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I've been sued by Unifund (attorney is Kenosian & Mielefor a credit card debt with the SOL set to expire in a couple of months. Have not been served but have been checking the Los Angeles County Superior Court web site. 

 

Another creditor from the same general time period sued, never served me, claimed they did, and we settled.

 

After that experience, I began to go to the nearby branch court once a month or so to look up my name, and whenever I found a new lawsuit I would take a look at the file. Eventually another creditor tried to do the same thing. The clerk had laid the loose request for default on top of the summons and complaint already in the binder. I think the default clerk did the defaults only one day a week, or something. I answered the complaint before the default was actually issued and they eventually dismissed without prejudice before trial.

 

After a recent court consolidation, all the civil cases of this type were moved a lot farther away, so I haven't been going in to check the actual files, so now I'm kind of paranoid that this law firm might do the same thing.

 

How worried should I be about this? I live alone and am gone quite a bit, so personal service won't be easy for them, but it's easy to leave it on the porch when I'm gone and pretend I was there. I work from home so there's no job that would verify my presence or anything like that. When I'm gone, I'm out of town, so I would have travel receipts in the event I filed to quash service, which is pretty much all I would know to do after the fact. I don't want to answer without being served, since a couple of other creditors sued, never served, and later dismissed.

 

In CA, if they file a POS and request for default, is there a short window during which an answer will still be accepted, or did I just get really lucky with that second suit? By any chance does anyone know how long it takes before they update their web site?

 

Lastly, if this does happen, how long after a default judgment can they begin collection proceedings like bank account liens and such? 

 

I also received a notice in the mail from a law firm that claims to help with stuff like this and they had the case number, which was a first for me. Not that this matters, it was just surprising.

 

Sorry for the length, thanks in advance for any insight.

 

Almost forgot, one more issue. It's my understanding that if a creditor sues and then dismisses, the statute of limitations is unaffected. That is, if the date passes after the dismissal and they have not refiled or otherwise reactivated the suit, I would have an SOL defense.

 

Thanks!

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You can log into the ca courts and check on line of any suits filed, then you can watch them for service.

Yes if they dismiss, the sol will carry on as if nothing touched it.

"Lastly, if this does happen, how long after a default judgment can they begin collection proceedings"

Anytime they feel like it.

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That's what I've been doing, but since there is a delay between when a document is filed and when it's listed on the website (there is no online viewing of the actual docs), I'm worried they will claim they served me and file a proof of service and request for default and I will not know until it's too late.

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If you check once a week you will be fine. If they say you were served, you would have 30 days to answer, it would be on the site when the clerk records it at the time of filing, at the most a day or 2 after.

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Thank you!

 

I guess what I'm worried about is what happened before, which is that I was never served, but a proof of service and a request for default was filed at the same time and the default judgment was granted, all before I knew about it.

 

I'll keep watching.

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The problem is that JDBs rarely file the proof of service of summons and complaint until they try to take your default.

 

The practice varies from County to county but my experience is similar to yours.  A request is filed and the clerk does not enter it right away.  Sometimes, there is a considerable lag between filing and entry.  And, as long as it has not been entered, you can file an answer and the default will be rejected.

 

One thing you could do is look on line at your court for debt collection cases.  Since a huge percentage are default case, a little informal survey of the time between filing and entry might give you some comfort.

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The problem is that JDBs rarely file the proof of service of summons and complaint until they try to take your default.

 

The practice varies from County to county but my experience is similar to yours.  A request is filed and the clerk does not enter it right away.  Sometimes, there is a considerable lag between filing and entry.  And, as long as it has not been entered, you can file an answer and the default will be rejected.

 

One thing you could do is look on line at your court for debt collection cases.  Since a huge percentage are default case, a little informal survey of the time between filing and entry might give you some comfort.

Yes, exactly. I found the second one only because I was regularly checking the files in person at the courthouse. I will check online to see if I can figure out the lag time, thanks.

 

Do you, or anyone else, know if this particular attorney is known for sewer service? I would think it's a low percentage overall, but given my past experience, I'm a little paranoid. Or is the practice generally more attributable to the process server? Or even the JDB? 

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I have a very hard time believing that an attorney would affirmatively instruct a process server to serve by way of sewer.  But I do think that arrangements are made to serve for a fee so small that the result is inevitable.

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And I've always suggested if you are sewer served in CA - file a complaint with the District Attorney (as it's considered fraud) and possibly sue the process server as well - they have a $2k surety bond you can go after. 

 

And by merely serving the surety company with a copy of the suit, means that the company can cancel the bond - putting the sewer server out of work. 

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