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I received a letter from Forster & Garbus stating that they were filing a judgment against me, supposedly collecting on behalf of Merrick Bank for a credit card debt. After reading up on them online, and seeing what animals they are, and then discovering this site, I decided to fight it. After reading through some of these forums, I wrote a letter to them and sent the same letter to the court. It read:



Ms. XXXXX:

I am contacting you in regard to a letter indicating a judgment is being filed against me by Forster & Glarbus postmarked February 5th, 2013 and received by me on or about February 7th, 2013.

The letter states that you are acting on behalf of the plaintiff, Merrick Bank, with the plaintiff’s address being 10705 S. Gateway City, S. Jordan UT, 84095.

I will need you to validate this alleged debt by providing me with the following information:

·         The amount you claim I owe

·          Explain and show me how you have computed the amount, including a complete payment history on this account, and your process of validation of these amounts and payments in order to prove that the amount you wish to collect is accurate

·         Send me the copies of any documents that prove I agreed to pay the alleged amount along with the agreement that bears signature of the alleged debtor where he promises to pay the original creditor

·         Identify the original creditor and provide proof that this debt was purchased by you, your offices or representative of your office from the original creditor

·         Provide alleged credit card number or account number

·         Confirm that the account has not crossed the statute of limitations period

·         Prove that you are a licensed debt collector, including a copy of the agreement with your client that authorizes you to collect on this alleged debt

·         Provide proof of your license numbers and registered agent

 

Your attention to this matter will be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

 

A couple weeks later, I received a letter from the court that says in part:

"Please take notice that your civil case has been rescheduled to April XX at XX:XXam...for a Pre-Trial Conference."

 

What do I need for that? Or what can I expect to happen there? Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

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You might be getting a little ahead of yourself and not following the standard procedures. 

 

You will want to find out a few things by calling the Court Clerk;

1 - has a complaint been filed

2 - has a judgment against you actually been entered. 

 

If the action is in the Complaint/Answer stage there is a lot of things you can do to win against the Junk Debt Buyer (JDB) just help us help you by posting the information requested of this forum.

 

If a default judgment has been entered against you it's more of an uphill battle but can be lodged and won. 

 

So call the Court and obtain all the details of what's been filed. Post the redacted info with rounded up amounts here so we can help you help yourself. 

 

Check this site for some ideas from a NY/NJ Lawyer, Phil Stearns   http://www.philipstern.com/Cases.html

 

The pretrial conference is to determine if everybody is ready and the Court can establish a date. Some preparation required. 

 

Best,

 

HP

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Thanks HP. Sorry, I guess I left out an important part. The first letter I got said I needed to appear in city court "by serving an answer to the annexed complaint...upon your failure to answer, judgment will be taken against you for the relief demanded in the complaint..."

 

It is in response to that letter that I wrote to Forster and sent a copy to the court as well. So, if I understand correctly, no judgment has been filed because as of yet. The amount they are after is just under $2,500. At the top of the second page it says "Formal Complaint."

 

I hope that makes things a little clearer.

 

MTK

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Your sequence of events is confusing.  Creditors do not and cannot just march forward and "file a judgment against" you.   They must first sue you in court.  So the first thing you would have received would have been Fortser and Gargus' complaint against you.

 

If you indeed did receive that complaint and ignored it. then the creditor will eventually be awarded a judgment against you by the judge.  But since you say you received a letter about a pre-trial conference, it appears a complaint was filed.

 

Generally speaking, sending vanilla letters to the court is useless.  You need to file properly formatted court documents in accordance with the procedures in your local court.

 

I wouldn't be surprised if the letter you received from the court about a pre-trial is NOT a direct response to your letter.  But instead, it could be a coincidence.  Forster may have requested a continuation - for a host of reasons.

 

If you were never served with the complaint and other documents filed by Forster, then you have a defense to any judgment they try to obtain.

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Sorry if I'm not being clear. Needless to say, this is all kind of new to me. 

 

I believe you are correct. The first thing I received was Forster & Garbus's complaint (which I guess is a summons), and within that complaint, it said that "upon your failure to answer, judgment will be taken against you for the relief demanded in the complaint." It said I had 30 days within which to answer if the complaint was not delivered to me personally, which it wasn't, so within that thirty days, I sent the letters asking for proof of debt, etc., then, a couple weeks after that, I received the letter from the court about the pre-trial conference. I have not received any more communication from F&G.

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It sounds like the court has accepted your letter as an answer to the lawsuit, even though it probably is not procedurally correct. 

I'd make sure you carefully review the rules of procedure for this court.  Many courts on top of having set state or federal rules will also have their own local rules.  You need to make sure you are aware of any such rules.

It sounds like the court might have cut you some slack and accepted your letter as an offical answer to the suit, but I'd make sure and be 100% for sure. 

Good Luck !!

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Thanks Coltfan. So should I call the court to see if they have, in fact, accepted my letter as answer to the suit? Also, what kind of rules are you referring to? (I apologize again, I really have no knowledge in this arena.) And where would I find out about local court rules?

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Well if the atty Nascar recommend then they will take care of it.   If not, then yes, I'd make sure the court has offically recognized your letter as an "answer" to the lawsuit.   It sounds like they have, but just check.   At the same time you can ask the court if the judge has any "local rules" the rest of the rules should be easily available online under "rules of civil procedure" for that state and that court. 

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Slow down and start over here. Right now people are trying to help you with having only limited information. If you answer these questions it will be easier for them to help you. 

 

 

Start out by answering these questions while leaving out personal information and exact numbers. This way it makes it easier for others to help you.

 

Racecar's Questions

 

 

1. Who is the named plaintiff in the suit? 

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

3. How much are you being sued for? 

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

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

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

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

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? 

9. What state and county do you live in? 

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

11. What is the SOL on the debt? 

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). 

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

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. 

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? 


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

 
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1. Who is the named plaintiff in the suit? -Merrick Bank Corporation

2. What is the name of the law firm handling the suit? (should be listed at the top of the complaint.) -It’s not on the top, but Forster & Garbus is listed, and is also who sent me a copy of the summons.

3. How much are you being sued for? -$2,500

4. Who is the original creditor? (if not the Plaintiff) -Same – Merrick Bank

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

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

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

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? -I probably answered the phone when they called at some point over the past two years, but probably not in the better part of a year.

9. What state and county do you live in? -NY, Warren County.

10. When is the last time you paid on this account? (looking to establish if you are outside of the statute of limitations) -Not sure, but about 2 years ago, maybe a little more. Looked up Utah (mailing address of plaintiff) and it’s not exceeded the statute of limitations.

11. What is the SOL on the debt? -Not sure what this means.

12. What is the status of your case? Suit served? Motions filed? You can find this by a) calling the court or      looking it up online (many states have this information posted - when you find the online court site, search by case number or your name). -I’ll have to call. Can’t seem to find anywhere to search online.

13. Have you disputed the debt with the credit bureaus (both the original creditor and the collection agency?) -I have had no contact with the original creditor. As for the collection agency, all I did was sent the letter referenced in an earlier post.

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. I sent a debt validation request (or at least my version of such) upon receiving the summons.

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? -I had 30 days within which to respond, which I did, with the letter requesting proof of debt, etc.


16. What evidence did they send with the summons? An affidavit? Statements from the OC? Contract? List anything else they attached as exhibits. -They sent no evidence with the summons.

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I think the best thing to do is read this forum over the weekend and then contact who Nascar recommended.  If you decide to use an attorney they will take care of all this.   If you decide to handle this yourself, then a weekend of studying this forum will put you in the pro se driver seat. 

 

If you decide to go pro-se, we are all hear to help but you'll need a good foundation of the basics that you should be able to get caught up to speed on if you're a serious fighter, which you seem to be. 

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