In a previous post, I discussed how long you have to respond to a credit card lawsuit (quick review... 20 days to respond, with 10 additional days normally given by the Court). That leads to the next question: What actually constitutes a response?
A response means formally answering the charges filed in the initial complaint by the "Plaintiff" (the credit card or collection company). This requires you to file an answer in the court where the complaint was filed. Your answer could be quite simple, but if it has any hope of succeeding, it should follow a form acceptable to the court, it should include any filing fees, and it should exert some type of defense.
The most common defenses used in credit card lawsuits are statue of limitations defenses or challenging the sufficiency of the credit card company's complaint. You should consult an attorney for legal advice regarding the raising of defenses, and also to make sure your answer is filed properly.
Regardless of your defense chosen, any response to a credit card lawsuit will need to be filed formally. This means you can not simply call the court or write a letter denying the charges. You certainly should not try to contact the judge directly. Also, contacting the law firm suing you will not be considered a proper "response", even if you speak with an attorney and begin negotiating a settlement agreement. Only a formal answer filed in the appropriate court will constitute a "response".
If you think you are not liable for the debt you are being sued on, or if you have not used the credit or made a payment in over 4 years... contact us! It might be worth filing a formal response. Occasionally, credit card lawsuits are filed too late, or without all the required documentation. Credit card companies will file the lawsuit hoping you don't know your rights!
Otherwise, there may be a better solution to dealing with the lawsuit, such as a bankruptcy or a settlement agreement. I can help with both, and I'll discuss both options in a later post.
The next posts on the subject of credit card lawsuits will deal with the hearing date and what happens when you DON'T formally respond.