Library of Glossary Videos

Library of Glossary Videos

The videos on this page are part of our glossary and our efforts to make the public more aware of it. You will find a brief description of the videos and a link to the page on which they occur.
Click here for the Glossary.

Glossary: Introduction Video

Glossary: Assignment

Glossary: Business Records Exception Video

Glossary: Charge-offs

Glossary: Small Claims Courts

Glossary: Statues of Limitations

 

The Best Defense is a Good Offense

Debt Law and Motions for Summary Judgment

If you’re being sued for debt, your case is going to head for a show-down on a couple of main issues. These will probably involve some billing records or some record-keepers wanting to testify. And these are primarily “legal” issues – that is, the facts may be clear and undisputed, and the judge might be able to make the important decisions in the case. When a judge does that by motion and before trial, it’s called a “summary judgment,” and the parties ask for that by filing a “motion for summary judgment.” You will want to consider trying this.

Before we get deeply into motions for summary judgment, let’s discuss the way cases develop, go away, or are decided. It’s really just one process.

The Way Debt Cases Develop

First, the parties conduct discovery which aims to find out what facts are, indeed, uncontested. What this really means is, what you can prove about your case or their case. In debt law, you either want to prove it was all a horrible mistake (if that’s what’s going on) or that the debt collector cannot prove its case. Since most debt cases come from what were at one time legitimate debts, most debt defense boils down to an attack on the debt collector’s case. And you will have an excellent chance of winning.

In your discovery, you will probe for what evidence they have and how they plan to get it “into evidence,” i.e., into the court’s consideration at trial. Our Discovery Pack is designed to help you do this.

As facts emerge, and as work happens and becomes necessary, the debt collector might decide to drop the case. In fact that often happens. But of course it often doesn’t, too. Often in debt cases the debt collector will try to shorten things up by motion for summary judgment, but more often it seems they just want to get to trial as quickly as possible. If they do that before you have conducted your discovery, there’s a good chance you will be snowed under.

You want to aim for the motion for summary judgment right from the time you file your answer. If it doesn’t work, well, you’re halfway to being ready for trial anyway, and you will have started talking to the judge about the issues that matter.

Now to talk more specifically about motions for summary judgment.

Motions for Summary Judgment

A “motion” is just the formal way you ask the court to issue a ruling of some sort. A motion for summary judgment is asking the court to find that all the necessary facts for a ruling in your favor have been established, and to grant you a judgment as to them. It’s possible to get a summary judgment about some parts of a case but not others (a “partial summary judgment” in legalese).  To end the case, you have to get a judgment on all of the claims.

What to Do

If you are being sued, you need to begin with the ending in mind. That is, right from the beginning you should think long and hard about what it takes to win your case. In debt law, the first big challenge most defendants face is to answer the petition – just to take that first step in defending yourself. If you’ve managed that, congratulations. Just by doing that you’ve given yourself a better chance to win than approximately 90% of the other people being sued. And in some cases, to be sure, that’s all you need – the debt collector may walk away right now. But in most cases they won’t.

So your next specific step is to start discovery – the sooner the better. And you should start discovery with the firm goal of finding and proving the things you need to win. We have a product that can help with that, but this video is about the next step following discovery: the motion for summary judgment.

In a way, it’s simple, although this is one time you should never confuse “simple” with “easy.” If they’re alleging a breach of contract, for example, you will discover that they must prove the existence of a valid contract, its breach (failure to pay as agreed), and damages. The burden of proof is on the debt collector as to each of these things, and they have to show it using admissible evidence.

In your discovery, you should have narrowed down exactly what they have to offer as proof. In the case of a debt collector this is usually documents created by some other person, usually the original creditor. And they may have documents or testimony by some of their own employees as well. This material is generally intended to try either to fool the court into believing the other evidence is admissible, or to pull it within the rules of evidence.

Your job will be to look at each bit of evidence and show why it cannot do what the debt collectors want it to do.

Filing a Motion for Summary Judgment

Of course this isn’t very easy, and there are significant procedural requirements, but going through this process increases your chances of winning dramatically in three important ways. First, if you can show your right to a summary judgment, you should win the motion and get the case kicked out. Before that happens, though, you will be putting the plaintiff to the expense and effort of responding, and if they think they will lose (and often even if they think they will win), they’d rather just drop the case than keep going. And finally, even if the court does not rule, or rules against you, you will have learned a tremendous amount about the law and begun the process of teaching the judge what he or she needs to know, improving your chances of winning at trial a lot.

There’s every reason to do it. You just need the energy and courage to try. We can help.

Product Information

Because much of this article involves taking action and creating legal document, we include an addendum of the products we have that can help. First, if you are at the beginning stages of your case and needing to answer (or otherwise respond to) the petition, our First Response Kit is designed to help with that. If you have already answered and need to start (or restart) conducting discovery, our Discovery Pack will help. The Discovery Pack is included within the First Response Kit, so don’t get both. If you are trying to force the debt collector to respond to your discovery, you may want our Motion to Compel Pack.

If they’re filing a motion for summary judgment and you are not ready to file a motion for summary judgment yourself, our Motion for Summary Judgment Defense Pack could help. But if you want to respond to theirs and file one of your own, you will want our Cross-Motion  for Summary Judgment Pack. And if they haven’t file a motion for summary judgment but you want to, that would be our Motion for Summary Judgment Offense Pack. Don’t get more than one of the MSJ packs.

Memberships

Members get discounts on all products as well as unlimited opportunities to join our regularly scheduled teleconferences. This gives invaluable real-time assistance, answers to questions, help with strategies, and encouragement. You also get the Litigation Manual for free with membership. Find out about memberships by clicking the “About Memberships” link in the menu at the top of the page.

Accept for Value

Accept for value – magic words that solve every financial problem?

PL 73-10

You may have heard of one of the magic-word fads that’s going around, the “Accept for Value” response to bills. As you will see, it involves certain very specific formulae to accomplish something that seems to anyone applying common sense to be impossible. As with most of the “magic word” fads, this one will get you in big trouble if you try it. Don’t.

I have had a chance to look at several accept for value videos and sites. They’re a little cagey, and it isn’t clear whether there is one main source and theory or whether there may be variations with slight differences. A lot of times, of course, one person comes up with an idea, and then a lot of people copy it, adding bells and whistles both as sales gimmicks and also to differentiate themselves from the competition. That appears to be the case with the accept for value “movement.” In any event, I’ll discuss them as if they’re one idea – if you encounter something a little different, look for the fundamental
similarities and don’t get too hung up on specific words.

The idea behind “accepting for value” defies common sense. It appears to be based on a belief that everything is free – or “already paid for,” which is the same thing. Naturally, there’s a conspiracy keeping people from knowing this or from using their free resources, and the advocates of acceptance for value are really the only ones who know the trick of how to do it. It involves some special forms and formulas we’ll be discussing.

Before getting deeply into the mechanics and theory of the “accept for value” idea, consider: if you were creating a law that you wanted to apply to everyone, would you write it in secret code that only a few people could understand?

Of course not. Now, not all laws are crystal clear (in fact, really none of them are), but they are designed to be known or knowable to everyone – because otherwise how could you expect people to obey them? And laws are meant to be obeyed, mostly.  Whenever someone tells you there are “secret laws” or secret forms or language to use to obtain some publically available thing, you should instantly be
deeply skeptical. It’s almost always a scam.

If everybody had an account, and the money was already there for everyone to get whatever they wanted, wouldn’t it make sense that politicians would LOVE to tell you about it? Some bad-guy bankers
might not want it, since they couldn’t screw you out of money, but most politicians would love to tell you about it.

And if everything is free, why would the bad-guy bankers even want your money? If everything is free, what’s the point of being rich? This theory will only appeal to those who are so desperate they are willing to believe just about anything.

Okay, let’s move on to the way acceptance for value is supposed to be done.

To accept something for value, you apparently have to follow a specific formula.

On your bill, you write “Accepted for Value, Exempt from Levy.”

Then you sign and date it, and write “pay to the order of” your name in all capital letters, and put your
Social Security number down twice – once with dashes, and once without.

In some variations, apparently you’re supposed to make some reference to the US Treasury or the IRS,
a thing they very much do not appreciate – they’ve put out circulars referring to laws that make it illegal
and calling the whole thing fraud. It’s not clear whether anyone has ever gone to jail for trying the scheme, but it seems pretty risky to make any reference to government entities. Any suggestion that they will be the ones paying would be flirting with trouble for sure.

It would appear that the form used is intended to call to mind the form of a check, with your social security number being the account number. I believe one Youtuber said that was the idea, and that’s consistent with the main theory behind this idea, which is that when anyone is born, the government (or federal reserve, or whatever) creates a bank account in your name. In some videos, they say to send the bill with the stuff written on it to some government agency, in some they don’t mention this, but regardless, when you do what you’re supposed to do, the debt is discharged. It’s paid by the government!

One Youtuber compared it to playing a game of Monopoly where each player starts off with a certain amount of money as part of the game. It’s automatically created and given to you when you join the game. Your using the magic formula is the way you access your game money.

The problem is, this is not a game, and the real world does not work that way. You don’t start off with money, and things are not free.

When I make things for people to use, it takes effort, and I want to get paid for that effort. When you go to work, you want to get paid. Can you imagine the outrage you would feel if, at the end of the week,
your boss simply handed you a slip saying that your work had been accepted for value?

A company doing that would soon be out of business.

If you start returning bills with “accepted for value” written on them instead of including payment, you may find yourself out of business as well. This is such basic common sense, and so plainly obvious,
that it takes a lot of theory to gloss it over. And the accept for value idea has a lot of theory.

The problem is, the theory doesn’t work.

It all goes back, they say, to House Joint Resolution 192, June 5, 1933, Public Law 73-10, the law that  “stole the people’s gold” – but made up for it by making everything free. As one person put it, “Your house is already paid for; your car is already paid for. You just don’t know it.”

It is true that Joint Resolution 192 has a sordid history, but nothing quite so lame-brained as that.

Joint Resolution 192 goes back to the early 1920s and the aftermath of World War I. One thing about war is it is very expensive and tremendously destructive, right? Prior to World War I, most governments
in the world were on a gold standard, meaning that if one country bought more stuff from another country, they settled the difference by paying gold.

During World War I, the governments ran out of gold, though, and started paying with their currencies.  These, too, were theoretically backed by gold, and in 1920, if you wanted, you could go to the bank and exchange a dollar bill for a specific fraction of an ounce of gold. At the end of World War I, however, the governments owed large debts to businesses and other governments. They didn’t really want to pay them, of course, because who wants to pay a debt?

What governments can do about that is print more money.

If I owe you a dollar but have a good printing press, I can just print up a new dollar to give you. Costs me practically nothing, right?

Well, Germany did that in 1920 in order to pay some of the reparations it owed for World War I, and the value of a German mark went from maybe 2 per dollar to over a billion per dollar and that was just before they stopped counting. It was cheaper to burn paper money than it was to buy logs for heat.

That was pretty extreme, but all the governments of the world, just about, had some lesser variation of the problem, and they were all printing up money as fast as they could go.

Creditors don’t like lending money that is worth a lot and getting back money (in debt repayment) that is worth much less, so they began putting what were called “gold clauses” in their contracts. These attached the amount of money being lent to a more objective standard, the price of gold (for example). So they might say, “in exchange for $25,000, which is currently the equivalent of 50 ounces of gold, borrower agrees to make 100 payments of the equivalent of ½ ounce of gold” (along with other terms, of course). That way, the lender would get back the same value it had lent.

In a way it was fair, right? To make you pay back the same value as you had borrowed? But the problem was that so many people, and governments, couldn’t do that. So they passed a series of laws forbidding that (called the “gold clause abrogation laws”). Some of the laws prohibited equating debts to amounts of gold and required that they be named only in the local legal tender; other laws made sure that payment could always be made in that legal tender and that nothing else could be required.

You might say it was a huge rip off because it allowed debtors to pay big debts with little value and prevented creditors from protecting themselves.

House Joint Resolution 192 was a gold clause.

Put another way, it was a “legal tender” law which made all debts payable with bank notes rather than gold, and required that they be denominated in dollars rather than expressed as something else. It also underlined the relatively new legal reality that “federal reserve notes” were legal tender (but that’s a story for a different day).

It was indeed a (good) break for people who owed money, and a very bad break for creditors
who knew about inflation and had taken steps to protect themselves from it.

But it didn’t make anything free for anybody.

That’s the fraud the acceptance for value people have added to an interesting story. Don’t fall for it, and be assured that no judge ever will. Using the accepted for value argument will bring you only disaster and loss.

Motions in Limine – to Exclude Evidence

What Pro Se Debt Defendants Need to Know about Motions in Limine

What to Do if Sued

Sued for Debt

So You’re Being Sued for Debt

You have learned, one way or another, that you are being sued for a debt. If so, you are in a club containing many millions of people, but you probably feel all alone. What do you do? And how do you do it? Where do you turn, and who can help?

Since you’re here, you know that WE can help. We help people beat the debt collectors and protect what’s theirs.

Fight

We don’t make any bones about it – we think that if you’re sued by a debt collector you have a great chance of winning. And if you lose, it hardly ever costs you anything more than not fighting would have done. If you want to settle, you always start by fighting because debt collectors never settle to make YOUR life easier, they only settle make themselves more profit, and if you fight you instantly drive the value of the suit down in their eyes. Thus you have everything to gain and little to lose in most situations. You should fight.

Lawyer or Not?

We’ve addressed this question many times in various posts, and we do in our First Response Kit, too. But for this article we’re just going to talk about the cost of a lawyer. For most of our members, the cost of a lawyer is the most important thing, and they are expensive.

The average lawyer in a city tries to make $200 per hour these days. They’re running a business, have a staff, and need to make a profit. In debt defense, they also know that not everyone is able to pay. Thus, those who do pay, have to pay more.

With $200 per hour as a target, the lawyer either has to charge you that as an hourly rate or create a flat fee that will, she hopes, bring that average return. Through it all, most people discussing legal fees with us say that lawyers are trying to get them to pay at least $2,500 for their cases. For most people, this is simply too much, and the lawyer will want much of that up-front. So lawyers are simply out of reach for most people in debt trouble.

But here’s the thing: debt law, unlike most kinds of law, is well-suited to pro se (self-representation) defense. And with a little help from us, you’ll know more than most lawyers you talk to will know about this kind of law anyway.

Debt Law is Good for Pro Se Defense

There are a few reasons debt law is good for pro se defense. First, debt law is mostly about rules of evidence. They’re going to want to get some records into evidence, and you’re going to want to stop them from doing that. If you can keep those records out and avoid a few basic mistakes, you should win. This is not the kind of law that involves extensive testimony or cross-examination – you won’t need to be brilliant. You will need to do basic things that you can learn – we can teach you.

The other main reason debt law is good for self-representation is economic. They want to make $200 per hour, but you don’t have to get that much. And the debt collector/lawyer is trying to get that from half of what he can collect from you (the debt buyer gets the other half), while you’re saving 100 percent of what you can save. Thus you can spend more time on the case. It’s your life, and it matters more to you than anyone else. Every time you do something to defend yourself the lawyer on the other side will be worried about whether she’ll get paid for working on your case – this is a big, big advantage.

What to Do?

Your defense will start with an answer or a motion. Our First Response Kit will guide you through that. We also suggest that you get right onto the process of discovery, and the First Response Kit will do as much to help make that easy for you as possible. It includes samples of all the documents you’ll probably need. You’ll have to do SOME work for sure, but it doesn’t get any easier for you than this.

Our First Response Kit

A great place to start your defense is our First Response Kit. It helps you consider your chances of winning (vs. not fighting at all) and whether to fight, whether to get a lawyer, and if you’re going to represent yourself, how to do that. We get you started with a sample Answer and sample discovery that you can modify to fit your situation. This is as easy a way to get started with your defense as is possible. Read about it here.

Can Debt Collectors Garnish Wages

Debt Verification – How to Protect Yourself

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Class Warfare in America

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!

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