Gehen

Sued by LVNV Funding/Stenger and Stenger

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2 hours ago, Clydesmom said:

Settlement discussions are not admissible in court so you have nothing to lose.  MANY litigants in all kinds of cases simply settle because it is easier and less expensive and has no bearing on the merit of the claim.  When a Defendant settles such as a business after a frivolous case has been filed against them it doesn't mean they are admitting to what htey were sued for.  It is called "go away" money.  It is cheaper to throw some money at the Plaintiff and get them to go away than to fight the case even though they should.

It isn't a tool to hurt you personally.  The reality is unless you have a legal defense to not paying then the law is clear and ties the Judge's hands.  While there are tons of sad circumstances that occur even without covidiocy the simple fact is if you didn't pay it doesn't matter how desperate your situation is the law is based on fact not emotion.

Offer $600.  If they counter with something unreasonable decline and hang up and try again in a day or two.  Hold firm that this is what you can afford and if this can't be settled then there are other options available to consumers and hang up.  If they agree to 40% I would take it but you decide.

NO.  If you settle you make sure the terms are that the lump sum you pay is the FULL and final settlement and any remaining amount is in dispute and not subject to collection.

ANYTHING is possible.  However, in these times my guess is that some money is better than no money.  

Okay, thanks for all the help, I think I've gotten what I needed. One last question so I'm absolutely sure, I should call Stenger to make the settlement offer right?

Or would I call LVNV?

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12 minutes ago, Gehen said:

Okay, thanks for all the help, I think I've gotten what I needed. One last question so I'm absolutely sure, I should call Stenger to make the settlement offer right?

Or would I call LVNV?

You have to call the law firm since LVNV is represented by counsel now.

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13 hours ago, Clydesmom said:

Settlement discussions are not admissible in court so you have nothing to lose.  MANY litigants in all kinds of cases simply settle because it is easier and less expensive and has no bearing on the merit of the claim.  When a Defendant settles such as a business after a frivolous case has been filed against them it doesn't mean they are admitting to what htey were sued for.  It is called "go away" money.  It is cheaper to throw some money at the Plaintiff and get them to go away than to fight the case even though they should.

It isn't a tool to hurt you personally.  The reality is unless you have a legal defense to not paying then the law is clear and ties the Judge's hands.  While there are tons of sad circumstances that occur even without covidiocy the simple fact is if you didn't pay it doesn't matter how desperate your situation is the law is based on fact not emotion.

Offer $600.  If they counter with something unreasonable decline and hang up and try again in a day or two.  Hold firm that this is what you can afford and if this can't be settled then there are other options available to consumers and hang up.  If they agree to 40% I would take it but you decide.

NO.  If you settle you make sure the terms are that the lump sum you pay is the FULL and final settlement and any remaining amount is in dispute and not subject to collection.

ANYTHING is possible.  However, in these times my guess is that some money is better than no money.  

Okay, this has all been extremely helpful so far, thanks for answering my questions. I do have a few more.

But first off my game plan seems pretty good now. From now til March (my trial is set for the 16th) I'll make the settlement offer of $600 and see where that goes. If it doesn't I can try for one higher but I'm not going to strain myself into a payment I can't make. I'll make that offer every few days or so (or is "bugging" them not a good idea?). I'll also keep a record of every time I made the offer (reason for that later).

If for ALL those offers they still won't budge, I guess I'd see what's up on the same day of the court trial where once again I'd have the opportunity for settlement and see where that goes. If for some reason they STILL want the judgment, I at least will get some of my things on record. Do you have a limit for what you can say to the judge in terms of time? Because I'm definitely prepping a written statement if it gets to that, and I'd like to make use of my time. It's not going to help me "win" but if they're going to be a headache, so will I. In that statement I'd at least want it on record why the debt occurred (medical reasons) and note the numerous offers and times I tired to reach an amiable resolution. again, it won't win me sympathy, but that's for me, not them.

Obviously if the judge and lawyer are two turtles in a pond and it goes their way, I'll immediately go for trial de novo as you suggested. Here's a question on that, does the trial happen at the Magistrate court again, or a different one?

If a different one, I suppose we play the same song and dance and if I have to go before another judge, I'd be happy to list out how I was completely willing to make good on a settlement, etc.

By this time I'd probably have some good amount saved to protect myself anyway. I'm also lucky enough to have friends who are willing to help me.

One final thing that may or may not work in my favor, I'm a freelancer (and yes I'm aware how bad garnishment laws are for that since they can take the full amount of your earnings). However, my income isn't great a lot of the time and it's possible I can operate as judgment proof. That seems like it would buy me time, since judgment proof is a day-by-day thing (or so I've read).

Thanks again for all the direct answers. Oh, and yes, I 100 percent would make sure any settlement is in writing along the lines of "this case should be dismissed, the amount stricken from my credit report, etc."

I genuinely don't think they'd go to all that trouble. But who knows, Statesboro is a pretty bass ackwards place. 

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On 2/14/2021 at 12:39 PM, Clydesmom said:

NOT in GA Magistrate Court.  It is VERY VERY different than Texas.  Magistrate Court does not allow discovery or motions to be filed in advance.  It is trial by ambush and all your advice will do is fast track the OP to a summary judgment.  

Who said anything about discovery or filing motions? Getting ahead of ourselves aren't we, as usual? Perhaps, and this may just be me, you should stop and read what you actually read, before you fire up your fingers to type any answer? Don't ad-lib, don't paraphrase, read what is there to be read and then answer or quote. Nobody mentioned a damn thing about filing anything in advance. If he has any claims regarding FDCPA or any other claim he could counter with, he is very well fine and free to reach out to the Plaintiffs attorney and make that known.

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On 2/15/2021 at 3:27 PM, Clydesmom said:

Settlement discussions are not admissible in court so you have nothing to lose.  MANY litigants in all kinds of cases simply settle because it is easier and less expensive and has no bearing on the merit of the claim.

So you are telling this person here for advice to not get sank in court to offer to settle. I assume he or she is smart enough not to say things like "I haven't paid the payments because", or "I know the account is mine but I don't have the money". Making admissions of the debt, contacting the debt collector, etc all can restart the entire clock in some states on the collection process itself. I don't know about anyone else here but I wouldn't leave something I said or wrote up to someone else to be deemed admissions.

 

 

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3 hours ago, alwayswinning36 said:

Nobody mentioned a damn thing about filing anything in advance. If he has any claims regarding FDCPA or any other claim he could counter with, he is very well fine and free to reach out to the Plaintiffs attorney and make that known.

BAD idea.  You know NOTHING about the law firms or courts in GA and really should not be advising about counter claims or threatening Plaintiff's counsel.  

I have won TWO cases in GA Magistrate Court and lived in that state for 17 years.

3 hours ago, alwayswinning36 said:

Who said anything about discovery or filing motions?

YOU did.  

3 hours ago, alwayswinning36 said:

So you are telling this person here for advice to not get sank in court to offer to settle.

Not even close to what I said.  Talk about reading comprehension problems.  SIGH.  Go back and READ all the OP's statements where they said they felt their best option was to settle.  THAT is why the discussion turned in that direction.  

TO the OP:  follow this poster's advice at your own risk. They have never been in Magistrate Court and probably can't even find GA on a map.  I am not even going to address all the problems with it because it isn't worth the time.

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On 2/16/2021 at 3:32 AM, Gehen said:

Do you have a limit for what you can say to the judge in terms of time? Because I'm definitely prepping a written statement if it gets to that, and I'd like to make use of my time. It's not going to help me "win" but if they're going to be a headache, so will I. In that statement I'd at least want it on record why the debt occurred (medical reasons) and note the numerous offers and times I tired to reach an amiable resolution. again, it won't win me sympathy, but that's for me, not them.

Unfortunately due to covidiocy the chances you can hang out in court and observe are slim to none.  That used to be the best way to see how the court handles similar cases.  Given this situation I would rehearse planned arguments having a good friend or family member play the Devil's Advocate including tough questions to be prepared for most possible scenarios.  That should help with the nerves that comes with a court situation.

On 2/16/2021 at 3:32 AM, Gehen said:

Here's a question on that, does the trial happen at the Magistrate court again, or a different one?

It moves up to State Court and is done completely over.  Magistrate Court is out of the picture on an appeal to trial de novo.

On 2/16/2021 at 3:32 AM, Gehen said:

If a different one, I suppose we play the same song and dance and if I have to go before another judge, I'd be happy to list out how I was completely willing to make good on a settlement, etc.

Settlement talks are not admissible from both sides.  They can't use it to prove you owe the debt and you can't use it as a defense.

On 2/16/2021 at 3:32 AM, Gehen said:

One final thing that may or may not work in my favor, I'm a freelancer (and yes I'm aware how bad garnishment laws are for that since they can take the full amount of your earnings). However, my income isn't great a lot of the time and it's possible I can operate as judgment proof. That seems like it would buy me time, since judgment proof is a day-by-day thing (or so I've read).

Judgment proof is not accurate because regardless of what you earn they can get a judgment.  What you want to be is collection proof.  There are a myriad of ways to accomplish that.  Living "unbanked" is one so they cannot levy account(s).  Being a free lance worker who does not get a regular pay check from an identifiable employer is another.  You can google "collection proof" and find all kinds of help for that if it comes to that.

 

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1 hour ago, Clydesmom said:

Unfortunately due to covidiocy the chances you can hang out in court and observe are slim to none.  That used to be the best way to see how the court handles similar cases.  Given this situation I would rehearse planned arguments having a good friend or family member play the Devil's Advocate including tough questions to be prepared for most possible scenarios.  That should help with the nerves that comes with a court situation.

It moves up to State Court and is done completely over.  Magistrate Court is out of the picture on an appeal to trial de novo.

Settlement talks are not admissible from both sides.  They can't use it to prove you owe the debt and you can't use it as a defense.

Judgment proof is not accurate because regardless of what you earn they can get a judgment.  What you want to be is collection proof.  There are a myriad of ways to accomplish that.  Living "unbanked" is one so they cannot levy account(s).  Being a free lance worker who does not get a regular pay check from an identifiable employer is another.  You can google "collection proof" and find all kinds of help for that if it comes to that.

 

Okay, so if I wrote a written statement to read off of that isn't allowed?

As far as settlement talks it wouldn't be me trying to get a settlement during the trial, just me saying that I was making attempts to make good on the debt before it went to trial. Again, not for them, that's just for me, to have on record, whether that's worth anything or not. Though if I can't I suppose that's that, or do I really have anything to lose there? Not like I'd win in that situation anyway.

I'll keep any eye on collection proof stuff. That assumes it goes to state court as you mentioned.

Also how do you mean "observe in court?" Are me and the plaintiff in the same room talking to the judge? Totally unfamiliar with that in-house process.

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8 hours ago, Gehen said:

Okay, so if I wrote a written statement to read off of that isn't allowed?

It would be allowed but only to a certain point.  If it gets off point, rambles or takes too much time the Judge will cut you off.

8 hours ago, Gehen said:

As far as settlement talks it wouldn't be me trying to get a settlement during the trial, just me saying that I was making attempts to make good on the debt before it went to trial.

Again, not for them, that's just for me, to have on record, whether that's worth anything or not. 

That is not something I would introduce at trial but that is me.  If it makes you feel better you can do that.

8 hours ago, Gehen said:

Though if I can't I suppose that's that, or do I really have anything to lose there? Not like I'd win in that situation anyway.

The single most important thing is to LISTEN to what the Judge and the Plaintiff are saying.  There are situations where the Judge doesn't like the attorney or the creditor and helps the consumer out.  You do NOT want to give away a win by interrupting with statements that tie the Judges hands into deciding for the other side.  The problem is many pro-se defendants panic in court and either say nothing when they need to speak up or ramble on and state it's their debt when the Judge was about to decide for them.

8 hours ago, Gehen said:

Also how do you mean "observe in court?" Are me and the plaintiff in the same room talking to the judge? Totally unfamiliar with that in-house process.

Prior to the covidiocy it used to be you could call the clerk and ask when the court typically heard debt cases.  Then you could go down on that day prior to your trial and watch the process for others.  It gave you an idea of the attitude of the Judge, kinds of proof they expected, questions asked, defenses they wouldn't allow, and how adversarial the process would be.  Now with the courts doing remote hearings via phone or ZOOM that isn't possible.

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11 hours ago, Clydesmom said:

The single most important thing is to LISTEN to what the Judge and the Plaintiff are saying.  There are situations where the Judge doesn't like the attorney or the creditor and helps the consumer out.  You do NOT want to give away a win by interrupting with statements that tie the Judges hands into deciding for the other side.  The problem is many pro-se defendants panic in court and either say nothing when they need to speak up or ramble on and state it's their debt when the Judge was about to decide for them.

I don't disagree, but you were making a point earlier about how there seems to be a bias here with LVNV and the Bulloch Magistrate. Or do I have that wrong? That's why I'm willing to explain my financial situation at least, not that I expect a win, but to create a resolution that would hypothetically be reasonable. 

Actually on that, has this happened before? Are there other threads on here with experiences dealing with the Bulloch County Magistrate? I haven't seen any, but those could help me if

11 hours ago, Clydesmom said:

Prior to the covidiocy it used to be you could call the clerk and ask when the court typically heard debt cases.  Then you could go down on that day prior to your trial and watch the process for others.  It gave you an idea of the attitude of the Judge, kinds of proof they expected, questions asked, defenses they wouldn't allow, and how adversarial the process would be.  Now with the courts doing remote hearings via phone or ZOOM that isn't possible

I see. My paper didn't say anything about a remote trial, but I can see why that would change things in terms of observing.

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On 2/18/2021 at 6:54 PM, Gehen said:

I don't disagree, but you were making a point earlier about how there seems to be a bias here with LVNV and the Bulloch Magistrate. Or do I have that wrong? That's why I'm willing to explain my financial situation at least, not that I expect a win, but to create a resolution that would hypothetically be reasonable. 

You aren't wrong.  Typically in the rural GA Magistrate Courts it is a good ole boy network of elected Judges.  Many don't have legal experience but are buddies with the lawyers.  If you will feel better speaking what you want to then you should.  Just write out what you plan to say.  LISTEN to the Judge and watch their body language.  If they are annoyed with you then you need to STOP TALKING.  It is NEVER a good idea to piss off a judge.  What I am referring to is some Defendants get so wrapped up in saying what they want they don't realize the Judge is actually helping them and had they stopped talking would have won.  Saying what you want about your circumstances could put the Judge in a corner where he was going to use the law to help YOU and not them is not an option because the Defendant rambled on and admitted they owed the money.

On 2/18/2021 at 6:54 PM, Gehen said:

My paper didn't say anything about a remote trial

It may not be but with the covid nonsense the chances they allow you to sit in the court and observe on a day prior to your case may be zero.  You can always ask the clerk.  That kind of question they can answer.

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Ahh, well.

So first off, thanks to all the great help I got regarding this subject, it definitely gave me an idea of what I could (and couldn't do). As you guys were totally right, they were pretty predatory about the whole thing - my early offers were mostly denied and they were absolutely after a judgment.

So, I will settle, but it won't be pretty ($1450). They do offer payment plans and stuff but I'm at the point where I'd rather get this cleared and out of my hair. I know for plenty this amount would be ridiculous but, if I can just have this chapter closed I'd prefer that. Some folks are willing to help I think and if I absolutely can't get that Stenger was "generous" enough to work payments out. I'd rather completely avoid any kind of judgment cause no matter what that's just not a good thing to have hanging around.

In any case, I'll be getting the offers to look over and sign (obviously) before I do anything.

It definitely sucks, but damn sometimes that's how the cards hit ya.

I'll keep the thread informed if something changes but once again thanks plenty for all the help. You guys were right on the money about the "in cahoots." If I had any defense, I'd hit back tooth and nail, but I'm just tired of it.

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