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Illinois Court TOMORROW! Help! Sued by Amer Exp!

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Just got served a summons w/complaint late on Friday right (was actually given to my friend, I wasn't home at the time) RIGHT before leaving for Labor Day weekend! UGH!! Court is in ONE day and am trying to get all my ducks in a row. Please help!!! ALL is much appreciated!

Being Sued: Answers to the following questions (as much as I possibly can):

1. Who is the named plaintiff in the suit? American Express Centurion Bank

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

3. How much are you being sued for? About 5K

4. Who is the original creditor? (if not the Plaintiff) Believe Am Exp which is the plaintiff

5. How do you know you are being sued? (You were served, right?) Friend was given papers, she gave to me on same day

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

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

Process Service Requirements by State - Summons Complaint

8. What was your correspondence (if any) with the people suing you before you think you were being sued? None

9. What state and county do you live in? Cook County, IL

10. When is the last time you paid on this account? (looking to establish if you are outside of the statute of limitations) over 3 years ago

11. What is the SOL on the debt? To find out: 5 years

Statute of Limitations on Debts

12. What is the status of your case? Suit served? Motions filed? You can find this by a) calling the court or B) looking it up online (many states have this information posted - when you find the online court site, search by case number or your name). Served last week, written appearance and answer to complaint due TOMORROW (Return date)

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? Note: if you haven't sent a debt validation request, don't bother doing this now - it's too late. No

15. How long do you have to respond to the suit? (This should be in your paperwork). 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?

Have to respond by tomorrow

Complaint is as follows:

1. The Defendant(s) utilized a charge account and/or line of credit issued by Plaintiff or its assignors whereby Defendant(s) could charge goods and services to their account and/or receive cash advances.

2. The Defendant(s) subsequently defaulted by failing to pay for the indebtedness incurred resulting in the balance due Plantiff of $XXXX.XX

3. Due demand has been made on the Defendant(s) to pay this amount andthe Defendant (s) have failed to do so.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays for judgemet against the Defendent(s) in the amount of $XXXX.XX plus court costs.

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

Yes, Affidavit from Assistant custodian of records for the plaintiff

No statements attached

No Contract

Exhibit for pursuant to service members civil relief act showing no active duty service as of May 2012

I know I need to file an appearance and answer to the above complaint which I am doing tomorrow -- date of Return and currently have as:

Allegation 1: Denied: Responding Party objects to this request on the ground that it is vague, ambiguous and unintelligible in that Responding Party has to speculate as to the meaning of "charge account and/or line of credit issued" and "the account."

Allegation 2. Denied: This request calls for admission of matter defendant has denied and thus it is improper.

Allegation 3: Denied: This request calls for admission of matter defendant has denied and thus it is improper.

FUTHERMORE, Defendant DENIES every other allegation not previously admitted, denied or controverted.


1. Plaintiff fails to state a cause of action against the defendant (or) Failed to state the basis of the lawsuit: They did not cite an actual state law which was violated

2. The action is barred by the Statute of Frauds: No contract exists as proof (and/or) Plaintiff, as the defendant is informed and believes, lacks the legal standing to bring and maintain this action.

3. Failure of Consideration: No exchange of money or goods occurred between the plaintiff and the defendant.

4. The court would unjustly enrich the plaintiff by granting the relief sought herein.

5. The plaintiff has not proven the debt is valid or the amount of the debt is accurate. The plaintiff must prove that the principal, interest, collection costs, and attorneys fees are all correct, agreed to in your contract, and lawfully charged. Defendant also insists that the plaintiff come up with the contract, account statements and purchase receipts to prove the amount of the debt.

WHEREFORE, the defendant asks the Court for judgment:

a. dismissing the complaint herein with prejudice.

Are these the best? What other Affirmative Defenses can I use? SOL is not up yet as IL is 5 years and payment was stopped about 3 years ago (stopped paying all debts then). As many others, I lost my job and couldn't find anything stable. I am back in school now living with my bf (he pays all bills) and am without an income.

What questons will the judge ask me? I don't want to say anything incorrect. I did have a couple of cards with AmExp but the complaint did not have any copies of what account (or account number of what they are suing me for)...without proof of what this debt is for I believe my answer to complaint is valid, correct? They did attach an affidavit from the "Assistant Custodian of Records from the Plaintiff"...and was wondering if I should file a Motion to Dismiss at my case on Thursday (1 days from now)

Basically, I need any AND all info on what forms I should have/file, who I need to send them to, what to say to the judge...everything to help me win this (if possible)

Thank you so much in advance for your assistance!


Additional questions:

1. This court is not in my juridiction so should I file a specific appearance stating such and which court should be handling case? They initially filed a summons back in Jun, but had to file an alias summons after as they tried to serve it to an old address.

2. On alias summons says I need to file appearance at or before 930 am tomorrow, but I called the clerk and he said I would just need to file it before close of business (he said it was an inside secret and wouldn't tell me anything that would warrent me to sue him)...tho I'm thinking I should file it before 930 as what the paper states. ://

3. In reading multiple cases/websites I am unclear as to if the lawyers will need the actual contract or can just use a photocopy of an old statement...I've heard of judges accepting the copy and stating a contract is not needed...is this true?

4. What is the best suggestions for answering/defending the complaint. Please be as concise as possible as I need to get all of this together today and am slightly freaking out! eeks!

Thank you everyone for assisting!!!

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http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=5&ved=0CDQQFjAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dupageco.org%2FCourts%2FDocs%2F34145%2F&ei=BsFHUKvlIrTKyQHhwIDgBA&usg=AFQjCNFnZTb1tPFr8Ag3Zns-vPb4adEahQ Just a benchbook i found

















Edited by racecar
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Hi Positivestrides!

I found this:

Upon reading up on IL law. The venue is proper.


The Illinois law on civil venue says all cases must be filed either “in the county of residence of any defendant who is joined in good faith,” or “in the county in which the transaction or some part thereof occurred...A change of venue in a simple collection case, though, is pretty unlikely. If you want to defend yourself in your case, you’ll probably have to go there.”

Found the above in this link: http://www.creditinfocenter.com/forums/there-lawyer-house/315812-being-sued-cap-one-illinois.html

I'll keep looking around see what else I can find for you & BUMPING your thread for someone familiar with IL law to help you out....


Also, I do not think Denied, Responding Party objects...to use of the words "charge card or line of credit" for the first allegation is a smart way to go.

When you say American Express what do you think of? Donuts? Nope, credit, its a financial company that is known for its credit cards - find something else for the first allegation.

My suggestion would be something like:

Defendant responds that Plaintiff has filed a complaint that does not contain any factual information about the account at issue that would permit Defendant to admit or deny. Based on the foregoing, defendant responds as follows: DENIED


Plaintiff's complaint is utterly devoid of any factual information regarding the alleged debt and any agreement giving rise to the alleged debt. Based on the foregoing, defendant responds as follows: DENIED

My opinion only, but either of the two above would probably work for all 3 of the "allegations" in your complaint.

Don't say Plaintiff has not provided me an account number to compare to the accounts I know I had...you don't know, you shredded everything, sorry Amex you'll have to do better than that..

I'm still confused on what the causes of action are, maybe money lent, open account? I don't know...but since I think from what you've written that you are actually being sued by the original creditor, you basically have to play completely dumb & let (MAKE) them prove their case. :mrgreen:

Edited by ReadytoWininCA
adding the last section...
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Thanks Everyone & Especially ReadytoWininCA!! I appreciate all of your diligence & help! This is my first case and they sprung it on me only a couple days before having to file appearance & answer!!! Really don't want to just give in and all of your help is giving me courage! :)) Anything you find/can send me before tomorrow is SOO appreciated!

Also do you know if I have to file on or before 930am? or just before court closing tomorrow? (see wording above)

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You know if it says 9:30am on the paperwork I wouldn't listen to anyone but the paperwork (because what does that lady care anyway?).

Also, are you in small claims court? I think that matters so please let me know, I'm trying to find you a case on the forum that will answer your questions at least for answer & appearance, I'll keep scanning & looking!


Quoting: In Illinois small claims you do not have to file a formal answer unless ordered to do so. Supreme Court Rule 286 says "when no answer is ordered the allegations of the complaint will be considered denied and any defense may be proved as if it were specifically pleaded." I made the decision to not file an answer so I wouldn't inadvertently waive a defense. And later...Yes, small claims [court]. And I went back and forth about it, but finally found case law confirming this. So I made the decision to NOT file an answer. Can vary by county, though, and Cook County is pretty much their own country LOL.

The above lady's final verdict: Did the Plaintiff in your case provide any evidence? Lady: Nope, no evidence whatsoever. My case was just dismissed .

There is no discovery "without leave of court". This can be done informally. At my first court date I verbally asked for leave to conduct discovery. I sent them my first request. There was a status hearing on Dec. 6 that I missed because I had started a new job. I thought it was over, that I would be getting a default judgment, but lo and behold after the status hearing I finally got an "answer" to my discovery request and notice of another hearing March 21. I sent off a second request detailing why I found their respond insufficient. Their response to that was to dismiss. She goes on to say that she was dealing with the original creditor..

I'll keep reading, but that's why I need to know if its small claims court?

Edited by ReadytoWininCA
adding last paragraph...
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Ok, small claims court.

Check out this thread, scroll to #11 post....


I actually think you don't have to answer, you do need to appear (or maybe you have to appear and "file an appearance" whatever that means), and when you appear you DENY and then...well read that post...and we need to verify this information.

You may have a lot less to do by tomorrow then you thought, but you have to find out for sure, maybe call the courthouse and find out if what you read in #11 is accurate for you!

***The above thread is really good for you - if you see "Inthesticks" she is the one I'm reading the most from - she successfully fought her case against the ORIGINAL creditor (OC) like you, and her case was dismissed, check this out in #29 she's saying:

guys thread: I also asked the judge to ask the plaintiff to provide more detailed bills, etc.

Inthesticks: What did the judge say to this? If he said yes, I would take that as permission to conduct discovery. What I did at my return date was ask permission to conduct discovery (in Illinois small claims you need leave of court to conduct discovery) and then sent a request for production of documents to the plaintiff. DON'T assume just because it's the OC that they have the records. In my case, all they came up with in discovery was ONE statement from 2006 that didn't even have a payment on it, and an obviously manufactured "current" statement with an incorrect address. Eventually they dismissed.

Edited by ReadytoWininCA
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From her complaint:

The complaint reads:

The Plaintiff, CrapScum Bank, claims as follows:

1. The Defendant ME is/are a resident of MY county, Illinois.

2. The Defendant opened an account agreeing to make monthly payments as required by the terms of the Charge Agreement, for purchases charged to the account.

3. The Defendant did make purchases and charged same to the account but failed to make the monthly payments called for on the account. There is a balance due and owing $xxxx.xx. (See Client affidavit as Plaintiff Exhibit 1)

4. Plaintiff declared Defendant to be in default and demands payment of balance.

The only thing attached was the affidavit from some rep at CrapScum with those amounts. No statements, no contract, no cardholder agreement, nothing.

Here's what she's thinking about writing to respond:

I have my answer written out:

1. Admit

2. Defendant is without knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of the averment and therefore denies.

3. Defendant is without knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of the averment and therefore denies.

4. Defendant is without knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of the averment and therefore denies.


Here are the affirmative defenses she was going to use:


1. Plaintiff fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Plaintiff’s complaint and each cause of action therein fails to state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action against the Defendant for which relief can be granted. Defendant alleges that the document the Plaintiff attached to their petition is not sufficient evidence with which the Court can grant relief.

2. [ATTORNEY] has not proven they were retained by [Cap1] as its representative in this matter.

3. [ATTORNEY] has not proven that [Cap1] is the real party in interest. Defense demands proof of ownership, specifically that the alleged account is still the legal property of [Cap1] with all of the original creditor’s rights and privileges intact.

4. Defendant alleges that this action is time barred.

Also, she was being sued by Capital One, so she looked at the credit card agreement from that time period and was thinking she could use the law governing where the credit card company is (the statute of limitations is shorter there than in IL). I don't know where American Express is located, this may be an argument for you, but you'd need your card agreement to know for sure).

Still reading on...

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This should give you a great idea of what to expect I think:


Some good info in the above thread...I have to ask, does this apply to you - because I don't think you were given 30 days (my question is why do you think you have to give a typed up "answer"?)

I'm asking because she wrote this:

"...the only experience I have is with this one small claims case. Your summons should tell you exactly what you need to do. It will either say you have 30 days to answer, which means you need to file an answer, or will give you a return date. This is post #8 of the above thread...

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Ok, now I'm just trying to find out exactly what it is you're supposed to be doing, I found your courts rules and specifically I found this:



Rule 181. Appearances--Answers--Motions

(a) When Summons Requires Appearance Within 30 Days After Service. When the summons requires appearance within 30 days after service, exclusive of the day of service (see Rule 101(d)), the 30-day period shall be computed from the day the copy of the summons is left with the person designated by law and not from the day a copy is mailed, in case mailing is also required. The defendant may make his or her appearance by filing a motion within the 30-day period, in which instance an answer or another appropriate motion shall be filed within the time the court directs in the order disposing of the motion. If the defendant's appearance is made in some other manner, nevertheless his or her answer or appropriate motion shall be filed on or before the last day on which he or she was required to appear.

(B) When Summons Requires Appearance on Specified Day.

(1) Actions for Money. Unless the "Notice to Defendant" (see Rule 101(B)) provides otherwise, an appearance in a civil action for money in which the summons requires appearance on a specified day may be made by appearing in person or by attorney at the time and place specified in the summons and making the appearance known to the court, or before the time specified for appearance by filing a written appearance, answer, or motion, in person or by attorney. The written appearance, answer, or motion shall state with particularity the address where service of notice or papers may be made upon the party or attorney so appearing. When a defendant appears in open court, the court shall require him to enter an appearance in writing. When an appearance is made in writing otherwise than by filing an answer or motion, the defendant shall be allowed 10 days after the day for appearance within which to file an answer or motion, unless the court, by rule or order, otherwise directs.

This is on the Illinois state website, then I went to "small claims supreme court rules":

Supreme Court Rules - Art. II (Rules 101-300)

From there I scrolled down to Part C APPEARANCES AND TIMES FOR ANSWERS, REPLIES, AND MOTIONS and found the above on Rule 181. I think these are the rules you need to be reading. I wish someone from IL was helping you, I'm an IT person, so I can search all day long for you, but I don't know the laws of IL and we need someone that does!

Anyway, see what you can find out on this website those are the rules that are governing the court that you are in.

Part B has PLEADINGS AND OTHER PAPERS and explains how things are supposed to look that you give to the court....(Rule 131).

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Actually!! In looking for the statement on the site (I'm pretty sure I read the $4K somewhere!)...thought I would look through the forms one more time (they have appearance in civil and appearance in small claims)...there are sooo many it's confusing!! This is actually on the small claims form on the bottom: "*NOTICE TO DEFENDANT: Pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 286, Defendant is not required to file an answer if s/he files a written appearance on the Return Date set forth in the Summons.


can't post actually link...dont have enough posts yet!

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I know its way too much for you to have to figure out alone in 2 days, plain stupid if you ask me, but these are the rules of your state. And YES, the Supreme Court is your law of Illinois all courts, but the thing is, exactly what we were looking for is on your complaint....you have to file a "written appearance" and then you can file an answer in 10 days if I'm reading right.

In the Inthesticks thread she basically went to court, filed an appearance whatever that is and then denied in front of the judge, well you have a link to what happened there, but she filed a Motion to Dismiss INSTEAD of an answer I think...which is actually how it works here too, you are not prepared to do that tomorrow so no worries.

If we could just find out what a written appearance looks like or the form, that would be definitely what you need. Then I think you should do what Inthesticks did, DENY and ask to begin discovery (she said you must have leave of the court and in English that means, ask nicely and they will give you permission).

I'm going to find what a written appearance looks like and I'm hoping that will be my next post!

THANK YOU RACECAR for those links, do you know any expert posters on this board that are familiar with IL, we're in the weeds here! :)

Edited by ReadytoWininCA
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Check this out:

This almost positively has to be the form you need, it even says DOROTHY BROWN, CLERK OF THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS at the bottom xdancex

Let me get some more info...

I found the form here (which has a bunch of forms):

Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court

And, BOTH Civil and Small Claims is what applies to your situation. Civil is the choice of law (your not a criminal, you just fell behind on a credit card) and Small Claims because of the amount. So from now on just remember Civil/Small Claims forms apply to you.

And if you think 2 of the forms apply to you, just print out both, fill them out, and take both with you (make copies if you can so you can keep one for your file) and they'll tell you which applies.

Now I'm just going to try to get a little more help on what else you might need for tomorrow, but I would plan to get my happy a$$ to the courthouse tomorrow before 9:30am with forms in hand (and there's going to be a fee too, not sure if you can afford that (or even how much it might be) but there should also be some type of fee waiver (I'm a poor person) form.

Edited by ReadytoWininCA
adding where I found the form....
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Check your credit,you are looking for account sold to another lender.

If it still belongs to american express,then i would elect arbitration.They normally have all the goods for trail.Need to know what law firm they are using.Arbitration is expensive for the creditor you can ask for filing costs from them.They wont pay for it for small debts.Read page 6 of 6 in the pdf file i posted on the 2nd post.

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Of course its written by lawyers (ha ha), but it says this:

How must a defendant respond when served with a summons and complaint in a

small claims lawsuit?

If you are served with a small claims complaint and you neither deny the claims nor the amount of damages the plaintiff seeks, you should contact the plaintiff and attempt to resolve the matter out of court. Otherwise, you can simply admit the claims and have a judgment entered against you. The former course is preferable, to avoid the public record of a judgment against you.

If you dispute the claim or the amount of damages requested, you must respond to the complaint by filing an “Appearance.” The Summons will specify a “return date” and the defendant must on that day file the written Appearance and pay an appearance fee with the Clerk of the Court at the address checked on the Summons. Appearance forms are available either at the clerk=s office or at (in the “Search by Division” section, click “small claims” to reveal the selection of small claims forms). The defendant also may demand a jury if the plaintiff has not done so, and pay the applicable fee. The case will not be heard in court on the return date. When the defendant files the Appearance and pays the fee, the clerk will give notice of the first court date. It is on that day that the defendant must appear in court. If the defendant files an Appearance form, there is no need to file an answer to the complaint. In such a case, the allegations against the defendant in the complaint are presumed to be denied and the defendant is free to prove any defense to the charges. Sup. Ct. Rule 286. If the defendant fails to file an appearance and pay the required fee on the return date, a judgment by default may be entered for the relief requested in the complaint.

Here's the link to the whole article, good information here:


Pay attention to what RACECAR is telling you - he's saying that Amex normally has their ducks in order, so you have a decision to make there. On the one hand, you may get lucky like inthesticks (of course that was Crapital One) or you may find they have all of your statements & account information etc. Either way, you're in the same boat. If its cheap to play, my opinion only, you should at least do the appearance and then do discovery to find out what documents they actually have.

I have to go make dinner, etc, I'll check back in a little later....ask any questions you have, people are reading your thread! :)++

Edited by ReadytoWininCA
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Amex hardly ever sells its accounts.

Small claims court requires only an appearance ( either pay or get a fee waiver). For fee waiver you must go to another floor and get approved by a judge so make sure to allow at least one hour before hearing. CC is a busy court and there is always a line for fee waiver.

I would ask the judge for extension of time because of such short notice so you can properly file your answer. If granted I would make sure to get a copy of the order before leaving that room. It's your Insurance against some of these scumbags in case they claim you were never there.

First initial of law firm would be helpful, dealing with each firm is different (technique wise ).

Whatever you do , just don't admit you owe, if asked about the account always remind the judge that "this claim in its entirely is in Dispute".

This way the door is open to defend.

Meanwhile go to arbitration board and read , grab a copy of AMEX card agreement and start working on motion to compel arbitration.

Look for articles by Daniel Edelman that was recently posted he is a consumer attorney in IL. (An excellent one I may add):D

Edited by howucan2
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Any claim shall be resolved, upon the election by

you or us, by arbitration pursuant to this

Arbitration provision and the code of procedures

of the arbitration organization to which the claim

is referred in effect at the time the claim is filed

(code), except to the extent the code conflicts

with this Agreement. Claims shall be referred to

either JAMS or the American Arbitration

Association (AAA), as selected by the party.


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Yay! finally some great advice from people who know! Hope you are feeling better about what you have to do tomorrow morning, you'll be fine...just remember "this debt is disputed in its entirety" and you'd like to do some discovery. I hope everything goes well for you, good luck!! Let us know what happens & how we can help! YOU CAN DO THIS! :p

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Ok I have the written appearance form, indigent (poor) person form

written appearace is what they call a "response to suit" that just states I am planning on being in court and doesn't allow creditor to get a default

I don't believe I will have to go in front of the judge today (correct?) But if I do, do I ask for a leave of court & discovery first? (do I need paperwork??) And see what they come up with? Think its still with Amer Express, just says Terms: charged off and Comments: credit line closed--grantor request--reported by subscriber.

Leaving now but have access to web via phone so will keep reading posts!! Eeks!

Thank you guys!!

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