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Sued by PRA - settle or ch13?


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1. Who is the named plaintiff in the suit?

My husband - I am not included.

2. What is the name of the law firm handling the suit? (should be listed at the top of the complaint.)

Not sure yet

3. How much are you being sued for?

9000

4. Who is the original creditor? (if not the Plaintiff)

Wells Fargo

5. How do you know you are being sued? (You were served, right?)

Not been served yet, but I got about 20 letters in the mail saying it's on public record.

6. How were you served? (Mail, In person, Notice on door)

7. Was the service legal as required by your state?

n/a

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

I did receive a call from someone about a year ago, but they spoke to me, and not my husband. I'm not sure if it was this particular JDB or not. I simply explained I had been ill, hospitalized, and unable to pay.

9. What state and county do you live in?

Cobb county, Ga

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

Approx 2.5 years ago

11. What is the SOL on the debt? To find out:

4 - 6 years

12. What is the status of your case? Suit served? Motions filed?

It has been filed, since we have not been served, he has not been answered. My mother in law was garnished by this same company and was never served. We do not intend to wait until being served to answer. I can see the file online, so I know I have until the 22nd to answer.

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

No

14. Did you request debt validation before the suit was filed?

I was not sure who currently held the debt, so I did not. We were just waiting it out until we had to file bankruptcy

15. How long do you have to respond to the suit?

April 22nd

16. What evidence did they send with the summons? An affidavit? Statements from the OC? Contract? List anything else they attached as exhibits.

Nothing yet

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Here is my dilemma.

We have this credit card, and another that we have been sued for yet, that totals about $2500. We have another small one, for about $1000.

Then, we have a LOT of medical bills from where I got sick with an autoimmune disease 2 years ago (which is why we fell behind)

We are worried we will eventually also be sued for these.

We have a $95k mortgage WHICH WE ARE CURRENT on, and a HELOC for $20,000 which we are also current on (interest payments only, right now) The fair market value of our home is about $60k right now

We recently paid off both vehicles. My car is worth about $7k, my husbands $15, according to KBB.

We are currently on everything, utilities, student loans, etc except the 3 credit cards I mentioned here, and the medical bills (approx a few thousand)

I am all for fighting PRA and getting it dropped if they fail to provide discovery etc, but I am worried since it's $9k its "worth their while" and they will fight back.

I have approx $6k sitting in a mutual fund in my name, but it was a gift to my 6 year old son. I am worried this is now vulnerable. I am willing to use the money to settle out of court, but it will be a matter of time before they come after us for the rest of the debt.

We are considering just filing CH 13. I have read that our HELOC would likely be discharged since we owe more than our home is worth. My worries with CH13 are we will not be able to keep both cars (we need both, I have medical issues, a 6 year old who needs transportation to school / after-school activities and due to my husbands schedule, car sharing is not an option) and again, I'm worried about the money in the mutual fund that is for my sons college.

I know a lot of people fail ch13, but currently, we are having no problems keeping up with our current expenses, and in fact, have about $300 extra every month left over.

If we file, we would be filing for approx $15,000 not accounting for if they are reduced or not.

I believe if we did the means test, we would qualify for CH7 even though we are over the income level (barely) but I do not want to lose our vehicles, or home.

So our options, as I see them are:

Fight PRA and wait for the inevitable (other debts) to catch up

Try to settle with them in court for a greatly reduced amount, and still wait for the inevitable

CH13, but I am not sure what or if anything would happen to our cars/home/sons college fund. I am fairly confident we could keep up on the payments since we're current on everything else, and my husband can work overtime as needed without issue. (Me going back to work isn't an option right now due to my health)

I have been reading all night, and most of that was spent looking up definitions of the words I didn't understand, and I'm hopelessly confused and lost.

Thanks in advance for any help.

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PRA is a junk debt buyer. They rarely have the documents to prove their case, they work on 95% default judgments. As soon as someone fights, the JDBs usually dismiss. They probably paid $100 for your account. How much do you think they'll be willing to spend to MAYBE collect 9,000? We can show you how to make them spend a lot more than 9,000 in litigation. Check my posts from today, I listed some strategy points for going up against original creditors. These apply here, just add in standing to sue.

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$9k, yes, it may be worth their while to bluff for a little while, but to take you to trial is going to cost them a significant amount, and you could still file for BK if you lost. In other words, legal battles are costly for those represented by an attorney, and they may never collect the $9k, much less the attorney's fees. Why should they fight for a $9k debt when there's probably somebody who will just roll over for a $30k debt in their portfolio?

I'm not telling you that you should fight, as that is your decision to make, but myself and a few others here would not be waiting to be served. We'd just file a response, and be praying for all the FDCPA violations that the other side could muster.

Another thing that caught my eye was that you had until the 22nd to file a response. Typically there is no deadline to file a response until after you have been served. Are they claiming that you've been served? If so, you have been a victim of sewer service.

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$9k, yes, it may be worth their while to bluff for a little while, but to take you to trial is going to cost them a significant amount, and you could still file for BK if you lost. In other words, legal battles are costly for those represented by an attorney, and they may never collect the $9k, much less the attorney's fees. Why should they fight for a $9k debt when there's probably somebody who will just roll over for a $30k debt in their portfolio?

I'm not telling you that you should fight, as that is your decision to make, but myself and a few others here would not be waiting to be served. We'd just file a response, and be praying for all the FDCPA violations that the other side could muster.

Another thing that caught my eye was that you had until the 22nd to file a response. Typically there is no deadline to file a response until after you have been served. Are they claiming that you've been served? If so, you have been a victim of sewer service.

Thanks to both of you.

The Cobb County Magistrate Court site shows it was filed March 22nd, but says nothing about attempting to serve me. It says I have 30 days from the date of the filing to answer, so I assume that means no matter when I am served.

Right now, fighting them and waiting it out is sounding really good. The main reason we wanted ch13 is the possibility of having our HELOC stripped, but not at the cost of losing our vehicles or sons college fund.

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Thanks to both of you.

The Cobb County Magistrate Court site shows it was filed March 22nd, but says nothing about attempting to serve me. It says I have 30 days from the date of the filing to answer, so I assume that means no matter when I am served.

Right now, fighting them and waiting it out is sounding really good. The main reason we wanted ch13 is the possibility of having our HELOC stripped, but not at the cost of losing our vehicles or sons college fund.

Eeek! You're in magistrate. That may not be so bad for you, but often the rules are relaxed or simplified because so many people are pro se at that level. You'll need to learn the rules of civil procedure for GA's magistrate courts and see what is considered proper service. I have no clue when it comes to this in GA, but it is possible that some of those notices you have been receiving is the court itself telling you you need to respond. This is not something that you should guess at or take my guess for the truth, you need to know the answer for sure.

Also, look and see if that particular magistrate court your case was filed in has its own website. A lot of magistrate courts have their own websites, including pages with information for people going pro se. Others will have pro se help centers.

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Whether or not you choose to fight this lawsuit is up to you. If you're up for a fight and willing to do some research in order to be able to represent yourself in front of a judge, then go for it. There's loads of information in this forum about JDBs and their "evidence". You'd also get plenty of suggestions. :)

However, if you're not up to a fight, you must do what makes you comfortable. Although many of us have been in your shoes regarding debt, we understand that each situation is still unique.

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Thank you all so far. One of the lawyers chasing us attached a copy of the complaint, and I will take a picture of it later and post it - Ive got to make about 20 lbs of baked mac and cheese right now though.

I am so very appreciative for all the info so far.

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Use cream, montery jack with the hot pepper, american cheese, and some mozzarella. Add some bread crumbs and bake. Please type the complaint, we prefer to type our answers into your post. Can't do that with a scan.

There you go giving bad advice again. How many times must I tell people: ADD BACON to your mac and cheese, and if you are in NM, green chile too!.

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YES to the bacon, (Boar's Head only, best I ever had except for the fresh stuff in Amish country) and NO to the chile. Just me, can't take hot stuff. Anybody want my 1898 Sicilian spaghetti sauce recipe? Got this from my mother's best friend's grandmother, who was from Sicily. Makes you want to do this to Ragu:

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OKay, Here is the copy I got in the mail from a lawyer (since we've not been served yet)

Magistrate Court of Cobb County

Plaintiff:

Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC

140 Corporate Blvd

Norfolk VA

Attorney:

Tracy G Reese/Tamara Starks

Same address as above

Defendant: My husband

Type of suit: Account

Next part says he lives in Cobb and is subject to jurisdiction

2 says: Defendant is indebted to Plaintiff in the sum of $8735.20 principal, 0 interest, 0 attorneys fees and $86.50 costs to date.

Claim: Def is indebted to Plaintiff on account for charges incurred by the defendant under a credit card account (Wells Fargo Bank) and credit privileges provided by Plaintiffs predecessor to Defendant which has account has been assigned to the Plaintiff.

3. Plaintiff demands judgement against Defendant for amounts alleged in paragraph 2 herein.

Bottom says we have 30 days to file after service upon us, answer may be given in court in person, or by mail if notarized.

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Whether or not you choose to fight this lawsuit is up to you. If you're up for a fight and willing to do some research in order to be able to represent yourself in front of a judge, then go for it. There's loads of information in this forum about JDBs and their "evidence". You'd also get plenty of suggestions. :)

However, if you're not up to a fight, you must do what makes you comfortable. Although many of us have been in your shoes regarding debt, we understand that each situation is still unique.

I am willing to fight, its my husband that is the issue. His schedule, and such, and he is so quiet. I usually handle these things and he would just as soon ignore it and let them get default judgement because he hates dealing with this stuff. So I will do the research and school him on it and send him with notes, etc.

I did notice the lawyer who filed is not from GA, would maybe this mean there is a chance the plaintiff or lawyer may not show up if there is a hearing?

Wishful thinking, I am sure :D

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I am willing to fight, its my husband that is the issue. His schedule, and such, and he is so quiet. I usually handle these things and he would just as soon ignore it and let them get default judgement because he hates dealing with this stuff. So I will do the research and school him on it and send him with notes, etc.

I did notice the lawyer who filed is not from GA, would maybe this mean there is a chance the plaintiff or lawyer may not show up if there is a hearing?

Wishful thinking, I am sure :D

Considering there's no discovery in Magistrate court without the court's permission, I'd prepare for the possibility that PRA will show up with "evidence". That evidence may be the standard generic bill of sale, a copy of a cc statement, and an affidavit from a PRA employee stating he/she has knowledge of records. It's very rare that they have an affidavit from the OC, but I'd prepare for that possibility, as well.

By prepare, I mean you should study the Rules of Civil Procedure and Rules of Evidence regarding hearsay and self-authentication. For business records to be admitted, they must be authenticated. That usually involves either a live witness to testify that the records are what PRA claims they are, OR an affidavit stating as much.

The records would still be hearsay, but they'd be admissible hearsay. You'd have to do your research and be ready to object to their evidence. If necessary, cite GA case law that shows why those records are INADMISSIBLE hearsay.

GA has some pretty good case law.

Hutto v. CACV OF COLORADO, LLC (2011)

Ponder v. CACV of Colorado, LLC, (2008)

Yates v. CACV of Colorado, LLC, (2010)

WIRTH v. CACH, LLC (2009)

Nyankojo v. North Star Capital Acquisition, (2009)

Boyd v. Calvary Portfolio Svcs., (2007)

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You need to get your husband on board before you waste a lot of time. I've seen this over and over. One party does all the work, asks all the questions, and then a few weeks later says we just settled, so and so did not want to mess with it.

It's hard enough learning all this when you are the one going to court. You throw on top of that your trying to learn this and then teach it to somebody else, and then the icing on the cake, that person does not really care or want to mess with it?

Sorry, I know it sounds negative, but I'm a realist. You're wasting your time. You have to get him on board 100% or you're wasting your time. These clowns can be beat and while you don't need Johnny Cochran raised from the dead to pull it off, you do have to put in work and a ton of time to win.

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Exactly what Coltfan said. The thing that troubled me was the fact that your husband would rather saddle his family with a $9,000 judgment rather than fight for them. That is not good.

he would just as soon ignore it and let them get default judgement because he hates dealing with this stuff

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You need to get your husband on board before you waste a lot of time. I've seen this over and over. One party does all the work, asks all the questions, and then a few weeks later says we just settled, so and so did not want to mess with it.

It's hard enough learning all this when you are the one going to court. You throw on top of that your trying to learn this and then teach it to somebody else, and then the icing on the cake, that person does not really care or want to mess with it?

Sorry, I know it sounds negative, but I'm a realist. You're wasting your time. You have to get him on board 100% or you're wasting your time. These clowns can be beat and while you don't need Johnny Cochran raised from the dead to pull it off, you do have to put in work and a ton of time to win.

That's why I provided a little insight on what needs to be done. She can do all the research and prepare the documents, but hubby has to understand documents, rules, and case law, as well. Otherwise, he won't be able to adequately represent himself in court.

He may be able to read and recite what the OP has written, but if he doesn't basics such as ownership of the debt, standing to sue, hearsay rules, etc., he'll be up a creek without a paddle if the judge decides to question him.

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Thanks for the advise so far. I was a bit unfair and unclear about my husband, I'm afraid. He is willing to help fight because of our family. If he were single, he would let it go and not bother. I'm doing the leg work because he works long hours and I stay home. My main concern with him is that he may not "get" this stuff the same way I do. He is being very receptive and reading here, and asking questions.

What we are going to do first is answer. I'm going to post what we plan to answer with first if you don't mind going over it. Do we straight up deny it, or say we do not know if the debt is valid? The latter is the truth - how do we know it's the same?

From there we will ask for permission for discovery.

If at any point we feel we are in over our head, can we ask for a continuance and then hire an attorney?

If they bring everything to the first meeting, can we ask for time to review it? We are worried we will get a judgement against us at the first hearing without a chance for mediation or a chance to settle, etc

Thanks again.

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We do not negotitate with junk debt buyers here, we defeat them, plain and simple. You are dealing with a junk debt buyer. They never have the documents to win. This is not in their business model, they have to pay horrendous amounts of money to get the original documents. If these docs were available, why would the OC sell your account? They would sue you themselves, but they didn't. There is a reason for that. You are not a good prospect for a judgment according to them. The JDB paid maybe ten cents on the dollar for your account, now they expect their bullying tactics to work because you know nothing about the law and cannot defend yourself. We will teach you how to make them bleed money to the point where they will give up. Happens all the time. Also, they use the worst lawyers in the country, count on it, I know.

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I'm going to post what we plan to answer with first if you don't mind going over it. Do we straight up deny it, or say we do not know if the debt is valid? The latter is the truth - how do we know it's the same?

If you don't mind, post the Complaint. Leaving out identifying information and round out the numbers. We can go from there.

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creditinfocenter.com/forums/1159688-post12.html

Thats the ONLY thing I have received so far,what a lawyer sent. (one of 20 lawyers)

There are no account numbers, nothing. Just says "You owe us this amount on behalf of Wells Fargo"

Well, how do I know that? I do owe Wells Fargo, but how do I know that's the same account they are suing for? I don't, which right now is the most troublesome.

We still haven't been served so I am going to attempt to go to the courthouse tomorrow and see if we can get copies. My husband can not get off work, so I hope they will give it to me. If they will not, we will go get a power of attorney notarized and see if they will give it to me then.

He just can't get off right now,in fact they have them on mandatory overtime until the end of the month, so hopefully the court will have more info than what's on this one piece of paper.

We are not totally opposed to hiring a lawyer, but we would like to do as much as we can alone to reduce the costs. So, we will at the least file an answer on our own and attend the hearing where there is a mandatory "mediation" before seeing the judge.

I do not know if we signed a contract or not. This CC was originally opened as a overdraft protection for our checking account. I am PRETTY SURE it was done over the phone, by ME and put into my husbands name, only.

It was originally Wachovia then turned to Wells Fargo when they bought Wachovia.

Edited by khldr
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We still haven't been served so I am going to attempt to go to the courthouse tomorrow and see if we can get copies.

I'd be careful there. I'm not sure if you'd be considered "served" if you took it upon yourself to get a copy of the Complaint.

You said you've received letters that the case is public record. Does your court post cases online? If so, see if you can find a record using your husband's name.

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I'd be careful there. I'm not sure if you'd be considered "served" if you took it upon yourself to get a copy of the Complaint.

You said you've received letters that the case is public record. Does your court post cases online? If so, see if you can find a record using your husband's name.

Cobb County Magistrate did not have a place for me to search,but Cobb Superior did, and nothing showed up.

I am worried about not being served and having a default judgement, since that is exactly what happened to my mother in law. She was never served and knew nothing until her wages were garnished.

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