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Was just served by Suttell & Hammer in WA for Equable Ascent


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I've been reading through the boards here for a couple months. DV'd the CA in November and received a printout and a last month's statement from the OC (Chase, formerly WaMu). Yesterday I was served at home.

After a few years of unemployment...which is what got me in to this mess...I recently finally have a (limited) income again and have been slowly saving some money to try and get rid of my past debts...including a large tax debt I currently owe. So, I possibly could hire an attorney if it's what I need and it's cheap enough. If it isn't, I'd obviously prefer to save the money and use it to take care of other debts, since I owe much more than I have.

From everything I've gathered, I think my next move is to respond with denials..but I'd greatly appreciate any advice, particularly in regards to WA state cases. As I understand it, BOP doesn't apply here.

Also, I noticed there is a current thread where someone has a nearly identical lawsuit from S&H. As this is my first time posting, I wasn't sure whether to start a new one or add mine to that thread...so apologies in advance if I chose wrongly.

1. Who is suing you?

Equable Ascent Financial LLC. They are being represented by Suttell & Hammer in Bellevue, WA.

2. For how much?

~$5500 + interest

3. Who is the original creditor?

Chase Bank, formerly Washington Mutual

4. How do you know you are being sued?

I was served papers.

5. How were you served? Were you served?

On February 4, a man rang my doorbell at home and delivered papers to me.

6. What was your correspondence (if any) with the people suing you before you think you were being sued?

I sent a letter requesting validation in November of 2011 to EAF. They responded with what I believe is inadequate validation. I hadn't yet responded to their attempt to validate.

7. Where do you live?

King County, Washington State.

8. When is the last time you paid on this account?

February 2010

9. What is the status of your case (if anything has been opened)? You can find this by a) calling the court or B) looking it up online (many states have this information posted daily).

I couldn't find anything online (however it is still the weekend). There is a s/a number listed on the paperwork.

10. Have you disputed the debt with the credit bureaus (both the original creditor and the collection agency?)

No.

11. Did you request debt validation before the suit was filed? If not, don't bother doing this now.

Yes, I did. As noted above, they sent me a printout and a copy of my last statement from Chase.

12. Does your summons require a response in writing? (Look hard!) If you don't get a questionnaire with your summons, you are still probably required to answer it in writing. If you don't respond to the lawsuit notice you will lose automatically. In 99% of the cases, they will require you to answer the summons, and each point they are claiming. We need to know what the "charges" are. Please post what they are claiming. Did you receive an interrogatory (questionnaire) regarding the lawsuit?

Yes, I am required to answer within 20 days after the service of the summons.

The Summons reads:

A lawsuit has been started against you in the above entitled court by the above named plaintiff. Plaintiff's claim is stated in the written complaint, a copy of which is served upon you with this Summons.

In order to defend against this lawsuit, you must respond to the complaint by stating your defense in writing, and serve a copy upon the undersigned attorneys for the plaintiff within 20 days after the service of this summons, (or within 60 days after the service of this summons, if you were served outside of the State of Washington) excluding the day of service, or a default judgment may be entered against you without notice. A default judgment is one where plaintiff is entitled what he asks for because you have not responded. If you serve notice of appearance on the undersigned attorneys, you are entitled to notice before a default judgment may be entered.

You may demand that the plaintiff file this lawsuit with the court. If you do so, the demand must be in writing and must be served upon the plaintiff. Within 14 days after you serve the demand, the plaintiff must file this lawsuit with the court, or the service upon you of this summons and complaint will be void.

If you wish to seek the advice of an attorney in this matter, you should do so promptly so that your written response, if any, may be served on time.

This summons is issued pursuant to Rule 4 of the Superior Court Civil Rules of the State of Washington.

DATED January 13, 2012 *(NOTE: I was served on February 4--22 days after the date on the Summons)

The Complaint reads:

I. Plaintiff is a legal entity having paid all licenses and fees due and is authorized to bring this action.

II.The defendant, (me), is believed to be a married individual and as such incurred the below-referenced separate and community obligation. Defendant resides in KING County, Washington. *(NOTE: I am not married.)

III. That at all times material, defendant has been the obligor of a certain credit account bearing number XXXXXXXXX (last 4 digits of account given) which has been assigned to plaintiff.

IV. By use of said credit account, said defendant became indebted on said account for goods, services, and monies loaned in the stated amount, the unpaid balance $5xxx.xx (actual amount listed) which is fully due and owing to plaintiff, together with such greater sum as may be proved at time of trial, together with interest thereon at the highest legal rate.

V. Plaintiff may be entitled to attorneys fees either by contract or statute. Plaintiff requests an award of attorneys fees, as determined by the court.

We are debt collectors, this is an attempt to collect a debt and any information obtained will be used for that purpose.

WHEREFORE, plaintiff prays for judgment against the defendant for the sum of $5xxx.xx together with interest thereon at the highest legal rate, and any further sum which may be proven at the time of trial, and a reasonable sum as and for plaintiff's attorney's fees; that such judgment shall bear interest at the highest legal rate after entry; and that the plaintiff have and receive such other and further relief as in the premises shall appear just and equitable. DATED January 13, 2012. *(NOTE: Again, I wasn't served until February 4)

13. What evidence did they send with the summons? An affadavit? A statement from the OC? Anything else they attached as exhibits?

No evidence was provided with the summons. As I mentioned, they did send a photocopy of my last month's statement from Chase in December of 2011 after I DV'd them.

14. What is the SOL on the debt?

6 years, I believe.

Edited by rainsong
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I've been reading through the boards here for a couple months. DV'd the CA in November and received a printout and a last month's statement from the OC (Chase, formerly WaMu). Yesterday I was served at home.

After a few years of unemployment...which is what got me in to this mess...I recently finally have a (limited) income again and have been slowly saving some money to try and get rid of my past debts...including a large tax debt I currently owe. So, I possibly could hire an attorney if it's what I need and it's cheap enough. If it isn't, I'd obviously prefer to save the money and use it to take care of other debts, since I owe much more than I have.

Just remember, the hows and whys are not relevant. No sob stories in front of the judge. Also, the IRS is the one who I would want to be straight with first.

From everything I've gathered, I think my next move is to respond with denials..but I'd greatly appreciate any advice, particularly in regards to WA state cases. As I understand it, BOP doesn't apply here.

You would be correct. The BOP is a California thing, and one that I am jealous of.

Also, I noticed there is a current thread where someone has a nearly identical lawsuit from S&H. As this is my first time posting, I wasn't sure whether to start a new one or add mine to that thread...so apologies in advance if I chose wrongly.

You want your own thread. The suits may start the same, and ideally, they'll end the same, but this is your case. Adding your stuff to somebody else's thread only confuses who's doing what.

1. Who is suing you?

Equable Ascent Financial LLC. They are being represented by Suttell & Hammer in Bellevue, WA.

2. For how much?

~$5500 + interest

3. Who is the original creditor?

Chase Bank, formerly Washington Mutual

WaMu -> Chase -> Other JDBs? -> Equitable

This means pretty much everything will be hearsay. That is good for you.

4. How do you know you are being sued?

I was served papers.

5. How were you served? Were you served?

On February 4, a man rang my doorbell at home and delivered papers to me.

6. What was your correspondence (if any) with the people suing you before you think you were being sued?

I sent a letter requesting validation in November of 2011 to EAF. They responded with what I believe is inadequate validation. I hadn't yet responded to their attempt to validate.

Validation requirements are weak. If they said "You are the correct person, and the OC was WaMu, then Chase," they validated.

7. Where do you live?

King County, Washington State.

8. When is the last time you paid on this account?

February 2010

9. What is the status of your case (if anything has been opened)? You can find this by a) calling the court or B) looking it up online (many states have this information posted daily).

I couldn't find anything online (however it is still the weekend). There is a s/a number listed on the paperwork.

10. Have you disputed the debt with the credit bureaus (both the original creditor and the collection agency?)

No.

11. Did you request debt validation before the suit was filed? If not, don't bother doing this now.

Yes, I did. As noted above, they sent me a printout and a copy of my last statement from Chase.

12. Does your summons require a response in writing? (Look hard!) If you don't get a questionnaire with your summons, you are still probably required to answer it in writing. If you don't respond to the lawsuit notice you will lose automatically. In 99% of the cases, they will require you to answer the summons, and each point they are claiming. We need to know what the "charges" are. Please post what they are claiming. Did you receive an interrogatory (questionnaire) regarding the lawsuit?

Yes, I am required to answer within 20 days after the service of the summons.

The Summons reads:

A lawsuit has been started against you in the above entitled court by the above named plaintiff. Plaintiff's claim is stated in the written complaint, a copy of which is served upon you with this Summons.

In order to defend against this lawsuit, you must respond to the complaint by stating your defense in writing, and serve a copy upon the undersigned attorneys for the plaintiff within 20 days after the service of this summons, (or within 60 days after the service of this summons, if you were served outside of the State of Washington) excluding the day of service, or a default judgment may be entered against you without notice. A default judgment is one where plaintiff is entitled what he asks for because you have not responded. If you serve notice of appearance on the undersigned attorneys, you are entitled to notice before a default judgment may be entered.

You may demand that the plaintiff file this lawsuit with the court. If you do so, the demand must be in writing and must be served upon the plaintiff. Within 14 days after you serve the demand, the plaintiff must file this lawsuit with the court, or the service upon you of this summons and complaint will be void.

If you wish to seek the advice of an attorney in this matter, you should do so promptly so that your written response, if any, may be served on time.

This summons is issued pursuant to Rule 4 of the Superior Court Civil Rules of the State of Washington.

DATED January 13, 2012 *(NOTE: I was served on February 4--22 days after the date on the Summons)

Anybody know if WA has pocket service? If I'm being served with a complaint here in NM, it had damned well better have been filed with the court!

The Complaint reads:

I. Plaintiff is a legal entity having paid all licenses and fees due and is authorized to bring this action.

You probably have no knowledge of this. It's probably a non-issue, but you can either check your state's databases and answer accordingly, or you can simply deny because you lack knowledge as to the truth of the averment.

II.The defendant, (me), is believed to be a married individual and as such incurred the below-referenced separate and community obligation. Defendant resides in KING County, Washington. *(NOTE: I am not married.)

Boilerplate stuff. I'm betting that WA is a community property state. They shouldn't be stating crap like that without actually checking their facts first, but, it is what it is.

You can deny in part and admit in part. "Defendant admits to residing in King County and denies being married.

III. That at all times material, defendant has been the obligor of a certain credit account bearing number XXXXXXXXX (last 4 digits of account given) which has been assigned to plaintiff.

I would certainly deny this one. Make them prove that they own the account. When you read all of the threads about standing, this is at the heart of what they are talking about. Are you privy to their internal business transactions? Hell no you aren't! How can you admit that a transaction took place if you weren't there and have only their say so? You can't.

IV. By use of said credit account, said defendant became indebted on said account for goods, services, and monies loaned in the stated amount, the unpaid balance $5xxx.xx (actual amount listed) which is fully due and owing to plaintiff, together with such greater sum as may be proved at time of trial, together with interest thereon at the highest legal rate.

I would deny this one too. They only gave you the last numbers of the card? Sure, it could be yours. I'm betting you keep terrible records and can't verify anything that they're claiming here. Make them prove it!

I also think this one is annoying because even if you owed the debt, but not to them, it is worded such that an admission here would be admitting that you owe them.

V. Plaintiff may be entitled to attorneys fees either by contract or statute. Plaintiff requests an award of attorneys fees, as determined by the court.

They're only entitled to attorney's fees if they can prove they are. They have to provide the statute and show that it applies to your case (yeah, right) or they have to show that you are in a contractual obligation to pay them (yeah, right.)

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Start with a motion for a more definite statement. This complaint sets forth no cause of action. What are they charging you with? Account stated? Breach of contract? Speeding? Murder? How would you know? Each cause of action requires a specific defense. They have to state one. Read the rules of procedure for your state, they will be on line, that will show you how to do this.

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Thanks for the informative replies...

I am just now delving into learning the Discovery process for Washington State.

One initial question:

Am I correct in assuming that I should still respond with an "Answer" first of denials, and then follow up with either Discovery or MDS? Or...do I do this all as one response to their summons?

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"Anybody know if WA has pocket service? If I'm being served with a complaint here in NM, it had damned well better have been filed with the court!"

Yes, they do. A summons and complaint can be delivered before they actually file with the courts. However, if you demand they file, they must do so within 14 days or start the whole process over.

Pickles

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This seems to be a change from the way the rules worked before from what I always remember. This allows them to send out a ton of summons at little cost and just round file the ones that are not going to be cost effective (i.e. someone fighting it).

My thought is that if you answer with a full denial that they are not going anywhere further with it, but that could be wrong as well. If you answer with counter claims, they are highly incentivized to round file it.

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I thought it was odd that I could be "served" without the plaintiff having filed anything with the court as well. It took me a couple times reading through the document before I realized there was no case number where one would normally be listed. And, I've searched through the King County Superior Court website several times since for my case. It doesn't exist (yet).

Anyway, thanks to everyone again for the advice.

I'm thinking maybe it makes sense to answer with full denial first and then immediately follow up with discovery. If there's any possibility that they're going to drop this by me making it it less than easy for them, I certainly want to give myself the chance.

One question: I see that I can force them to file with the court within 14 days if I wish to do so. Is there any reason that would be a good idea? I'm assuming no.

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"Anybody know if WA has pocket service? If I'm being served with a complaint here in NM, it had damned well better have been filed with the court!"

Yes, they do. A summons and complaint can be delivered before they actually file with the courts. However, if you demand they file, they must do so within 14 days or start the whole process over.

Pickles

Well, that sucks. Pocket service is an evil, evil thing. I think it should be completely unconstitutional.

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  • 1 month later...

So, I filed my answer with Suttell & Hammer last February (before the deadline was up). I actually drove to their office in Bellevue, handed it to the clerk and had them stamp a copy for me.

It's been nearly two months now, and I've heard nothing back. No case has been filed with the court. And I haven't done anything else since.

Would love some advice about my next move. Do I just wait it out, stay silent, and hope they decide I'm not worth the hassle? Do I serve Discovery on them? Or is there something else I should do?

I'd love for this to be over and be able to put it out of my mind, but I don't want to do anything reckless or unnecessarily risky on my part either.

Thanks again for the advice!

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Their client could have decided not to procede but S&H has not forgotten about you. They are swamped with cases but I would count on them following through.

If you intend to fight this then use this time to get all your ducks in order and get prepared. Check the court website every week to find out if/when they take the next step.

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