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Hunt & Henriques is trying to serve me. What are my next steps? (Los Angeles, CA)


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As the title states, H&H has been trying to serve me for the past week and a half. Through pure luck, I have never been home when they tried to serve me. We live in a gated community and they need to get buzzed in before they would be able to serve me.

That said, they were able to get through once 14 days ago and contacted my SO. SO said the server was looking for me; server would not give SO the documents, nor would they tell SO what the documents were about.

I have not yet looked up the case online to see if they have actually filed anything.

What should I/can I do to prepare myself? I messed up bad and did not request debt validation (a mistake I will never make again).

They mailed me the 30 day letter end of July. The balance is ~7k, OC is CITI.

Based on my research, my time RIGHT NOW should be spent writing a response to the complaint. AFTER I answer the complaint, I should do the following:

...do a request for production of documents/discovery (depending on your court's rules of civil procedures - if you're being sued in small claims, you usually can't.) When you do a request for production of documents or discovery (it's called one or the other depending on your state), THENyou can ask for the things that you might ask in a DV:

1. Copy of statements from OC or contract

2. How the debt was calculated

3. Letter of sale or assignment.

Thoughts/Comments?

Edited by DefaultNameHere
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Hello and welcome.

The people on here are very helpful. I'm just a newbie but I'll offer what I know.

In California, they can serve anyone at your address, tell them to give it to you, and mail you a copy and that would be proper service. So it's inevitable I'm afraid, you are going to be served.

When you get the complaint, post the answers the questions in this link http://www.creditinfocenter.com/forums/there-lawyer-house/242744-qs-answer-when-posting-forum-please-read.html Keep in mind to round the amount they are asking for and don't disclose anything personal.

Once the people on this board have that information, people will jump in to help. Be sure to list their cause of action, you know, breach of contract, account stated, etc.

There are plenty of examples of people educating themselves and beating these guys, so read, study, and post.

good luck.

rt

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  • 3 weeks later...

COMPLAINT

1. Plaintiff: Citibank

2. Pleading consists of 4 pages

3. Each plaintiff named above is a competent adult

[X] Except plaintiff: Citibank

[x] Other: A national banking association organized and existing under and by virtue of the laws of the united states of America

4. (unmarked)

5. (unmarked)

6. (unmarked)

7. This court is proper because

[X] a defendant lives here now

8. The following causes of actions are attached and the statements above apply to each

[X] Common Counts

9. [X] Other: Citibank N.A. is the current owner of this VISA CARD branded credit account and all rights to pursue collection from Defendant

10. Plaintiff prays for judgement of costs of suit; for each relief as is fair, just, and equitable; and for

[X] Damages of > 5k and < 10k

FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION - Common counts

Attachment to [X] Complaint

CC-1 Plaintiff : Citibank N.A. alleges that defendant DefaultNameHere became indebted to [X] Plaintiff [X] or its predecessor in interest

a. [X] within the last four years

(1) [X] on an open book account for money due

(2) [X] because an account was stated in writing by and between plaintiff and defendant in which it was agreed that defendant was indebted to plaintiff

b. [X] within the last [X] four years

(4) [X] For money lent by plaintiff to defendant at descendant's request

(5) [X] for money paid, laid out, and expended to or for defendant at defendant's special instance and request

CC-2 > 5k and < 10k, which is reasonable value, is due and unpaid despite plaintiff's demand

The complaint is UNVERIFIED so I was planning on using general denial pld050

First question - Am I responding to the COMPLAINT, or the FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION - COMMON COUNTS?

Based on my research, denying CC-2 based on the following language is common:

Defendant objects to this RFA on the ground that the word "Account" is vague and ambiguous in the context of this litigation. Plaintiff's complaint is utterly devoid of any factual information regarding the alleged debt and plaintiff has not yet responded to defendant's discovery seeking such factual information. Based upon the foregoing, defendant responds as follows: DENIED.

HOWEVER, it says very specific that this is for a credit card in #9 in the complaint.

If this is the case, are my only affirmative defenses the following?

• Unjust Enrichment

I plan on answering and sending a BOP ASAP.

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Is H&H suing on behalf of Citi, or another entity like LVNV, Asset, PRA or CACH?

H&H on behalf of Citi

Sorry, thought I posted this:

1. Who is the named plaintiff in the suit?

CITIBANK, N.A.

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

Hunt & Henriques

3. How much are you being sued for?

Between 5k and 10k

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

CITIBANK, N.A.

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

Served

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

Delivered to occupant living in residence + mail

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

Yes

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

DV letter from them (did not respond, oops)

Settlement offer letter from me (they did not respond)

9. What state and county do you live in?

Los Angeles, CA

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

> 6 months, less than 1 year.

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

7 years?

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).

Suit served + Motions Filed

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

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Other: Citibank N.A. is the current owner of this VISA CARD branded credit account and all rights to pursue collection from Defendant

Who owned it before them? How did they get it? They just opened a door for discovery.

full text

[X]Other: On (date), Citibank (South Dakota) N.A. merged into Citibank, N.A., with Citibank, N.A. as the resulting and surviving national banking association. Citibank N.A. is the current owner of this VISA CARD branded credit account and all rights to pursue collection from Defendant.

left out some text to make it more vague, guess I shouldn't have done that above.

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www.courts.ca.gov/documents/pld050.pdf

or

1.GENERAL DENIAL

TO PLAINTIFF,CITIBANK, N.A. AND THEIR ATTORNEY OF RECORD HUNT & HENRIQUES:

This Defendant denies each and every allegation contained in the claim, and each and every part thereof and, in this connection, this Defendant denies that plaintiffs have been injured or damaged in any sum, or otherwise, or at all.

2.VERIFICATION

I, [your full name], am the Defendant in the aforementioned action. I have read the foregoing GENERAL DENIAL and know the contents thereof. The same is true to my knowledge, except as to those matters which are stated on information and belief, and as to those matters I believe them to be true.

I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing is true and correct.

Has Printed Name

Signed Name Here

3.PROOF OF SERVICE

The effect of defendant's general denial was to put plaintiff to its proof.

Junk debt buyers usually never have what they need to win.

Before you can file your Answer or General Denial with the Court, you must first serve a copy of the Answer or General Denial on the Plaintiff's attorney (or the Plaintiff, if the Plaintiff does not have an attorney). Fortunately, this service can be done by mail. All you need is a copy of your Answer or General Denial, a Proof of Service form, and someone over the age of 18 who is not a party in this lawsuit (i.e., not you).

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Make Copies

Make two (2) copies of your Answer or General Denial. One of these copies is to be served on the Plaintiff's attorney (or the Plaintiff if he or she doesn't have an attorney); the original and the other copy are to be filed with the court. The court will keep the original and return the copy, now stamped or "endorsed" by the court, for your records.

If you are filing a fee waiver, make two (2) copies each of the Request to Waive Court Fees (FW-001), and the Order on Court Fee Waiver (FW-003).

Step 2: Serve the Answer or General Denial

The person who is serving your Answer or General Denial for you must complete a proof of service form, typically, the Proof of Service by First Class Mail (POS-030). Instructions for completing the Proof of Service by First Class Mail are on the second page of that form (the back, if double-sided).The proof of service form should be completely filled out, but not signed. Make a copy of the unsigned proof of service before proceeding.

The person over the age of 18 who is not a party to the case must then mail a copy of the Answer or General Denial along with a copy of the unsigned proof of service form on the Plaintiff's attorney (or Plaintiff, if he/she has no attorney). The proof of service form can typically be attached as the last page of the Answer or General Denial. The person doing the mailing then signs the Proof of Service form, and gives the signed Proof of Service to you.

Step 3: Copy the Signed Proof of Service

Make one (1) copy of the Proof of Service. It is not necessary to copy the instruction page.

Step 4: Assembling

Assemble your packet as follows:

◦Request to Waive Court Fees (FW-001) plus one (1) copy beneath it, if requesting fees to be waived. The original will be unstapled, while the copy is stapled.

◦Order on Court Fee Waiver (FW-003) plus one (1) copy, if requesting fees to be waived. The original will be unstapled, while the copy is stapled.

◦Answer/General Denial/Response to Petition with all pages, plus one (1) copy. The original will be unstapled, while the copy is stapled. The Petition might be on Judicial Council forms or might be on 28-line pleading paper.

◦Completed Proof of Service Form, typically Proof of Service by First-Class Mail (POS-030). The original plus one (1) copy. This proof of service can be attached as the last page of the Answer/General Denial/Response to Petition when filing. If this is the case, then the original Proof of Service should be attached to the original Answer/General Denial/Response, and the copy of the Proof of Service should be attached to the copy of the Answer/General Denial/Response.

Step 5: Filing/Fees

You should take your completed packet to the Courthouse.

No filing fees will be collected at the time of filing if you have filed a Request to Waive Court Fees. You should receive the Order on Court Fee Waiver in about five court days.

If you are not requesting your fees to be waived (or if your fee waiver is denied), your filing fee is based on the amount asked for in the Complaint. Check the current fee schedule.

This first appearance fee is only paid with the first paper that you file in a lawsuit. Most other documents filed later do not have a filing fee, or a much lower filing fee.

Remember deny everything but your name and address,never admit to anything.They paid pennies on the dollar for your account and will try and collect the full amount you owed the original creditor,you owe them nothing.

Edited by racecar
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sooo BOP, get my agreements, find out arbitration clause (if any), and force arbitration?

If it were my issue, I'd initiate JAMS arbitration now.

Based on your default date, you can get the agreement you need here:

Credit card agreement database - Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

http://files.consumerfinance.gov/a/assets/credit-card-agreements/pdf/creditcardagreement_5400.pdf

1. Complete a demand for JAMS.

2. Draft a cover letter to JAMS explaining the Citi account number in dispute.

3. Draft a cover letter to H&H which would include a statement that you demand that they immediately withdraw the suit or you will hold the Citi,the law firm and the attorneys responsible.

4. Serve the JAMS demand and cover letters.

5. Prepare a motion to compel arbitration.

6. Research and prepare a law suit for FDCPA/Rosenthal violations for continuing to litigate after you made a lawful demand for arbitration.

7. You would have just handed them a situation where they will have no course of action that does not either violate the law or in the alternative, cost them tens of thousands of dollars to pursue their claim in JAMS.

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^^

if I submit the JAMS arbitration request right now, do I still answer the complaint?

You will answer the complaint with a general denial or a petition to compel arbitration if H&H doesn't "stay" it by the time your answer is due. Keep in mind, any further litigation after Citi/H&H receives your JAMS demand is a violation of law. FDCPA/Rosenthal/Unfair Business Practices.

When were you served?

Look up 1281.7: California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1281.7 - California Attorney Resources - California Laws

then,

ccp 1281.2: California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1281.2 - California Attorney Resources - California Laws

Edited by bad98roadster
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  • 3 weeks later...

Haven't done enough research on arbitration so I'm going with a standard answer/BOP strategy

2 questions:

1) Can my BOP be sent anytime or is it generally recommended to send a BOP request at the same time I file my answer?

2) BOP is on pleading paper correct and answer (PLD -050) on regular paper. Correct?

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Haven't done enough research on arbitration so I'm going with a standard answer/BOP strategy

2 questions:

1) Can my BOP be sent anytime or is it generally recommended to send a BOP request at the same time I file my answer? Yes, it can be filed at any time but I'd do it before you even serve and file your answer based on my own experience with H&H-see below

2) BOP is on pleading paper correct and answer (PLD -050) on regular paper. Correct?BOP does not have to be on pleading paper but it looks more official. You can use a general denial since their complaint was not verified but make sure you throw in affirmative defenses to prevent a motion for summary judgment. Don't admit to anything in your answer. I've seen instances after reading court records where summary judgments were granted because the defendant admitted to owing the debt but can't repay. That's no defense btw.

Tip from my own experience dealing with H&H: Send the BOP before you serve and file your answer. They must respond within 15 days (10 days plus 5 for mailing) that will still give you time to file your answer. Reason: If and when you need to file a Motion to Compel a further BOP or a BOP period they will object, as they tried in my case, stating that Defendant already filed their answer so there is no need for a BOP or a further BOP based on their argument that the BOP is an amplification of their Complaint. May be utter nonsense but to avoid them jumping through a loop-hole later on down the road it is best to head them off at the pass.

My case was not with an OC like yours but I did get them to dismiss without prejudice because they tend to screw things up by not responding on time.

My recommendations:

1. Serve them with a BOP-now. Today! Do it on pleading paper. There are plenty of good templates on this board. You do not file the BOP with the court-yet anyway.

2. Wait the 15 days and then serve and file your answer as long as it does not put you past the 30 days in which to file deadline.

3. Within the next two weeks hit them with discovery requests. No more than 35 and make sure you follow the rules of your court. Do it on pleading paper-use MS Word it has pleading paper template. Make sure you use the proper headings and follow your local court rules which can be found on-line at your counties superior court web-site. If you don't have MS Word then go to your local library-like I did-and use their tech center.

4. Hold them accountable for meeting deadlines by sending Meet and Confer letters even for the BOP. Although M&C letters are not mandatory for BOPs it shows the court that you tried to resolve the issue informally before calling on the courts to intercede.

5. If the courts schedule you for a mediation session, in some counties here in Ca it is now mandatory others like mine was voluntary, SHOW UP! Make sure you serve and file a mediation brief five days before the session/hearing.

Expect them to send you an affidavit from CITIBANK and credit card statements to prove their claims. You'll have a harder time getting a win or dismissal since you are being sued by the Original Creditor-CITIBANK- and it will be easier for them to prove their claims. H&H is very disorganized and if you are going to prevail you need to capitalize on that weakness and that is why you need to hit them hard from the outset and never let up for one minute. They will also call you to get you to settle-don't admit to owing anything to CITIBANK. Refuse to answer until they send proof of debt and the right to collect. This means you need to do your homework and keep a detailed calendar.

If you can't afford the filing fees apply for a fee waiver-you'll find them on-line too.

Carol-Lynn

Edited by SkippieB
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My case was with H&H for a Citibank card which I won w/o prejudice. The person who is supposedly the "I have personal knowledge of said account" is Dorothy Ruiz out of their Arizona office. There are some posts on her on this forum and Calawyer wrote a bunch of cross-examination questions for pro se that you can ask her if it ever gets to that point.

Read up on Chiquita55. She was up against the OC and not a JDB and won.

Follow SkippieB's advice...send the BOP out so you get a headstart and then you can build your strategy from there..

helpme

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Backstory: Had an account with US Bank for 3 years and accrued a debt of $2.2 before I defaulted because I was laid off. H&H starts sending me letters that I owe $2.5K, then $2.9K, then +$3K...all of which I was given the opportunity to settle for $2k! I refused, because I have never signed an agreement with them nor have I given them any money to fuse a relationship.

During May 2012, I was served with a Summons by H&H, OC is US Bank. I answered with a General Denial, and a request for the BOP. In my defense arguments, I said that there was an Assumption of Risk (since my account had defaulted Aug 2008), Statute of Fraud (there was no written agreement/monetary exchange between H&H and me and no proof that they legally own my debt from my OC with my consent to incur charges to my default account), Failure of Consideration (no "meeting of the minds") and Discovery.

In turn, they sent me the last 12 months (Jan 2008-Jan 2009) worth of statements but no proof of my original contract and no proof of the transfer/payment of debt to H&H.

Today was my court date and I was prepared to give the same argument because they haven't given me sufficient evidence to validate the debt and I felt that it is already past the SOL. What ended up happening was their local representative had me postpone the trial to the end of Jan 2013.

Is it too late to challenge the validity of the debt (send them a letter), or have I already done that by requesting Discovery and the BOP? If not, are they legally obligated to provide me the following information (i.e. copies of any papers that show I agreed to pay what they say I owe since I haven't any, proof that the SOL has not expired because the SOL should apply after August 2012, and show how they have the right to add charges to an already default account when there is no written agreement between us)?

Am I missing any valuable information that I should bring to the trial? I feel prepared but then I doubt it because I'm seeing people filing for a CCP 96 and that has never occurred to me that I would need to do that.

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You need to start your own thread, but read my comments in bold:

Backstory: Had an account with US Bank for 3 years and accrued a debt of $2.2 before I defaulted because I was laid off. H&H starts sending me letters that I owe $2.5K, then $2.9K, then +$3K...all of which I was given the opportunity to settle for $2k! I refused, because I have never signed an agreement with them nor have I given them any money to fuse a relationship. H&H was collecting on behalf of the original creditor - they don't need a signed agreement to collect on their client's behalf.

During May 2012, I was served with a Summons by H&H, OC is US Bank. I answered with a General Denial, and a request for the BOP. In my defense arguments, I said that there was an Assumption of Risk (since my account had defaulted Aug 2008), Statute of Fraud (there was no written agreement/monetary exchange between H&H and me and no proof that they legally own my debt from my OC with my consent to incur charges to my default account), Failure of Consideration (no "meeting of the minds") and Discovery.

None of this is applicable to a credit card case - and since you were sued by an attorney representing the original creditor, they don't need to prove that H&H owns the debt.

In turn, they sent me the last 12 months (Jan 2008-Jan 2009) worth of statements but no proof of my original contract and no proof of the transfer/payment of debt to H&H.

Because they don't need to - you are being sued by the orginal creditor.

Today was my court date and I was prepared to give the same argument because they haven't given me sufficient evidence to validate the debt and I felt that it is already past the SOL. What ended up happening was their local representative had me postpone the trial to the end of Jan 2013.

The statute of limitations is 4 years from the date you defaulted on the account...that being the case, when did you last pay? If is was less than 4 years ago- this defense isn't going to work.

Is it too late to challenge the validity of the debt (send them a letter)far too late., or have I already done that by requesting Discovery and the BOP? You have a shot with the BOP - they have to itemize the activity over the life of the account. 12 months of statements isn't going to cut it. Read up on a BOP. If not, are they legally obligated to provide me the following information (i.e. copies of any papers that show I agreed to pay what they say I owe since I haven't any, proof that the SOL has not expired because the SOL should apply after August 2012, and show how they have the right to add charges to an already default account when there is no written agreement between us)? Yes- it's called discovery and you have to get it from the other side.

Am I missing any valuable information that I should bring to the trial? I feel prepared but then I doubt it because I'm seeing people filing for a CCP 96 and that has never occurred to me that I would need to do that.

You are not prepared for trial - not by a long shot. You better start reading and learning fast, becuase you are going to have a lot of things coming up very fast - like at the holidays.

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Tip from my own experience dealing with H&H: Send the BOP before you serve and file your answer. They must respond within 15 days (10 days plus 5 for mailing) that will still give you time to file your answer. Reason: If and when you need to file a Motion to Compel a further BOP or a BOP period they will object, as they tried in my case, stating that Defendant already filed their answer so there is no need for a BOP or a further BOP based on their argument that the BOP is an amplification of their Complaint. May be utter nonsense but to avoid them jumping through a loop-hole later on down the road it is best to head them off at the pass.

I'll keep that in mind next time for H&H...unfortunately I have to leave town on Saturday so I need to send out the BOP/Answer fairly soon...

thanks for advice all. will keep this thread updated. lots of reading to do.

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Question regarding the copy that I'm sending to the attorney...

The instructions say that I can serve them BEFORE filing an answer. Is that right? I don't need to get the answer "conformed" before sending the attorney a copy, thus requiring only ONE trip to the courthouse, not two?

My question is based on this quote from a different thread:

Since then, I think I've learned you should do it this way:

You take the signed GD and make two copies. You take all three to the courthouse, file the original, and get the other two stamped. Then your spouse fills out the POS and makes 2 copies. Put one copy in with the GD to mail to the plaintiffs attorney. Then you go to the courthouse to file the original of the POS. In this way you have circumvented the Catch 22 aspect. However, it means two trips to the courthouse.

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Question regarding the copy that I'm sending to the attorney...

The instructions say that I can serve them BEFORE filing an answer. Is that right? I don't need to get the answer "conformed" before sending the attorney a copy, thus requiring only ONE trip to the courthouse, not two?

My question is based on this quote from a different thread:

In my county, here in California, you MUST SERVE the answer on Plaintiff's attorneys before you file your answer with the county clerk's office. You do need to send a copy of the proof of service with your answer to the Hunt & Henriques. After you've done that then you file your answer along with the original proof of service with the courts.

By "conformed" I take it you mean "verified" and no you do not have to "verify" your answer if their complaint was not verified-which I'm betting it wasn't.

I'd get the BOP out before you go away for the week-end. It should only take a half an hour to type up and pop in the mail. Remember you do not have to file the BOP with the court but you must serve it. You need to show them you mean business. He who hesitates is lost.

Carol-Lynn

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In my county, here in California, you MUST SERVE the answer on Plaintiff's attorneys before you file your answer with the county clerk's office. You do need to send a copy of the proof of service with your answer to the Hunt & Henriques. After you've done that then you file your answer along with the original proof of service with the courts.

So...I have my SO drop off a copy of the answer + copy of the POS in the mailbox. I have her sign the POS and then file the original + original POS with the courts?

I mean it sounds like I can do the whole process in a few hours and with only 1 trip to the courthouse. Just want to make sure I'm not missing anything.

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So...I have my SO drop off a copy of the answer + copy of the POS This has to be signed too! in the mailbox. Correct I have her sign the POS and then file the original + original POS with the courts? Correct

I mean it sounds like I can do the whole process in a few hours and with only 1 trip to the courthouse. Just want to make sure I'm not missing anything.

I'd still recommend, unless you are running out of time to serve/file your answer that you put that on the back burner and serve them with your demand for a BOP by tomorrow. Like I said before, H&H tried to de-rail my motion to compel a further BOP by saying once the answer was served there was no need for a BOP. Remember you're dealing with the original creditor and you'll have a harder time fighting them and will need to protect yourself at every turn.

Carol-Lynn

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