How to fight a creditor lawsuit
June 29, 2020 / Jeffrey Kelly
In Georgia, consumers have the right to fight back against creditor lawsuits. In my experience, the people who I have seen have the most successful outcomes are victims of identity theft.
Why did you get a letter from me?
I am a bankruptcy attorney and in my law practice, we send out a lot of direct mail advertisements to people who are getting sued. I often receive calls from people who will say to me, “I have no interest in filing bankruptcy but I want to fight this lawsuit because my ex whoever stole my identity and they are the ones who obtained this debt.”
Personally, I practice only in bankruptcy court but I am happy to recommend other attorneys to consumers who want to fight the lawsuit in state court.
The first important thing to understand is that in most cases, the sheriff will come to your house and deliver the lawsuit to you. These lawsuit papers will contain all the information about the basis of the claim and the name along with the phone number of the lawyer who is suing you. The service of the lawsuit upon you by the sheriff will start the 30 day clock you have to respond to the lawsuit. If you mess up and let the 30 days go by without responding, you get a default judgment against you. Your opportunity to fight back could potentially be lost forever.
The best thing to do if you are in a situation where you are wanting to fight claims made in the lawsuit against you is to hire an attorney who knows the ropes of your local area courthouse.
Can you defend yourself without an attorney?
In Georgia, you have the right to represent yourself without an attorney. I don’t recommend this but I understand that in some cases, the cost of an attorney might exceed dollar amount of the false claim that is being made against you. You can look on google to see how to properly respond to the lawsuit in your area.
Assuming you respond correctly by filing your answer to the complaint and serving said answer on the creditor, your case will be set down for a hearing. You have the right to demand that the other side produce a contract with your signature on it. In cases where identity theft has occurred, it will be impossible for the creditor to produce and document with your signature.
What do you do if you really owe the debt?
If the claims made in a complaint against you are truthful, your options are:
- Call the attorney who filed the lawsuit against you and work out a payment plan or
- Allow the creditor to garnish your wages to pay the debt and/or allow them to clean out your checking account for the balanced owed or
- Call me and learn about your options on how to take care of ALL OF YOUR DEBT in either a Chapter 13 or a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
If you have any questions about the garnishment process in Georgia, please do not hesitate to call me at 770-881-8449 for your free consultation.