albeit much later than I should have.

Step 4: Read the complaint, then answer the questions in THIS post http://www.creditinfocenter.com/forums/there-lawyer-house/242744-qs-answer-when-posting-forum-please-read.html by copying/pasting in question/answer format and update your first post in this thread.

Step 5: Take time and listen to what people say here, the picture will seem blurry at first as far as how this process works, maybe even the first few weeks, but it will slowly become clear what happens and what you need to do. That's not to say don't talk to an attorney - by all means get an opinion if the consult is free - but dont make yourself crazy talking to too many attorneys like I did because after about 5 you'll probably find they're having similar viewpoints. That's also not to say an attorney interested in this area of law doesn't exist; in fact I spoke with one recently.

Again, you have plenty of time. To the question "do I hire an attorney", I would say you don't have enough knowledge of the process yet to determine that. I came to this forum in a panic only this past week, with a looming trial date and a now ex-attorney that parted ways with me because he wasn't interested in courtroom litigation and was clueless what my defense could even be- "I don't know what to tell you." Fast forward to now and with the help of people here I've achieved a full grasp of what was needed to pick up the ball and go forward. If I could go back in time 2 years this is the advice I would want to give myself based on the knowledge I've gained. Because I sat back and let an attorney do things on my behalf and was clueless what he was doing. My level of understanding on each matter and decision was "Oh, okay, if you think so." And he made mistakes; and knowing what I know now, would not have allowed him to make in retrospect. And that's not to say getting an attorney to defend a suit like yours is bad. Mine did help me in some respects and I simply ended up with one that was less than ideal.

You'll be okay and that's not meant to cheer you up but as a matter of fact. The first piece of good news is that its a JDB (junk debt buyer) rather than the OC (original creditor) attempting to sue. JDB's are much sloppier about recordkeeping than the OC. When an OC sells an account to a JDB, its commonplace for original documents to be lost in that change of hands; documents the JDB needs to support their suit. This tends to work in your favor. It is working in mine. Put it this way, JDB's like Midland lose more cases to those that fought back than those that didn't fight at all.

Edited by mj22
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When I was first sued by a junk debt buyer, I looked up lawyers in my local bar directory and found lawyers that wanted to charge me big bucks to defend my case. What I did not know was there are some consumer attorneys who do a lot of Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) work who will often take your debt collection case for little money out of your pocket especially if they find violations have occurred in the plaintiff's pursuit of the debt.

One of the best places to look for a consumer attorney is NACA or National Association of Consumer Advocates. National Association of Consumer Advocates | Consumer Protection Advocates and Attorneys - Help for Consumers

You can search for attorneys in your state there.

I was successful in defending my cases pro se, however, it sure would have saved me an incredible amount of stress if I had hired one of these consumer attorneys.

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I feel so relieved to hear all this feedback. I was literally afraid to even log on to my computer today since I didn't want to be reminded of the mess I'm in with Midland.

Unfortunately, I do not think this will be the last of my creditors coming after me so I'd better become an expert on fighting back sooner rather than later.

I understand the SOL in CA is 4 years and I stopped paying on my debts between Jan -Jun 2009 (I was laid off in Nov '08 and tried to hold on as long as I could). Do you think I'll have a court date before the SOL runs out?

I was thinking I would have to go to court in a month, so knowing I have some time to educate myself and prepare, makes me feel a whole lot better.

I plan to defend myself in this matter so I will start reading and keep you posted on what I find in the complaint.

Just a few questions related to the comments I received:

1) Can I file a motion to quash service and dismiss at the same time?

2) If so, has anyone had a positive outcome here that has gone this route?

2) Is the response filed in person at the court?

Thank you all again for your comments!!

Edited by Meli
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I understand the SOL in CA is 4 years and I stopped paying on my debts between Jan -Jun 2009 (I was laid off in Nov '08 and tried to hold on as long as I could). Do you think I'll have a court date before the SOL runs out?

In CA, the SOL is tolled - put in a time out while litigation is in progress.

Just a few questions related to the comments I received:

1) Can I file a motion to quash service and dismiss at the same time?

2) If so, has anyone had a positive outcome here that has gone this route?

2) Is the response filed in person at the court?

Thank you all again for your comments!!

File the motion to quash first. I won a motion to quash myself- the process server claimed to have served me at home in LA...when I was in DC on a business trip.

Your motion to quash is filed with the court.

Also, sue the process server for fraud - you're out the cost of filing the motion to quash plus lost wages.

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