Baltimore Bankruptcy Attorney Shows Common Lawsuit Defenses
Being sued for credit card debt? Need to know your rights? These three defenses to creditor lawsuits may save you thousands
You have just received a notice that one of your credit cards is suing you. The total amount they are asking for may include interest, costs and attorney’s fees so the balance may be much more than you originally borrowed. But just because they are suing you does not mean the Court will automatically grant the judgment. You have the right to fight the lawsuit, but you must take action. If you do not assert your rights, the Court may grant the creditor a judgment against you.
The first defense you may want to bring up is lack of service. You have the right to be given notice of any legal action against you. Under Maryland law, this notice can be delivered to your home and left with anyone who lives there who is over eighteen years old. Sometimes, husband and wife are separated and the notice is given to the spouse who is still living there. This may be bad service. It is important to bring this defense up before the lawsuit goes too far or you may lose your right to bring it up.
A second common defense to a lawsuit is based on the statute of limitations. In Maryland, a lawsuit to collect most debts must be filed within 3 years of the last payment made. If you have not paid the creditor in over three years, you may be able to raise this defense. Sometimes creditors will try to get you to make a partial payment in order to start the clock all over again. This is called “re-aging” a debt and you should be careful before making any payment arrangements.
A third common defense is based on “standing”. In order to sue you, the creditor must have standing to bring the lawsuit. This means they must show they are the ones who actually own the debt. Because so many lawsuits have been filed in Maryland by creditors who may not actually own the debt, Maryland has passed a new law. This law requires creditors to file with the Court actual written proof that they own the debt. Sometime this can be very hard because the debt may have been sold several times. if they can’t prove they own the debt, you may be able to have the case dismissed.
If you want move information about collection lawsuits, download my book “Getting Out of Debt” by filling out the form or calling us at (410) 243-1508