Sometimes to win your case you need to become an expert at filling out forms.
Summary: Have a debt collector who stepped over the line when trying to collect your debt? You can file your own complaint with a PLD-C-001. Here's how to fill it out.
If you are being harassed by a creditor or debt collection agency and were served with a debt collection lawsuit, you can “go on the offensive” and file your own Complaint. In California, there are specific forms that need to be completed and filed to commence a civil action, including the PLD-C-001 series of forms. If you have questions or concerns about how to fill out a PLD-C-001 form, this article offers insight and guidance on the appropriate steps you need to take.
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Where to File Your Lawsuit
When you learn how to fill out the PLD-C-001, an important consideration is where you are planning to file the civil action. As the plaintiff, it is vital that you know which court to file your lawsuit with because not all courts can hear and determine your case. For example, courts have particular "jurisdiction" over specific types of disputes. There are also different state courts and federal courts.
For a court to have jurisdiction, you have to file your lawsuit in a court that falls in one or most of these categories:
- The county where an accident or wrongdoing that is the subject of a lawsuit took place
- The county where the property (land) that is the subject of a lawsuit is situated
- The county where the defendant resides at the time of filing the lawsuit
- The county where the contract that is the subject of a lawsuit was supposed to take place
There are two classifications of Limited Jurisdiction cases depending on the number of damages being claimed. The first classification is for cases worth $10,000 and below. The second classification is for those with damage claims between $10,000 and $25,000. Cases worth more than $25,000 are classified as Unlimited Jurisdiction and are usually set for a Case Management Conference.
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When a Civil Action Begins
Generally, the lawsuit begins when you learn how to fill out the PLD-C-001 form, along with a few other court forms:
- A Civil Case Cover Sheet: This is a document containing basic information about the case. Information covered in this document also includes the type of case you are filing, your name and that of the defendant, and the kind of relief you seek. A Civil Case Cover Sheet is mandatory for all cases.
- A Summons (SUM 100): This is a notice informing the defendant of the lawsuit filed against them. A Summons is also mandatory for every case.
- A Complaint (PLD-C-001): This is a form explaining the alleged harm (namely breach of contract) and the amount you are seeking in damages.
While the Summons and The Case Cover Sheet are mandatory when filing your lawsuit, you can file a Complaint on a Pleading Paper or by a Judicial Form.
Here are the relevant PLD-C-001 forms:
- Complaint- Contract (Form PLD-C-001)
- Cause of Action- Breach of Contract (Form PLD-C-001 (1))
- Cause of Action- Common Counts (Form PLD-C-OO1 (2))
Lawsuits have to be filed within a specific time-frame. The legal term for this time-frame is "Statute of Limitations." Once this timeline has passed, the Statute of Limitations is said to have expired. If the Statute of Limitations has expired, you cannot file a lawsuit.
For example, in California, you should file a Breach of a Written Contract Lawsuit within four years. You should file a lawsuit on Damage to Personal Property within three years, and you can make claims against a Government Entity within six months.
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Filing Fees for Civil Lawsuits
Different fees apply to different types of lawsuits. Usually, the court will have a fee schedule to guide you on how much you need to pay to file your lawsuit. You may also apply for a fee waiver if you qualify.
How To Serve the Defendant
You can serve a defendant in one of these three ways:
- Personal Service: When using personal service, the defendant receives the Complaint and the Summons in-person.
- Mail Service: Using mail service means you will mail the Complaint and the Summons to the defendant.
- Service by Publishing: To serve the defendant through publishing, you will have to seek a court's permission. The court will grant permission if you have tried reaching the defendant through personal service unsuccessfully.
To seek the court's permission to serve the defendant through publishing, you will use a Pleading Paper. When using Service by Publishing, you should publish the Summons and the Complaint in a newspaper that the defendant is likely to read.
After serving the defendant with the Summons and the Complaint, you must provide the court with evidence by filing a Proof of Service.
When filing a lawsuit related to an alleged breach of contract, you need to fill out Form PLD-C-001. The Judicial Council of California offers fill-in-the-blank PLD-C-001 forms so if you have concerns about how to fill out the PLD-C-001, do not fret. The fill-in-the-blank forms are extremely user-friendly and accessible to the general public. Once you fill out the PLD-C-001 form, make sure to file the form with the appropriate court and ensure the form is filed within the applicable statute of limitations.
What is SoloSuit?
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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.
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>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate
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