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There’s a myth in America that people can move up in life more here than anywhere else. It is also widely believed that because of this social mobility there isn’t a conflict between the classes.
In recent times, those myths are coming a little bit under fire. Partly we can thank the Democratic Socialists for this – AOC has done a lot to highlight the vast differences in income between the poor and the rich, and she, and other politicians, are beginning to suggest various things that might be done to address those differences. This, of course, has alarmed the right wing and the wealthy, and they are talking a lot about class warfare, too, but the only thing they’re worried about, of course, is the possibility that they will be targeted for special taxation.
We take a different view and sometimes discuss what we believe are the true causes of the wealth inequality in America and what should be done about it. Our point in the video below, however, is just that there has been a class war going on for a long time – and it’s being waged by the rich against the poor.
And the poor are losing big time.
Two of the “trenches” of the current class war are in debt litigation and foreclosure law. Over the past few years, foreclosure has been a little less frequent, but we believe it will soon accelerate. Debt litigation has not slowed down as far as we can tell. The supposed boom in employment has not led to higher wages in real terms or in greater opportunities for the working classes – they’re falling further behind.
Class Warfare in America
The Banks have you in their sights – Fight Back!
Special Defenses Available in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania has some very favorable, specific rules on what a debt collector must plead in order to bring a claim on a debt, and a procedure called “preliminary objections” that brings up these issues.
Despite the law imposing these requirements, the debt collectors ignore them, and chances are good that if you’re being sued in PA, they ignored them for you. That means that you can probably get the case kicked out by filing the appropriate Preliminary Objections. For more on this issue, see our materials related to the Pennsylvania Silver Bullet Pack below.
In addition to the pleading requirements, PA also has some very favorable law on the Account Stated claim that debt collectors like to use so often. An account stated claim, in general, requires that the plaintiff plead and prove that a normal billing relationship existed between the parties, that the plaintiff sent a bill (“accounting”) to which the defendant essentially agreed but did not pay. In most states, this “essential agreement” can be implied from almost nothing. In Pennsylvania, on the other hand, some real evidence of agreement needs to be produced. Of course, the debt collectors almost never have such evidence.
Pennsylvania Silver Bullet Pack – a great product that will stop most debt collectors – and a lot of other bad guys too – in Pennsylvania.
California State-Specific Materials
This will be a long-term project, as we begin to write more articles that will address issues that arise in specific states. We will eventually have member-only material catalogued here for greater convenience.
California-specific Articles and Videos
A powerful weapon in fighting debt collectors in California – the bill of particulars
Demanding a Bill of Particulars in California, Part 2
If you are in California, you have a powerful tool against the debt collectors – a request for a bill of particulars
California Bill of Particulars Pack – Californians have a tool, halfway between pleadings and discovery, that can force debt collectors to provide all the information you need to defend yourself from most of their claims. The bill of particulars will often make them drop all or part of their case – or to give you what you need to hammer them in court.
Oklahoma Debt Law
This will eventually be an article on small claims courts in Oklahoma.
Small claims courts are a frequent bane to debt defendants because they apply loose rules (of evidence and civil procedure) designed for pro se, unsophisticated parties disputing small amounts of money. Debt collectors, however, have discovered that these lax rules can make it easier for them to get even more default judgments and to win cases on obviously insufficient evidence. Oklahoma put a stop to that by enacting rules that forbid debt collectors from bringing their claims in small claims courts.
Of course this hasn’t stopped them.
Here is the rule: http://www.oscn.net/applications/oscn/DeliverDocument.asp?CiteID=438809
Here’s an article. There will be more: https://www.okbar.org/freelegalinfo/smallclaims/
A Bestiary of Debt Collector Dirty Tricks
Debt Collectors will do anything to get your money, and we have collected a large group of their more common tricks together into a “bestiary.”
Sign up below for more information, and we’ll send you the Bestiary of Debt Collector Dirty Tricks for free.
About Us and Our Mission
You have probably reached us because of a Youtube video we presented or some other social media outreach. And you probably know we have largely focused our efforts on people being sued for debt. (If you are being sued, now, for debt and want to defend yourself pro se, you should join us as a litigation member.)
What we hear, time after time, are variations on “I wish I’d heard about you, I did ______ that hurt my rights.” Or, often enough, they don’t realize that they DID hurt their rights. So our efforts have been to reach out to people BEFORE they get sued. And before they hurt their rights. That’s what our new Debt Guard memberships are about – we want to give people an opportunity to see information that will help them identify some of the dirty tricks out there. But more importantly, we want to give you the support and information you need to make the efforts necessary to protect your rights.
Who is a Debt Collector
For our current purposes of identifying scams and protecting you from them, it doesn’t matter whether the person contacting you is some sort of a legitimate operator or a hoodlum in a basement in Russia. They’re going to tell you they’re calling on a debt, and they’re going to be sure you owe it. They won’t tell you they’re hoodlums – and even the legitimate debt collectors are not that far from being hoodlums. It’s a tough business, and the companies always walk right up to the line of legality, giving themselves the benefit of every doubt.
And they frequently step over the line – even the “legitimate” ones.
For five bucks a month, we’ll give you the information and support you need to protect your rights. If you need it, we’ll suggest and help you get a prepaid legal program that could save you the cost of a lawyer if you get sued. Or if you get sued, you’ll know where to turn for help in pro se defense.
But you don’t need to decide anything now. If you like, sign up and get the Bestiary of Debt Collector Dirty Tricks. There’s no obligation, just sign up below.
“General” versus “Affirmative” Defenses
Many debt defendants love the idea of affirmative defenses – they just sound stronger, don’t they? But in the law, they are specific things, and they are not better than general defenses. They’re just different. If you have an affirmative defense, that’s fine, and you probably wouldn’t want to ignore it. But general defenses are really the “bread and butter” of defense.
So what are these two types of defense?
General Defense or Denial
A general defense is one of two things. It CAN mean a general denial of every allegation in the petition. You’re saying, “prove it” to everything. Since the debt collector has the burden of proof, I would suggest you consider this if it is available to you. It’s easy, fast, and comprehensive. But of course your next move is on to discovery and the rest of defense.
Generically, a “general defense” is one where you deny an allegation. So, above, you could file a “general defense” which denies all paragraphs (if your jurisdiction allows this). Or normally you would simply deny all or most of the paragraphs of the plaintiff’s petition. Every denial is a “general defense” that leaves the burden of proof on the plaintiff.
Affirmative defenses are something else. They amount to a statement that, “even if what the plaintiff is true, I don’t owe because …”
One example of this might be a settlement – suppose you entered an agreement to pay and did pay the other side, but they sue you anyway. If so, your general denial will be to deny the allegations of the petition, but then you’ll add an affirmative defense: On x day, the parties entered into settlement discussions and formed an agreement. Defendant fully performed this agreement on y day, paying z dollars for a “complete settlement of all claims.” See, attached (a copy of the agreement).
Thus, the facts that you have alleged amount to a complete defense to the action (known as “accord and satisfaction). And note that the facts are pleaded with “particularity” (in detail), and the defendant has the burden of proof of these things.
Other examples of affirmative defenses include collateral estoppel, res judicata, unclean hands, statute of limitations, and laches. There could be others. In each case the defendant would bear the burden of pleading the facts constituting the defense and proving them at trial. Since a general denial leaves the burden of proof on the plaintiff, they’re usually more important.