Monthly Archives: May 2009

Sued For A Debt — Requests for Admissions

How to Answer Requests for Admissions

If you are defending yourself from a lawsuit brought by debt collectors, you should be aware that Requests for Admissions are an extreme danger to you.

What is a request for Admission?

A request for admission is a request by either party to the other side requesting that you admit some fact. If you fail to deny the request or effectively object during the time provided (30 days in Missouri), the request is considered admitted. This means that the fact is established as true for the lawsuit.

Debt collectors typically ask defendants to admit every allegation of the complaint, right down to the damages. So failure to respond to a request will result in losing the case very quickly.

Requests for admissions are rare in attorney-represented cases for one very simple reason. Attorneys will generally deny or object to every single request. If you object to a request to admit a fact, and that fact is later proven true, you may have to pay the “costs” of proving the fact. I’ve never seen a plaintiff seek costs, although I’m sure they must sometimes. But this is a very minor risk, and the “costs” of proving things are both difficult to prove and not very large. So lawyers generally deny all but the most basic requests.

How Do You Respond?

The Rules provide that a request for admission must be in good form and not ambiguous. If the request can be read in more than one way, it can be objected to as ambiguous. If there is anything you disagree with in a request, the rules allow you to deny the whole thing. It should be obvious that there is little incentive to admit anything, much less anything about which you are not completely sure.

I provide sample Requests for Production and Answers in the supplementary materials in Your Legal Leg Up Litigation Manual at YourLegalLegUp.com

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Sued On A Debt – Why Would You Just Give Up?

I have very frequently met clients and others who were sued by debt collectors in the past and simply did not defend themselves. The result was that a judgment was entered against them, a black mark was recorded against their credit report, and very often their bank accounts or pay checks were seized without warning. In other words, settling or not defending simply hastened the results they feared the most. Why did they do it? Why did they give up, even in some cases where they felt certain that they did not owe the money.

Most of the people to whom I have spoken have failed to defend themselves because they did not know they could. They thought it was too hard to do it themselves and too expensive to hire a lawyer.

I think the story goes further, though. I think a lot of people feel guilty about owing money, or they feel like failures because they have been unable to pay money they owed. They view the lawsuit as punishment they deserve because of their failures, and so they allow the company to take a judgment against them.

Debt collectors are not motivated by justice or rightness, fairness, or anything at all other than profit. They seek to maximize the money they make from you, and they don’t care if you truly owe it or cannot pay without sacrificing your family. This is simply the law of the jungle in effect: they’ll eat you if they can. You have a right to defend yourself, and no one will take that responsibility if you do not. If you’ll just take a minute to consider seriously whether you deserve to have them collect money from you and ruin you financially, it will be obvious. Just asking the question is enough. So defend yourself if you can.

And if your heart bleeds for the collectors at all, just remember that they paid only a few cents on the dollar for the debt they intend to collect from you. They knew in advance that the debt was “distressed.” They make their livings off your feelings of guilt and weakness. You can go to my website at http://YourLegalLegUp.com for materials that will help you defend yourself from these predators.

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What Is “Debt”? Who Is Suing You?

What is debt? This almost seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? But it is not.

“Debt” is money someone claims you owe. Notice that you might not actually owe the money in the normal sense of the word. You may never have borrowed it in the first place; you may have paid it off or had it discharged in bankruptcy; or the debt might not be valid for any number of reasons (for example, it could be an invalid finance charge). But if a company is suing you for money it claims you owe, you are being sued on a debt.

In general, two groups of people could sue you: the actual creditor who claims you originally owed it money (for example, a bank or merchant); or you could be sued or otherwise harassed by a “third-party debt collector.”

Third-party debt collectors are people or companies who buy claimed debt for pennies on the dollar and then try to collect it through harassing phone calls, threatening letters, or lawsuits. You have probably never heard of the third-party debt collector before, and most collectors choose to collect debts under a  variety of changing names. What makes them “third-party” is that they never had a direct relationship with you before the debt they are trying to collect. This also makes it extremely likely that they will not have the documents or other “evidence” they will need to win the lawsuit and force you to pay.

A lot of times even the original creditors will periodically destroy (or lose) their records, making it impossible to win a lawsuit against you and force you to pay.

You never know if you don’t make them work to win the suit. Go to my website at yourlegallegup.com for help in defending yourself and saving a lot of money.

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Welcome to Your Legal Leg Up

I started this blog as a continuation of my efforts in my website: YourLegalLegUp.com.

I practiced law in St. Louis city and county (federal, state and local courts) for almost fifteen years, the last several of which were focused almost exclusively on debt litigation.  During this time, I noticed a few things of great significance.

(1) Debt cases are usually pretty simple and could be defended against by ordinary people;

(2) a large majority of debt cases can be won by the defendants.

(3) most defendants do not defend themselves from these suits either by themselves or with lawyers, so

(4) most defendants lose their debt cases and are saddled with large debts they could have avoided if only they had tried to defend themselves; and

(5) I was uniquely situated to help people defend themselves from these suits.

I founded YourLegalLegUp.com in response to this opportunity, and my mission is to protect ordinary people from being taken advantage of by the debt collectors.

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