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HELP!!! Portfolio Recovery Associates filed civil lawsuit against me in CA


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I have not been served but received a letter today from a law office re: Portfolio Recovery Assoicates, LLC vs. ME, filed on 7/7/2013, Case # and how I should hire them to help fight them.  
 

As I did a google search on PRA, I came across this website.  

 

I also searched the Orange County Supreme Court and found the case.  It says it was filed on 6/28/2013. 

 

If I haven't been served yet, what should I do?  Does this mean to watch every corner for someone lurking to serve me?

 

I don't even know which debt this is for.  

 

I can't afford to pay off any debt and I can't afford a lawyer.  

 

Please some guide me through this. 

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Please answer what you have the answers to. Try to be thorough, but make every effort to maintain anonymity, for example, round the amount to an even number close to the amount. Don't list personal info.

 

 

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?

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? To find out:

(California is 4 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).

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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I have answered the questions as asked.  At this time, they are mostly unknown.  As I find out more information, I will edit the answers. 

 

I go back to my ORIGINAL post question...since I have not been served yet, should I expect this?  Will they go to my place of employment to try to serve me?

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I have answered the questions as asked.  At this time, they are mostly unknown.  As I find out more information, I will edit the answers. 

 

I go back to my ORIGINAL post question...since I have not been served yet, should I expect this?  Will they go to my place of employment to try to serve me?

 

Yes, you should expect to be served.  They might go to your place of employment if they even know it but generally they go to your home first.  You can make this easier and avoid them showing up at your job all together.  They have filed suit so you can't stop that train now.  I would go over to the clerk's office and have them serve me there and get copies of EVERYTHING while you are there.  Then you know what you are up against and can start fighting.

 

To me waiting for the process server just prolongs the anxiety.

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And, you never know when it will happen, because they don't seem to follow any schedule. I've had two different plaintiffs who used the same attorneys. For one account they served me just before the 180 day cutoff (after being filed), and they other was served 3 days after being filed. For the second time on the one account (PRA sued me twice on the same account) they sent a person to my house who told my 15-year-old at the time that 'its a good thing I have a job because I'm going to need it to pay for this account' when I wasn't home to be served. After an angry call to the company, where I told them it was in her best interest if somebody else came back and she never speak to my children again, a time was scheduled for service...which they were late to.

They acted as if nobody had ever called before and wanted service. I'll admit, that was empowering in and of itself. If you're going to wait, pull the case and its documents up on your computer and look them over. Then, you can answer the questions more thoroughly.

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Thank you!

 

I will expect to be served at some time then.  But from what I have read, I shouldn't wait for that to happen.  I will request some time off to go to the court one day next week to get a copy of the records.  I can't get them on life from what I can tell.  It just says filed.  

 

Once I know what I am up against, I can then seek my next step!

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I got the court papers online.  I wasn't looking in the right place previously.  Now what?  

 

1. Who is the named plaintiff in the suit?
Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC
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?
$1,444.43
4. Who is the original creditor? (if not the Plaintiff)
HSBC Bank Nevada
5. How do you know you are being sued? (You were served, right?)
I was not served.  I received a letter in the mail from a law office regarding this filing against me, offering their services.
6. How were you served? (Mail, In person, Notice on door)
n/a
7. Was the service legal as required by your state?
Unsure.  No? Because I was not served?
8. What was your correspondence (if any) with the people suing you before you think you were being sued?
I have not had any previous communication
9. What state and county do you live in?
Orange County, CA
10. When is the last time you paid on this account? (looking to establish if you are outside of the statute of limitations)
3 years ago
11. What is the SOL on the debt? To find out:
4
(California is 4 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).
Filed only.  
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?
According to the summons online with the court, 30 days from being served. 
16. What evidence did they send with the summons? An affidavit? Statements from the OC? Contract? List anything else they attached as exhibits.

N/A
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Having them give the papers to you on your terms has a way of making you feel less the under dog, and more 'Oh you're so gonna regret the day you even saw my name!'

You can probably pay for a copy of the complaint without it being considered service, but I'm not 100% sure about that. Either way, having the complaint ahead if time gives you more time to look it over, find your bearings, begin your research, and formulate your plan of action.

You've stumbled onto a site with many, many people who have been down the same road and not only lived to tell the tale, but came out of the ordeal triumphant. We've got some great CCP's in Cali that help a lot too. Keep us posted...I know I'll be anxiously awaiting any news on the case.

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HotWheels, I was just searching through the forum and saw that you had PRA file suit for you for an old HSBC card too - twice.  What was the final conclusion?  There was nothing posted on the thread I was reading. Also, how are you doing after your last surgery?

 

I paid $30 bucks on the OC Court website and have all the filings and the summons.  Will they get notifified that I purchased copies?  I like the fact that I have bought a little extra time.  What happens if I never actually get served?  Do I still respond by the end of the 30 days?  I have read stories of people not being served and still getting a default judgement.  I don't want that.  I think my debt is so little, with a little good effort (thanks to this website and the great people here), I can easily get this dismissed.  My $1444.43 won't be worth a lot of their time.  I hope.  

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They have 180 days to serve you once they file the lawsuit. I would expect them to serve you.

I don't think they will know it was you who purchased the documents. They are public records...even I could buy them if I wanted to. Did you determine you cannot check the docket online? If you can't, you'll need to see if you can either go down maybe once a week or call every few days to check the docket. That will allow you to see if they are claiming you we're served.

In the event you check and it says you were served, go down and look at the proof of service to see what they said. You won't get a dismissal based on lack of service, because showing up to court is the same as accepting service. But you'll be given more time to answer.

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I would say watch the courts site but if your boss would have a cow, I would get the service out of the way. If they made 2 violations of debt collection laws you can win.

 

H&H is oily and the process servers often make errors in service so prepare an answer and a counterclaim. Look into this ALLEGED account and see if it is out of the Statute of limitations of 4 years, or other statute of limitations date based on contractual choice of law.

 

in your answer, state you request a jury trial. that will cost them more than the judgment. and pm me the name of the firm wanting to defend please.

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They have 180 days to serve you once they file the lawsuit. I would expect them to serve you.

I don't think they will know it was you who purchased the documents. They are public records...even I could buy them if I wanted to. Did you determine you cannot check the docket online? If you can't, you'll need to see if you can either go down maybe once a week or call every few days to check the docket. That will allow you to see if they are claiming you we're served.

In the event you check and it says you were served, go down and look at the proof of service to see what they said. You won't get a dismissal based on lack of service, because showing up to court is the same as accepting service. But you'll be given more time to answer.

getting documents online doesn't count as personal service. that is a all good advice Hotwheels :)

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I can watch the docket online.  It looks like it takes overnight for changes. Yesterday it moved courts from Laguna Hills to Santa Ana.  That was not there yesterday.  So as live as you can get it.  

 

I do like the fact that I have the knowledge without actually being served yet and a copy of all the papers.  Does that mean, I have been served?  You said if I go to court, that is the same as being served.  Wouldn't that apply as well as having the documents from online?  Should I have had someone else purchase them?  Too late now.  But still curious.  

 

What should my first action step be?  What do I reply back?  What form is it?  And where do I find samples?

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How do find out more information regarding this credit card?  I have nothing regarding it.  I don't even have a card or the number.  I would say credit report is a good start.  I actually tried to pull all 3 recently.  I was thinking about trying to file for bankruptcy.  Still want to but this has also brought me to research and some avenues I can try other than settling.  And they are all very close to SOL.  Or just under a year away.  I do not remember when exactly I stopped paying but I know it was for sure when I moved to CA in June 2010.  Would the credit report say last payment?  Doesn't last payment made by me constitute the SOL?  

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Moving from state to state has an effect on your SOL because every state is different. The last payment (in Cali) would begin the SOL (I believe the CCP states its the last activity so if you're already in default, like not even making the minimum payment and made a last payment it would start then. If you made a last payment but then a purchase is later made on the account, that date would begin the SOL) but I don't know what state you came from. So, if you made that last payment in say, Rhode Island with its 10 year SOL, using the statute as a defense isn't going to work. Still, all of this may be moot if the governing law of the card also has a 4 year SOL.

Okay, now to your questions.

No, you have not been served. What I meant was, I've seen where lots of people rush down to the courthouse on a scheduled hearing for the case, motion to dismiss based on service in hand, only to be told by the judge...'you came to court, so you obviously knew about the case, consider yourself served!'. I think this is terrible, but you can't really argue with that logic can you? Now, obtaining the documents and calling it process of service requires certain procedures. Buying them online, or even in person is not an option in the CCP's, so you can take a breath now. :)

Yes, check your credit reports. But, get paper copies. Somewhere you can find the physical addresses to order them. Californians get one free, from each company (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion, and lesser known, Innovis) every year. Otherwise the report costs $8.

Finally, if I were planning on using the nuclear option, I wouldn't even let this case bother me! It would go away and only rear it's head by the lowest form of collector ten years from now. Of course it will be a violation. However you wish to play it. But, if you're willing to do the work, you can avoid the "B" word. I've seen many people think that was their only option only to become the most respected posters who know their stuff and cleaned their credit up with genius maneuvering and sometimes downright devilish posturing. It's really quite impressive.

I would make that decision before getting too far into this process though. Why waste your time fighting for your credit (and against the other side) if you plan on detonating the nuclear device and blowing the debt away?

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Yes, actually the credit has moved 3 states now.  It was likely opened in Illinois.  Then last use and payment was Florida.  Looking up those states now.  GULP!  I know I liked CA 4 years SOL.  Illinois was much much more.  

 

Yes, I would like to avoid the B word and have read some things here to clear some things up.  I got lots of work to do this weekend.  

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