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Sister named on my summons.. what is/isn't allowed??


ndove
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Hi,

A little background here - I'm from New Jersey and in August 2010 I was in a serious car accident (my fault), had very minimal auto insurance coverage, no medical insurance, was kept out of work for 3 months, and eventually could not pay the majority of my bills, and ended up in a hole of debt.

Forward to now, a few days ago my sister and I both received a summons from the lawyers of the medi-vac company that was used to airlift me to the hospital in the above mentioned accident. My sister was not involved in the accident, had no ties to my vehicle, my insurance, or anything even remotely pertaining to the accident in any way.

However, my sister and I are both listed on the deed to her home. I am a cosigner on her mortgage, which, at this time is currently underwater thanks to the mortgage crisis and terrible timing on her buying the home (right before the housing downfall).

That all said, my questions are:

1) Can my sister legally be listed on the actual summons, and forced to go through the proceedings of court as if she was responsible for this debt?

2)Does the fact that I have a mortgage with her automatically tie her to all of my credit like that? Where she can be sued?

3) I understand that a lien can be put on her house if the judgement is ruled in their favor, but as far as her credit, won't a judgement against "us" effect her personal credit? And how is that allowed if she is in no way tied to that debt?

4) After looking through NJ's Fair Debt Collections Act, I saw a part that stated that the debt collector is not allowed to give the information of my debt to any person other than myself. Is this a violation of that, as the summons and complaint listed the details of the debt I owed them?

I'm sorry if this was drawn out, I am kind of a jumbled mess over it. Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated though. Thank you.

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Guest usctrojanalum

4) After looking through NJ's Fair Debt Collections Act, I saw a part that stated that the debt collector is not allowed to give the information of my debt to any person other than myself. Is this a violation of that, as the summons and complaint listed the details of the debt I owed them?

A summons and complaint is a public record, so the answer to this question is no.

I would think that your sister is probably not responsible. Did the complaint state a reason why she was added as a defendant? Have your sister file an answer and see if it can get settled out in Court.

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Thank you for the fast reply.

Nope, no reason stated as to why she was included. I was thinking answering it would be the better scenario in the end, rather than trying to work with them on my own with her still named in their complaint. Thank you for the advice!

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1) Can my sister legally be listed on the actual summons, and forced to go through the proceedings of court as if she was responsible for this debt?

Can she legally be listed on the summons as co-defendant? Yes. Anyone can sue anyone for any reason. The Medivac company will have a hard time proving HER responsibility for your debt, though. I assume this wasn't her car involved in the accident, it was yours. If it was hers then she has an involvement as the owner of one of the vehicles. If not then they have a real problem. She must Answer the summons though or they WILL get a Default Judgment against her. Even if they mistakenly assume she is your wife and not your sister, NJ is not a Community Property State so that legal argument won't work.

2)Does the fact that I have a mortgage with her automatically tie her to all of my credit like that? Where she can be sued?

You co-signed her mortgage, that does not make her the guarantor of any of your debts. If you are listed as co-owner of her house, then they may be suing her in an effort to be able to attach your interest in her house, but that is usually done AFTER a judgment has been granted against the debtor, not before.

3) I understand that a lien can be put on her house if the judgement is ruled in their favor, but as far as her credit, won't a judgement against "us" effect her personal credit? And how is that allowed if she is in no way tied to that debt?

If they get a judgment against her, it would severely and adversely affect her credit.

4) After looking through NJ's Fair Debt Collections Act, I saw a part that stated that the debt collector is not allowed to give the information of my debt to any person other than myself. Is this a violation of that, as the summons and complaint listed the details of the debt I owed them?

I would take the position that they knew or should have known that she is in no way responsible for your debts that including her on a summons WAS a violation of the NJ Statute but not the Federal Statute because the Medivac company is an original Creditor. Let THEM come up with a theory of law that says it isn't.

Edited by Flyingifr
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It's like when I was in the aviation industry as a pilot and more. Any time there was an accident these scumbags would appear and sue anyone they thought that might have touched the aircraft. Whether it was to put air in the tires, check the oil, fix a part, whatever.

Their idea was to lump all these people together and hope that they would get blood out of a few instead of taking a chance on just one. Their blood suckers, they figure if they can't get it from you, they will get it out of your sister or her home. Fight em!

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Wow, I hadn't logged on in a few. Thank you everyone for the advice! Since I posted, my sister contacted a friend who is a lawyer (not in this field, but a lawyer nonetheless) for advice. They contacted the lawyer for the Medi-vac company and discussed the issue with them, and they are issuing a notice of dismissal to her and removing her name from the summons. So that cleared that up well enough, though I would have given them a bit more hell and gotten a lawyer to actually represent me in court and fought them.

I - however - am obviously still going to have to deal with it, and decide within the next day or so if I want to try and negotiate a payment plan (which I would really not be able to pay much at all monthly compared to the bill, but it would be something, though they may not agree to it) with them, or answer the complaint. I am leaning towards answering the complaint to try and nix the interest they are trying to collect off of the initial bill. Hoping the judge would agree that I should not owe interest on a medical-related service that I really had no choice but to receive at the time, and never had an agreement stating interest would be charged like you do with a credit card, and that he/she would grant a payment plan agreement that would be doable with what I have. There were a lot of issues I had with the summons and what I think were violations, and I really wanted to fight it all, but I'm afraid of getting in over my head.. and having to make payments on what I rightfully owe would be fair in my opinion, I just don't want to give them a cent more.... do you know what they charge for an airlift!!?? :shock:

This accident left my credit completely shot once all of the bills and lost months of work factored in, and I've been afraid to even deal with it for the last year and a 1/2, but it's time for me to get it together and try to get it under control.

Thanks again for all of the advice, it is appreciated!

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