OFFERING LEGAL CONSUMER
HELP! I JUST GOT SUED!
Every day, in each of the 88 counties in Ohio, creditors file hundreds of lawsuits in Ohio state civil courts seeking money from folks a creditor claims it is due. Just another day, right ? If you are the unfortunate soul from whom the creditor is seeking money, I’ll bet you’ll have a different opinion.
We take pride in assisting our clients out of this spider’s web, saving them money in interest, collection, and creditor attorney fees, and most importantly, protecting the financial security of the household going forward. The information below is a brief overview of a civil collection suit in Ohio.
THE ANATOMY OF A CIVIL COLLECTION ACTION IN OHIO
You get a loan from an entity who extends credit such as a:
- credit card
- rent-to-own contract
- apartment or auto lease agreement
- payday loan
- school tuition
- cell phone
You default on the loan (don’t make payment for 30 days).
The creditor sends you a couple of letters threatening collection action.
You start receiving letters from a professional collection agency, and getting calls at all hours of the day.
The creditor files a lawsuit against you. You now have 28 days within which to prepare and file an Answer with the Court. You need to set forth your position in writing as to why you do no owe the creditor. You must then properly serve all other parties to the suit. IF YOU BLOW THIS 28 DAY DEADLINE, THE CASE IS OVER. You may now want to consider a bankruptcy filing, which was addressed above.
If you do properly and timely defend yourself, the Court will set the matter for a Pre-trial Hearing. You will appear in front of the Court on the time and date selected by the Judge, and briefly state why a trial is necessary in the case.
The Court will then set the matter for trial in a month or so. You and the creditor will appear on that day, and the Court will conduct a trial much like those seen on TV.
If you lose, which is highly likely, the creditor will be given a judgment against you.
The creditor will then start to garnish your financial accounts, and garnish 25% of your take-home pay (net pay) every pay day until the judgment is paid in full. If you own any real estate, the creditor would prefer to file a certificate of judgment against it, and proceed to foreclose on the real estate. None of these scenarios is pleasant.
WELL, WHAT SHOULD I DO TO PROTECT MYSELF ?
A wise man once said: “He who represents himself has a fool for a client” - Abraham Lincoln. This old adage remains true over a century and a ½ later. You need to lawyer up, get in the ring, stick up for yourself, and fight like hell. In other words, you should contact a firm that has very aggressively handled many hundreds of theses cases - the Spiroff Law Office.
OPTION ONE - LITIGATE
Litigation is the process of two opposing parties seeking to reach the truth through a legal proceeding. Approximately, 90% of all civil collection cases go just like the creditor wants - unopposed - no response is filed within the magic 28-day window.
I know that creditors hate to pay their lawyers to defend a civil suit. Once our firm is hired, they have an aggressive lawyer going over the documents it filed with the Court with a fine-tooth comb. It hates having experienced defense counsel checking their math and interest calculations that it has already sworn is true. The tables now turn.
What also now turns to your advantage is that the lawyer who will actually appear in Court on behalf of the creditor has usually been out of law school for about 6 months or so. If I were in that situation, I would be more comfortable with a lawyer with over 30 years of experience who is as comfortable in Court in front of a judge as he is in a church pew on Sunday morning.
OPTION TWO - VOLUNTARY RESOLUTION
If you have any ability (from whatever source) to make a reasonable offer to the creditor, it is always prudent to attempt to work out a reduced settlement, and negotiate terms that are feasible for your budget. This may prove to be a swift, and relatively inexpensive end to the matter.
OPTION THREE - COURT-ORDERED MEDIATION
Upon motion of a party to a civil suit, the Court will most likely refer the matter to a completely independent Mediator. The parties will confer with the Mediator (usually at the Courthouse), and use all best efforts to arrive at an agreement which both parties can live.
OPTION FOUR - ROLL THE DICE -TRY THE CASE TO THE COURT
While this is the most exciting for our office, it may well not be in your best interest. If it is not, we will find an alternative resolution. If it is the best course to travel, we will give the creditor hell.