DJP1986

Being sued by Midland Funding in Washington state

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Hello,

 

After some review on this site, it seems that Midland Funding seems to be popular! I am also a victim of a summons document from them, and they are being represented by Suttell & Hammer. My situation is a little bit different, though, and I feel like I may have been screwed out of my window to respond.

 

In the complaint letter, it says "DATED June 20, 2013" and handwriting has slashed out "20" and replaced it with "25th". And, on top of that, it was filed with the Snohomish County District Court Evergreen Division on July 01, 2013. It says I have 20 days after the service or summons to respond, or 60 days after the service of this summons (don't really understand it). Someone just delivered this to my door today (August 17th, 2013).

 

Is this too late?

 

Here is my questionnaire info.

 

1. Who is the named plaintiff in the suit?

Midland Funding LLC

 

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

Suttell & Hammer (although it's not listed at the top, they attached a paper for their "firm" to the back of the summons packet).

 

3. How much are you being sued for?

~$1,200

 

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

Target

 

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

Served with summons paper.

 

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

In person, someone delivered to me.

 

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

As far as I know, it was filed with a district court.

 

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

I have not spoken to them at all.

 

9. What state and county do you live in?

Washington state, Snohomish county.

 

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

Sept 2010

 

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

Looked on creditcards.com and it says 6 years for WA.

 

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).

Summons was delivered, that's it.

 

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?

It says 20 days after the service or summons, or 60 days after service of this summons.

 

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

Nothing at all. In the complaint, the first sentence is "The plaintiff is a legal entity having paid all licenses and fees if required by law and is authorized to bring this action."

 

I do not know what to do, and I have seen a number of different routes taken by other members of the forum. I was hoping someone could chime in with some advice, and how I should respond. I have never spoken to these guys before so I do not even know if they actually own the debt, but I don't know if I can put that in my answer.

 

Any tips on writing answers while I am at it?

 

Thanks guys.

 

Edit: I thought it was worth mentioning there is no court date listed or anything on the summons paper. And, when I call the law firm Suttell and Hammer, they have a disclaimer that says they are a debt collector.

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You have 20 days from today the day you were served. They filed it, then they have to file proof of service, and it goes from that date. What are the allegations against you? Type them out.

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Sorry if this is the wrong bit, but I will post what they have said in the COMPLAINT section.

 

 

 

I. Plaintiff is a legal entity having paid all licenses and fees if required by law and is authorized to bring this action.

 

II. The defendant, me, is believed to be a married individual and as such incurred the below-referenced separate and community obligation. Defendant resides in SNOHOMISH County, Washington. *

 

III. That at all times material, defendant has the obligor of a certain credit account bearing number XXXXXXXXXXXX1234, originally issued by TARGET which has been assigned to plaintiff. The date of last payment is 09/xx/2010.

 

IV. By the use of said credit account, said defendant became indebted on said account for goods, services, and monies with the charge off balance of $1,xxx.xx, and a current unpaid balance $1,xxx.xx which is fully due and owing to plaintiff, together with such greater sum as may be proved at the time of trial, together with interest thereon at the highest legal rate.

 

V. Plaintiff may be entitled to attorney's fees either by contract or statute. Plaintiff requests an award of attorney's fees, as determined by the court.

 

We are debt collectors, this is an attempt to collect a debt and any information obtained will be used for that purpose.

 

WHEREFORE, plaintiff pays for judgment against the defendant for the sum of $1,xxx.xx together with interest thereon at the highest legal rate, and any further sum which may be proven at the time of trial, and a reasonable sum as and for plaintiff's attorney fees; that such judgment shall bear interest at the highest legal rate after entry; and that the plaintiff have and receive such other and further relief as in the premises shall appear just and equitable. DATED June 20 2013 (20 crossed out and replaced with 25).

 

Suttell and Hammer P.S.

 

Funny thing is, I am not married. So I do not know how they obtained that information. I have never received any letters from these people before about this debt, nor have I even spoke to them over the phone. The only thing I can think of is they must have sent it to a previous address, but they have to know my current if they can deliver this summons right?

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Let others chime in but they are not very clear, could be open book, could be breach of contract, could be account stated, maybe need to motion for a more definitive statement, see what others have to say. At any rate, looks as though you can use a general denial, but let someone from WA or oregon chime in. (They have similar laws)

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Funny thing is, I am not married. So I do not know how they obtained that information. I have never received any letters from these people before about this debt, nor have I even spoke to them over the phone. The only thing I can think of is they must have sent it to a previous address, but they have to know my current if they can deliver this summons right?

They do that so if you have a spouse, they can go after her to

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Yeah it seemed to be all over the place. Would it matter at all if they only addressed me as the defendant by first and last name?

If I answered with general denial, would it basically mean I am denying having the debt?

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yes you deny having the debt.  They are midland, did you open an account with midland? no you didn't they don't offer credit.  Their sole purpose for existence is to buy up junk debt for 10 cents or less on the dollar, then sue you for the whole thing.  So you deny the debt, and make them prove you owed the original creditor, and make them prove they have legally purchased the debt, they have all the required paperwork to collect on the debt.  Otherwise, they get squat.  They rely on default judgments, and if everyone were to fight back, they would be out of business.

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That is definitely true, I opened up no account with them whatsoever. Is there a way I can demand that evidence before going to court? I am fresh to this, and definitely overwhelmed :( I have no lawyer, and don't want to wind up somehow racking up court fees and attorney costs that will only add to what I may have to wind up paying back.

 

Sorry for the ignorance!

 

Also, since they numbered the complaint, should I admit to the part about having an account originally issued by Target? Or, just ignore that altogether in my answer?

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Seems like they need a lot! If I was to write the general denial and wind up going to court anyway, and say I lose, is there a chance I coukd still settle with Midland?

I find it hard to believe they would want to sue someone over this amount.

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That's what they do is sue people for any amount

 

IN THE IN DISTRICT COURT OF YOUR COUNTY

Midland Funding

plaintiff

Vs.

your name

defendant

Civil Case #

 

DEFENDANT’S ANSWER TO PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT

 

Now comes the defendant for answer to the complaint and states as follows:

 

I. Plaintiff is a legal entity having paid all licenses and fees if required by law and is authorized to bring this action.

Response: Paragraph 1 of the Complaint states a legal conclusion for which no answer is required. To the extent that an answer is required, Defendant denies the allegations of Paragraph 1 of the Complaint.

 

II. The defendant, me, is believed to be a married individual and as such incurred the below-referenced separate and community obligation. Defendant resides in SNOHOMISH County, Washington.

Response: Paragraph 2 of the Complaint is denied in part and admitted in part.

a.Defendant denies he is married.

b.Defendant admits he resides in Snohomish County.

 

III. That at all times material, defendant has the obligor of a certain credit account bearing number XXXXXXXXXXXX1234, originally issued by TARGET NATIONAL BANK which has been assigned to plaintiff. The date of last payment is 09/14/2010.

Response: Defendant is without knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of the allegations in Paragraph 3 of the Complaint, and therefore denies the same.

 

IV. By the use of said credit account, said defendant became indebted on said account for goods, services, and monies with the charge off balance of $1198.51, and a current unpaid balance $1198.51 which is fully due and owing to plaintiff, together with such greater sum as may be proved at the time of trial, together with interest thereon at the highest legal rate.

Response: Defendant is without knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of the allegations in Paragraph 4 of the Complaint, and therefore denies the same.

 

V. Plaintiff may be entitled to attorney's fees either by contract or statute. Plaintiff requests an award of attorney's fees, as determined by the court.

Response: Defendant is without knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of the allegations in Paragraph 5 of the Complaint, and therefore denies the same.

 

As to all remaining allegations of fact in the numbered or unnumbered parts of of the complaint not specifically admitted, Defendant denies all such allegations. As to all remaining allegations which call for a legal conclusion, Defendant lacks sufficient knowledge or expertise to respond to such legal conclusions and, therefore, denies them.

 

AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES
By and for his Affirmative Defenses, Defendant states:

 

First Affirmative Defense
1. Plaintiffs’ Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted against defendant.

 

Second Affirmative Defense
2.Plaintiff is not the legal holder of the alleged debt and therefore is not the real party in interest; this action should be dismissed for lack of standing.

Third Affirmative Defense

3.Plaintiff’s complaint is not properly verified and is not grounded in fact because it does not exhibit the alleged contract the debt is based upon, a valid statement of account, nor any valid assignment that gives Plaintiff legal title to the claim.

 

 

Forth Affirmative Defense
4.Plaintiff in filing this Complaint has not produced a copy of the executed agreement it seeks to enforce.

 

Fifth Affirmative Defense
5.Defendant reserves the right to plead additional defenses or cross-claims or counter claims that may be identified during the Defendant's investigation and/or course of discovery.

respectfully submitted,

 

WHEREFORE, Defendant prays that this Court find judgment for Defendant,
deny Plaintiffs’ request for the relief of $1198.51, deny Plaintiffs’ request for interest, deny Plaintiffs’ request for costs, deny Plaintiffs’ request for attorney’s fees and deny Plaintiffs’ request for any relief. Defendant further prays that this Court hold that Defendant is the prevailing party, and dismiss Defendant with prejudice.


CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

On August 17, 2013, I caused the foregoing instrument to be served by mailing a copy to all counsel of record in this case as indicated below:Attorneys name and address here
By Certified U.S. Mail, Return Receipt Requested By U.S. Mail.

My Name here

my address

my phone

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No way to keep it out of court, you are already in it.  Racecar was so kind enough to type out your answer for you, all done!  I would put that answer on pleading paper, make it look like the one they sent you with the headers etc. to look the same.  Then sign it, and send the plaintiff's attorney a copy Certified mail return receipt requested.  Take another copy to the court and file it, and ask them for a verification form so you can verify it with them that you sent it to the plaintiff.  Then start reading the rules of your court, you will want to propound them with some discovery.

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Wow, thank you so much racecar! I really appreciate it :) Should I include their original claim for each paragraph? Or just put in my response?

 

shellieh98, so it's pretty much guaranteed that I will have to go to court? Will my letter basically lead them into obtaining all the documentation they think they would need to win this case? The law firm representing them is located here in WA, so do you think they will already be aware of the rules and what is needed to win? After I send this letter, what is the norm to expect from these guys--an official date to appear in court? Also, how deep into all of this could I try to negotiate a settlement to only have to pay a fraction of the debt (if I have to pay anything at all)?

 

This is certainly frustrating and overwhelming :(

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Thanks for the rule of court link debtzapper, I appreciate it! Would I just want to read up and focus on the rules for the local court I would be going to? I know it's good to know it all, but my ability to focus on this will be rough for a bit :(

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You are currently in the lawsuit. Weather or not it goes to trial depends on what happens. Short story of typical cases

1. Summons served to you

2. You answer summons

3. You and plaintiff will propound discovery

4. You will go to a pre trial hearing where judge says ok, you didn't settle it, case is set for trial

5. If your state has mandatory arbitration in the court, you will have to go to that, and you will lose, but appeal and get a real trial

6. Plaintiff will probably file a motion for summary judgement, and you will oppose and win it.

7. Plaintiff will either dismiss, but not before offering a settlement, or you will go to trial.

8. You will file a motion in limine disputing their so called evidence that will be heard during your trial.

Read some if the winner threads especially the long ones that can take you through the process. Read the rules of your court, especially now the rules of discovery so you can get going on those.

Ask questions, don't file or send anything until you post it here first and get opinions.

Keep all your info in this thread so anyone coming to help wont have to jump around looking for info pertaining to your case.

The further into litigation you go, the lower their settlement offers will be. But you could stand a very good chance of winning if their evidence doesn't stack up.

I don't know if Washington has mandatory arbitration, you need to find that out, it will be in your rules.

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Oh and you are not sending them a letter, you are filing a response pleading. They are lawyers, you are not, so they should know the rules, but they are banking that you do not, so you need to study. They will not follow the rules, so if you learn them, you can call them on when they are not following them.

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Thank you tons for your help and continued support, @shellieh98, I really appreciate it! I hope the @Mention doesn't give you some kind of warning on the board to encourage you to come here or anything :(

 

I was talking to a buddy who worked in a law firm today about my situation at work, and he had mentioned for this state, since the amount is less than $5,000, it would automatically go to small claims court which would not allow any lawyers or attorneys. So, would that null any attorney fees they could actually try and nail me for?

 

He also recommended doing the denial option, and additionally, he recommended I file a request for disclosure of what they have against me. Would this be considered the discovery? He said it would require them to prove why they are coming after me and asking me for this money. I assumed they were similar, but he mentioned the court might charge $20 for this particular request.

 

And, I read that you have 40 days to file for discovery. Does that 40 days start when I send in my denial, or would it start when they respond to my denial?

 

As far as mandatory arbitration, I looked into it and it seems to vary based on the case. The base rule is:

 

 

RULE 1.2

MATTERS SUBJECT TO ARBITRATION

A civil action, other than an appeal from a court of limited jurisdiction, is subject to arbitration under these rules if the action is at issue in a superior court in a county which has authorized mandatory arbitration under RCW 7.06, if (1) the action is subject to mandatory arbitration as provided in RCW 7.06, (2) all parties, for purposes of arbitration only, waive claims in excess of the amount authorized by RCW 7.06, exclusive of attorney fees, interest and costs, or (3) the parties have stipulated to arbitration pursuant to rule 8.1.

 

 

When I look up RCW 7.06 as referenced in that rule, this is what it says:

 

 

RCW 7.06.020 Actions subject to mandatory arbitration — Court may authorize mandatory arbitration of maintenance and child support.

 

(1) All civil actions, except for appeals from municipal or district courts, which are at issue in the superior court in counties which have authorized arbitration, where the sole relief sought is a money judgment, and where no party asserts a claim in excess of fifteen thousand dollars, or if approved by the superior court of a county by two-thirds or greater vote of the judges thereof, up to fifty thousand dollars, exclusive of interest and costs, are subject to mandatory arbitration.

     (2) If approved by majority vote of the superior court judges of a county which has authorized arbitration, all civil actions which are at issue in the superior court in which the sole relief sought is the establishment, termination or modification of maintenance or child support payments are subject to mandatory arbitration. The arbitrability of any such action shall not be affected by the amount or number of payments involved.

 

 

Since it would not go into a superior court, but is a case where money is sought, I was confused on whether or not it could require mandatory arbitration. It sounds like it would, but since it is not in a superior court, I was confused. Is it an absolute guarantee I would lose in mandatory arbitration?

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We don't lie we deny or don't remember or cant recall or when I closed my account it was in good standing.

 

Your over thinking and a little scared.

 

Thousands of people come here and thousands leave here.

 

You can not go to jail for owing money, Midland Funding is a debt buyer, you may owe someone but you don't owe midland funding anything.

 

When you pay a junk debt buyer you might as well light your money on fire because they will give you a great offer to settle and you settle with them. Then they sell the rest of the debt off and the whole thing starts over again.

 

So I suggest you start to study the posts on this board, read your states rules of civil procedure and the rules of your court and learn how to defend this thing.

 

FYI we had an 80 year old lady win her case in Florida.

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I know I am definitely over thinking and scared :(

 

I wasn't concerned about going to jail or anything, my biggest worry is the worst case scenario coming true. Them winning the balance and all legal fees, and then wage garnishments. In WA, they can garnish up to 25% of my wages, which would equal out to roughly $400-$410. Do they determine garnishments based on the amount they determine is to be owed?

 

I have definitely been studying some posts on here, and checking out some laws. I was quite pleased when I discovered no attorneys would be allowed in small claims court, but again I don't really know if this is where that would go. From what I have seen on here, Midland has a rep of not showing up to hearings.

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If its small claims or real court the judge might ask you if this is your debt.

Work on your response to such a question.

when I closed my account it was in good standing I owe midland nothing.

Never admit to the debt being yours.

How does midland funding know it is or is not your debt these debts are sold as is with no warranty.

 

"Midland has a rep of not showing up to hearings."

Midland is the first one to the court house in the morning getting ready to collect all the default judgments.

Just show up for court that half the battle.

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Should I say the account was closed in good standing if it wasn't though? It was a written off balance. That's one thing I was worried about, too, is that I know I owe the debt in general (to Target, though) but I should not have to give these crooks anything.

 

My initial thought on that question would be,

 

"I have never opened any form of account with Midland Funding and therefore do not have any established debt with them."

 

Is that a premature answer? I know I will learn as time moves, and I may come up with something better, but the skin and bones of it is this is true.

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You don't have to prove anything, they have to prove their case. So don't say anything, you just say after a reasonable search, defendant is unable to assert the truth in the matter, therefore denies, make them prove it. They will try, and the people here will help you with their so called evidence. Most of it is procedure.

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