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Return of the Presumed Dead Lawsuit


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Howdy folks,

 

I had posted in April of 2012 about being served.

http://www.creditinfocenter.com/community/topic/313471-lawsuit-being-threatened-by-suttell-hammer-not-sure-i-understand/

 

I was unable to reset my forgotten password and update the situation all these months later, but I've finally gotten a response from the JDB.

Granted, they mentioned they sent "Request for Production and Interrogatories" back in May of 2012 and did not hear back from me. Unless they were inadvertently pitched upon receipt, I never actually received them, but I suppose that's neither here nor there.

They are now (again) asking for responses to their responses. Failing receipt of those, they are requesting a "CR 36(i) Conference" to discuss a lack of discovery.  

 

Also in the package are copies of several credit card statements. 

 

I presume I should answer the questions as presented, but even though I am finally aware of the account for which they're purportedly considering suing me, I have no documentation to share. 

 

My last memory of the account was paying down most, if not all, of the balance in cash at a branch of the bank who owned the account. The reason I remember this was that I got on the phone with the company to tell them I'd paid cash at the local branch so that I could hopefully get an expedited freeing of the credit as we were travelling home for the holidays and would need the credit to rent a car and what not. What I was told on the phone, after a long hold, was that the bank had decided to close the account altogether.

So...probably I didn't think anything of disposing of any and all paperwork the next time we moved, right? Just chucked everything, figuring it was closed and paid-off.

Oddly enough, one of the statements sent in the packet was from that very month, showing payments in excess of the balance and then a "Payment Adjustment" for several hundred dollars. The only statment after that comes is seven months after that and shows a continued building of overlimit fees and late fees...on a closed account.

Everything is a bit bewildering, honestly. I'm not sure I owe anybody anything, much less some lawyers who bought an account I'm fairly certain was paid-off in entirety. No clue what a "payment adjustment" might denote in this case. 

But, I have NOTHING to prove my case!

Apologies for not keeping up back in early 2012. I'd meant to, but as time passed and nothing was heard, I somewhat forgot all about it.

and now I come grovelling for further assistance and advice. Do I lawyer up? I can't believe I can be sued with just a handful of credit card statements.

 

Thanks in advance, 

(formerly) Shakespeare's Neighbor

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  • 3 weeks later...

Despite the lack of response, I remain hopeful of some assistance.

 

I allowed the deadline for a response pass, largely due to inertia. They had said they'd call a few days after deadline to discuss, but my phone never rang. Not sure what I'd have said to them even if they had called, but they didn't. 

 

Wasn't sure what to think, but I received a second package with the same documents and a photocopy of the prior letter. The accompanying letter was essentially the same as the prior letter with new dates and times filled in, as well as the name of a different attorney, for whatever that is worth.

 

Now, I'm thinking to respond to these "Interrogatories" and "Request for Production of Documents." Hoping for a bit of guidance from someone knowledgeable in such matters as to how they work in Washington state. Even though they did not follow through on their threat of a "...result in an order to show cause, requiring you to appear before a judge..."

Interrogatories:

1. "State the name of any and all banks or credit unions where Defendant banked, included but not limited to all banks, credit unions or other financial institutions where defendant had a savings account, checking account, received a car loan, received a credit card form, received a line of credit from, received a home equity loan, received any other type of loan, recived a money order from, received a cashier's check from, or had any other financial relationship with for the last six years."

 

2. State every entity where Defendant worked, or was otherwise employed, during the previous six years"

 

3. State the name of all those participating and responding to these Interrogatories.

 

4. State the defendant's social security number.

 

5. State the date of birth of Defendant.

 

6. State all addresses Defendant has resided at or received mail at during the previous six years.

 

7. If Defendant claims to have disputed the debt, please explain Defendant's dispute and provide all facts that support Defendant's position that there is a valid dispute of the stated account.

 

8. State the amount of the subject account that Defendant admits is due and owing.

 

9. State the date that the defendant made his/her last payment on the subject account. 

 

10. State teh amount that the defendant paid in his/her last payment.

 

11. State the date that the defendant defaulted on the subject account.

 

12. State the date that the defendant made the last charge on the subject account.

 

13. If the defendant contends that there is no amount that is due and owing, please provide all specific facts that support the position that there is no amount that is due and owing on the subject account.

 

14. State the date of the last payment made on the account to any entity.

 

15. State all persons who used the account that is the subject of this lawsuit; state the name of all persons who has the authority to use the account; state the name of any person who used the account without authority.

 

16. State the balance that Defendant believes is due on the account that is the subject of this litigation and explain how such balance was calculated.

 

17. If Defendant has refused to admit that (plaintiff) is currently the owner of the account, state the facts on which defendant bases that refusal to admit.

 

18. If Defendant refuses to admit that he/she is indebted to Plaintiff, state the facts on which Defendant bases that refusal to admit.

 

19.  If Defendant refuses to admit being indebuted on the subject account to any entity, state the facts on which Defendant refuses to admit.

 

20.  If defendant is disputing only a portion of the account, please identify which portion of the subject account is disputed and which portion of the subject account is not disputed.

 

Request for Production:

 

1. Produce the original contract or terms and conditions on the account number (a series of X's ending with four digits)

 

2. Produce all subsequent terms and conditions Defendant received on account number...

 

3. Produce all billing statements Defendant received from the original creditor on account number...

 

4. Produce all documents that support Defendant's denials of the allegations in the Complaint, as stated in Defendant's Answer.

 

5. Produce all documents that support any affirmative defense Defendant are asserts in the answer.

 

6. Produce all correspondence Defendant sent to Plaintiff on the subject account.

 

7. Produce all correspondence sent to any third party on the subject account.

 

8. Produce all correspondence received by Defendant from Plaintiff on the subject account.

 

9. Produce all correspondence received by Defendant from any third party on the subject account.

 

10. Produce copies of the front and back of all canceled checks and money orders sent to Plaintiff in the last six years on the subject account.
 

11. Produce all of Defendant's bank records for the last six years.

Okay, that's all the questions.

 

The production is a bit tricky, because I don't have a single piece of paper from the original creditor nor from the plaintiff. Somewhere between moving a few times and just general recycling of "junk" mail, none of it has survived.

Bank records...well, we changed banks a few years ago, long after this account was deemed "closed" by the bank. Do I have to give them the records from my current bank? It's all paperless, so I assume I could print them out, but...should/must I? Would it be expected that I'd go to my former bank and request they dig up whatever copies they have of my old account with them for me to send?

The Interrogatories, aside from being riddled with poor grammar, seems a bit repetitive and along the lines of "all we have is the handful of statements we sent you and would like you to tell us how much money you owe us." As I said prior, I paid off the account at some point so I could use the card for a car rental. when I called the bank to ask they mark the account as paid, because I paid cash at a branch, they put me on hold a while and, when they came back, told me they were closing the account. This appears to have happened in December of 2008 (thanks to it showing on one of their statements). A few days later, a "payment adjustment" shows on the statement for a negative of the same amount that had been paid.The payment should have been the last thing ever to happen on that account, but I'm guessing that the "adjustment" was followed by a series of late fees and over-limit fees, which is where they get whatever number they hope to get in court.

They've provided me with no proof of anything beyond the several statements.

Again, I plead for advice. 

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Looks like you received some good suggestions back in 2012 (you might want to avoid references/advice by ColtFan). 

 

I'm certainly not a lawyer, but it looks to me like they're asking you for proof you owe tthem money. That's theirs to prove...not yours.

 

You can find everything you need to know by reading other threads on the board here...or, you can see if there is a www.naca.org lawyer in your area that will help.

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Looks like you received some good suggestions back in 2012 (you might want to avoid references/advice by ColtFan). 

 

I'm certainly not a lawyer, but it looks to me like they're asking you for proof you owe tthem money. That's theirs to prove...not yours.

 

You can find everything you need to know by reading other threads on the board here...or, you can see if there is a www.naca.org lawyer in your area that will help.

 

Should I delete the questions? 

I honestly thought the help I got back in 2012 helped scare the lawyers away entirely. Had no idea they'd wait 1.5 years to semi-respond to my response!

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@Shakespeare's Cousin

 

If there has been no activity on the case since May of 2012, check your rules about a motion to dismiss based upon inactivity (failure to prosecute).  In some states, if a case that lies dormant for a certain period of time, it will go into an inactive status, and the court will send a notice.  If nothing is done, the case can be dismissed.

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@Shakespeare's Cousin

 

If there has been no activity on the case since May of 2012, check your rules about a motion to dismiss based upon inactivity (failure to prosecute).  In some states, if a case that lies dormant for a certain period of time, it will go into an inactive status, and the court will send a notice.  If nothing is done, the case can be dismissed.

 

I may not have mentioned they claimed in the letter sent that they DID send interrogatories and request for production to me...back in 2012. 

I am confident I never got it, whether they sent it or no. Could they have forgotten and sent that letter as a preemptive try at keeping me from thinking of that? Further, does sending of those constitute action? Particularly if the service was "pocket service," and never taken further than that up to this date?

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@Shakespeare's Cousin

 

Check your rules.  It's now December, 2013.  They claim they sent the requests in May, 2012.  If your court rules specify a time limit for inactivity, that letter might help you.

 

In some states, after a case is dormant for a year, the court sends a notice of inactivity.  The parties have a certain amount of time to act.  No action...the case can be dismissed for failure to prosecute.

 

If your court has a time limitation (say...a year), that letter could prove that nothing has been done with this case in over that time.

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@BV80 the WA rules say 12 months.

 

"In all civil cases in which no action of

record has occurred during the previous 12 months, the clerk of the
superior court shall notify the attorneys of record by mail
that the court will dismiss the case for want of prosecution
unless, within 30 days following the mailing of such notice...."

 

Leads me to believe the clerk would/have done something, but, since the motion was never actually filed, it seems to be the clock would never have started in the first place.

I'm going to have to reread some of the rules. This forum had me all charged up for defending myself, but then the whole thing blew away for a while. I think I understand a lot more now and am a LOT less intimidated, but I have to hope that's not false bravado!

Thanks!

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@Shakespeare's Cousin

 

What do you mean by "since the motion was never actually filed"?  What motion?  What did I miss?

 

In the original thread, I had asked about this "pocket service," where I got served without the suit ever being filed. You don't respond within the time parameters and THEN they file and get you on a default judgment.

 

That's my understanding of it. Hence, there is no actual court record as of yet. Just the original service and now the requests for production and interrogatories.

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@Shakespeare's Cousin

 

Darn.  That's "pocket docket". 

 

Again, check your rules, then contact an attorney to ask about inactivity or dormancy.   Some attorneys are nice enough to answer a question or 2 over the phone.

 

In my state, I can contact the bar association's lawyer referral service and ask for a consumer attorney in my area.  Because I got the name of that attorney from that service, the attorney will provide a consultation at a reduced rate.

 

If no one here knows for sure whether or not the case has been inactive for too long, a consultation with an attorney might be well worth the cost of the consultation. 

 

I found the following the in the WA Superior Court Rules:

( Involuntary Dismissal; Effect. For failure of the plaintiff toprosecute or to comply with these rules or any order of the court, adefendant may move for dismissal of an action or of any claim against him or her.    (1) Want of Prosecution on Motion of Party. Any civil action shall bedismissed, without prejudice, for want of prosecution whenever theplaintiff, counterclaimant, cross claimant, or third party plaintiffneglects to note the action for trial or hearing within 1 year after anyissue of law or fact has been joined, unless the failure to bring the sameon for trial or hearing was caused by the party who makes the motion todismiss. Such motion to dismiss shall come on for hearing only after 10days' notice to the adverse party. If the case is noted for trial beforethe hearing on the motion, the action shall not be dismissed.    (2) Dismissal on Clerk's Motion.    (A) Notice. In all civil cases in which no action ofrecord has occurred during the previous 12 months, the clerk of thesuperior court shall notify the attorneys of record by mailthat the court will dismiss the case for want of prosecutionunless, within 30 days following the mailing of such notice,a party takes action of record or files a status report withthe court indicating the reason for inactivity andprojecting future activity and a case completion date.  Ifthe court does not receive such a status report, it shall,on motion of the clerk, dismiss  the case without prejudiceand without cost to any party.
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