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what to do when sued for debt

If you’re being sued for debt by debt collectors – and even by original creditors – there are some basic things you need to know. This video tells you how to start defending yourself and why you have such a good chance to win if you do.


There is an epidemic of debt litigation. Partly this is because debt of all kinds is at historic levels – there’s never been so much consumer, auto, credit and other debt around. And there’s never been so much of that debt that isn’t being paid. To complicate this picture and make it even worse, identity theft (and resulting unpaid purchases and bills for people whose identity has been stolen) is also at historic levels – and getting worse.

In short, things are bad and getting worse for a lot of people.

If you get sued, you should not panic. One good thing to come out of the debt epidemic is that the debt collectors use factory-type collection methods. If you know what you’re doing, your chance of successfully defending yourself – whether or not you ever actually owed anybody on the debt – are extremely good. That’s because the debt collectors find it more profitable to go after people who don’t fight back. Fight back, and you’re making yourself much less attractive as a defendant – and making it much more likely they’ll drop the suit. Plus, you have a very good chance of winning even if they don’t drop the suit.

Our company exists to help people fight back intelligently. That way, you don’t just hand the debt collectors and easy win, and they’ll probably move on. Or you’ll win.

Defend Yourself – No one Else Will

If you’re being sued, you’re going to have to defend yourself – there’s no magical solution, and you will lose if you ignore the suit. Please don’t think that just because you’ve never heard of this debt or don’t think you owe it for any reason, you will win. Once you’ve been served with a lawsuit, you will lose if you don’t take steps to win it. Nothing is automatic.

And the lawyer on the other side just wants to win as quickly as possible. He or she has very little interest in “doing the right thing.” It’s up to you to protect yourself.

If you are being sued for debt, you must defend yourself. What that means, very simply, is actually proving you don’t owe the money to anyone – or, more likely, that the plaintiff cannot prove you owe it to it. There are simple ways to do this (not necessarily easy), and our job is to help you use those methods.

Anything that promises or appears to be an easy or automatic way to win is probably a mistake or a scam.

No Free Lunches

There are other products out there for people being sued for debt, and some of them will encourage you to invoke magic words like “fractional reserve banking” or other concepts which, though legitimate in their place, will not drive the debt collectors out of your life.

Remember that there are no free lunches for regular people in this world. The judges are not concerned about the U.S. Money supply or system, and they are not concerned about any abstract rights of yours at all. You’ll be lucky if you have a judge who understands what hearsay is and doesn’t want to allow the debt collector to use it. Trust me on this. If this case reaches litigation, you must be prepared to understand the way debt law actually works, tell the judge how it works, and hold the judge to his or her job of making sure the trial is fair.

Luckily you can do all that. If you spend your time invoking the ghost of Andrew Jackson or fighting the monster of Jeckyl Island, claiming that the government sold you somewhere as part of the Social Security program, or other, similar ideas, you will lose the case. Debt collectors have a tough time proving what they must prove to be able to win. Don’t let your desire for a shortcut to victory make you lose.

You Can Beat the Debt Collector

(Even If You Couldn’t Win the Lawsuit!)

If you’re being sued, I’m sure you’re scared. Everyone is. But hear this: you have a very good chance to win the suit if you stand up for yourself. Believe it or not, if you know what you’re doing, the odds are actually stacked in your favor against a debt collector. And it isn’t that hard to learn what you need to know to take them on and beat them.

And even more important, if you stand up for yourself, you will probably beat the debt collector even if you couldn’t win the suit. Read on to see why this is true.

Some Very Basic Facts You Need To Know

If people would stand up for themselves, debt collectors would have a very hard time making any money. Lucky for them, most people don’t stand up for themselves.

The Debt Collector’s Problems

The debt collector will have a lot of problems if you stand up for yourself. They usually don’t have the records they need to prove their case even if you actually did owe the money. And more often than you might expect, you don’t owe them the money because of certain time limits or because they can’t prove they own the debt. They also have certain even bigger practical difficulties that you can use to protect yourself if you know how to find them.

FEAR-The Debt-Collector’s Best Friend

Because the debt collectors would have such a hard time winning if you fight back, they rely on the terror of the collection process to scare you into settling the case or giving up altogether. This fear of the legal process is the most important weapon the debt collectors have. If you can handle that, chances are you’ll get off scott-free. That’s why YourLegalLegUp litigation materials explain how the debt collection business operates from top to bottom.

You Have Almost Nothing To Lose

Strange as it may seem, now that you’ve been dragged into this suit, most of the bad has already happened. It costs very little to fight if you do it yourself. And if the company wins, they are going to get the same thing (in almost every case) whether you fight or not. In other words, it won’t get worse if you fight.

And if you fight and win, as I explain in the section about counterclaims, not only will you not owe them anything, but they may have to pay you.

In other words, you have basically nothing to lose by fighting and everything to win!

Why You Have a Chance to Win

You actually have a very good chance of winning the lawsuit filed against you- if you stand up for yourself. Look at the lawsuit filed against you-the “Petition” it’s usually called. It may look like it was done carelessly, and it probably was. But the paragraphs of the petition say the things the debt company would have to prove to the court-if you stand up for yourself.

They have to prove the existence of a “contract,” or some obligation for you to pay. They have to prove they own the right to sue you. And they have to prove the amount you owe. You might think they could easily do that, but in fact it is difficult if not impossible for them to prove these things.

Discovery – Requests for Documents

This is going to be a brief article. For a fuller discussion and samples, look in the Litigation Manual and Forms. Still, you should be able to create your own after reading this. If you do not already own the Debt Defense System, you should consider it. Membership with us allows us to help and guide you every step of the way.

As with other discovery, Requests for Documents are controlled by the rules of civil procedure for your jurisdiction. And there are two sets of rules you must consider: your state rules in general and, if you are in some sub-court of the state, the rules regarding your court; and your “Local Rules” if your court has them.

Sub-Courts

An example of what I mean by “sub-court” might be what we have in Missouri, Associate Circuit courts. These are courts that are designed to handle smaller amounts of money. Or small claims courts (even less money). Many states have similar types of arrangements, and these sub-courts will have their own special rules, and these rules always control when and how much discovery you can conduct. I normally suggest that people avoid these courts because the can be a little too relaxed about the rules. Relaxed rules may seem “easier” for you, but in reality what they do is let the debt collectors get information in that they couldn’t otherwise – and your best chance of winning is to keep that evidence out.

Even if you’re not in that sort of sub-court, your court may have “local rules,” which are rules designed to elaborate on your state’s rules of civil procedure. The rules of civil procedure will create the general structure of discovery and set the penalties for not cooperating – the local rules will establish certain limits: only a certain number, for example, or that they must be in a certain format (not “compound,” usually, meaning without sub-parts).

Whatever the situation, you must find the rules controlling your discovery, or you may do something wrong, giving the debt collector an easy out. To find your rules of civil procedure, follow this link. Any special rules may be mentioned in your rules of civil procedure or in your court’s web-page. I am not aware of these rules – but you must be.

Content of Requests for Documents

The term “document” for purposes of requests is very broad and contains things like electronic records, facsimiles, any non-identical copy of a record, etc. The term is usually defined in the rules of civil procedure, and the way you would define it is to refer to that rule: “by requesting documents, defendant intends all documents as defined by Rule ___, ____Rules of Civil Procedure.

What You Request

You want everything thing the debt collector could use to support its case or attack yours. At a minimum you should ask for any document in their possession or control which you signed or which they contend applies to you in any way. You want all documents relating to the amount or terms of any alleged debt, every document showing or relating to any agreement you made with them, including any notes or comments. You want every document showing or relating to anything you said. If you have a counterclaim, you’ll want to create requests that get everything they have related to that.

Standard

The standard for requests for production is that you are asking for documents in their possession or control. Possession is obvious, but control includes documents that other people have created for them or in support of their business: accountant’s records, for example, or account records (of your account) if the original creditor agreed to provide them if requested. If these documents are not provided or objected to, but then they try to use them at court, you should request to have them excluded from trial.

Objections

When the other side objects – as they will, to everything you ask – you will, eventually, have to eliminate those objections so that you can be sure you have everything they have. Just because they deny having something you would expect them to have, though, does not mean you can file a motion to compel. Rather – once they have answered, you pretty much have to take them at their word for not having stuff they say they do not have. That is, unless you have evidence they are actually hiding something.