May 07, 2021
Summary: Are you being sued for an old debt in the Houston County Superior Court? Find out how to respond fast with the right defense and win your case!
If you owe a debt to either a creditor or debt collector, then you may eventually get sued. This most likely starts with a complaint or petition filed against you. You will be listed as the defendant with the collector listed as the plaintiff.
The complaint will be the initial start of your debt lawsuit. It will explain why you are being sued and what they are suing you for. If you live in Texas or the Houston area, then you will need to file a response with the Houston County Superior Court. First, you need to understand the process and know what steps to take to avoid a default judgment.
To know that you are being sued, the debt collector or creditor will “serve” you with a copy of the complaint. This is a summons that notifies you of being sued and provides you with information on how to respond.
The response is essential if you hope to avoid a default judgment. Default judgments are automatically given to collectors when the plaintiff does not respond. This judgment allows the creditor to demand you pay your debt, as well as legally garnish your wages and bank accounts.
To wage garnishment and a default judgment, filing a response with the Houston County Superior Court is essential. Typically you are given anywhere from 20 to 30 days to file a written response. This response is called the “Answer.” Expect to pay a filing fee, but if you are unable to pay you can request a fee waiver from the court clerk.
Preparing a formal response is essential. If the creditor or collector has violated the law, then you will need to include this in your response. Be sure to raise all affirmative defenses that pertain to your situation. These might include:
The statute of limitations is a time period in which you may no longer be sued for debt after a certain date. It varies from state to state, but in the state of Texas, the statute of limitations on debt is four years. This means after four years have passed since the original credit agreement, or most recent payment on the debt, you can no longer be brought to court.
This is one of the most powerful affirmative defenses that you can use. Although you will still be liable for the debt, you can no longer be sued or have your wages garnished from a judgment.
This is another powerful defense to use. The lack of standing means that a debt collector has no legal basis to sue you. Lack of standing typically means that there is no clear ownership of the debt (meaning no paper trail). The debt collector or creditor suing you must have proof of the sale or assignment of a debt from the original creditor to the debt collector, or the original credit agreement.
Failing to state a claim upon which relief may be granted means that there was no statute cited in the lawsuit. This can also mean that the complaint fails to state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action against you. If the debt collector states you owe on debt with no other information, failure to state a claim is a good affirmative defense to use.
If the debt collector or creditor has given false evidence or produced false witnesses, then you may invoke the doctrine of unclean hands. Technically this simply means that someone has lied, and you believe they cannot produce proof of their accusations.
Although this will not work as an affirmative defense when it comes to fighting a creditor, it does work when it comes to third-party debt collectors. The Federal Debt Consumer Protection Act ensures that consumers may not be harassed, bothered, or otherwise abused during the collection of debt. If these rules are broken, this can be used as an affirmative defense.
If you do not respond to the filing deadline, then you will be given a default judgment. This is the worst situation possible because you can have your wages garnished or bank accounts levied. This is why it is always recommended to find an affirmative defense that works for your situation and make a claim against the creditor. When in doubt, file a claim with the Houston County Superior Court and demand a paper trail.
SoloSuit makes it easy to respond to a debt collection lawsuit.
How it works: SoloSuit is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your answer. Upon completion, you can either print the completed forms and mail in the hard copies to the courts or you can pay SoloSuit to file it for you and to have an attorney review the document.
"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James
Here's a list of guides for other states.
Being sued by a different debt collector? We're making guides on how to beat each one.
Is your credit card company suing you? Learn how you can beat each one.
Need more info on statutes of limitations? Read our 50-state guide.
Need help managing your finances? Check out these resources.