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Countersuing a Company: A Step-By-Step Guide

Daniel Martin | October 19, 2022

Countersuing a company is like ^^

Summary: If you've been sued for debt and you feel like you are actually the victim in the case, you can file a counterclaim and sue right back. Here's a guide, from SoloSuit , on how to countersue a company or debt collector.

>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit

If you're in a business dispute and both parties can't find common ground, it usually leads to a lawsuit. If you are the one being accused, you may sometimes feel like it was actually the company that did you wrong. If this is the case, can you sue the company that is suing you?

The short answer is yes, you can file a civil lawsuit against the company. But, before doing so, you need to know how it works. You need to learn about the procedure and if it is the right choice for the situation that you are in.

But to warn you, it can get expensive in the long run. Pre-settlement cash advances are available, but if you don't have a good case, it may not be worth it in the end. This article will help you understand countersuing and the things you should know about it. It will also guide you on how to file a countersuit.

Know these things before you sue a company for suing you

A counterclaim is a lawsuit that you file in the same case against a plaintiff. The courts require that you file the counterclaim at the time of the original lawsuit or risk losing it permanently. You can also file counterclaims in a separate or later case. Counterclaims are a big part of civil litigation. That's why it's important to understand them.

Here are some of the things that you need to know about counterclaims before you file one. These include some terminology, filing dates, and the resources you need, like a pre-settlement loan.

1. There are two categories of counterclaims

Counterclaims can be categorized into two categories: compulsory and permissive. This section will give you a rundown of what constitutes these two counterclaims.

A compulsory counterclaim is made when the claims are logically related to those of the original case. When that happens, they raise the case in the same lawsuit. And when a counterclaim does not emerge from the same transaction as the plaintiff's claim, it is permissive. This means that the claim is not logically related to the claim's facts.

You can choose if you want to file a permissive counterclaim in the same lawsuit. Doing so means the counterclaim has facts to support it. Filing it in the same case means you can avoid spending more time and money on two separate cases. It's also more effective to address all claims in one action.

2. You need enough resources for the lawsuit

It can be expensive and time-consuming to file a lawsuit. Not to mention the emotional exhaustion you may feel during the trials. When you want to file a lawsuit against a company, you should consider the time and cost it will take.

The legal system is slow. Even if you expect a settlement, it takes 1 to 3 months for the money to arrive. And if you don't have the financial resources to see it through, countersuing is not your best option.

Luckily, there's a solution to this. Some lawsuit loan companies offer pre-settlement funding (lawsuit loans) for situations like this. And some also allow you to receive settlement loans on the same day you file a case.

Let's consider this example.

Marsha was sued by a car insurance company, stating that she was to blame for the accident. But Marsha believes that it was not her who was at fault. So, she wanted to file a counterclaim. But, because of the injuries she got, she needed to pay her medical bills.

With pre-settlement loans, Marsha can get funds before a case ends. This way, she can cover her medical bills while also having enough funds for a counterclaim.

If you plan on getting one, make sure you have all the documents required of you. The legal funding group will want to see your medical records and information about your case from your attorney.

Winning the lawsuit means that the settlement loan company will receive the amount you were given. This is in addition to the interest and costs you and the company agreed upon. In most cases, you will not owe anything if the lawsuit does not resolve in your favor.

3. You should have a valid legal theory

It's important to recognize that you can't sue someone for suing you. Angry litigants who represent themselves usually make this mistake. When suing another party, you should have a valid legal theory. Being outraged over a lawsuit is not enough grounds for a counterclaim.

Additionally, you can't sue someone for anything that happens during litigation. For example, there is an on-going trial for Billy's case. He was sued for not paying his debts to the company he got the loan from. In his testimony, John, the debt collector, claims something about him that may be defamatory.

As much as Billy wants to sue John, he can't because John is covered by the litigation privilege. But, he can file a lawsuit if John makes a defamatory comment outside of judicial action. For example, making the same claims to the media can be a valid basis for suing John.

4. Know when you can file a counterclaim

The time to respond to a lawsuit depends on where you are. In the US, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure say you can file a counterclaim within 21 days. The counting starts from the date you get your Summons and Complaint to file your Answer.

Read and understand everything in the Summons and Complaint before you respond. For each jurisdiction, state and federal courts have standardized "response to Complaint" forms. There is usually a space in these documents for a counterclaim. You can also use SoloSuit's Answer form to draft your own response in less than 15 minutes.

If possible, file your counterclaim with the Answer to the Complaint. If you're short on time, you can ask for more time by filing a motion with the court.

Steps to counter sue a company

If you plan to file a counterclaim, you should expect that the other party may want to dismiss it. Filing it correctly is important to your case. Having an attorney draft your counterclaim makes sure that it has the right format and all of the required information.

It will also help your case if you know the steps you will take to countersue a company. These include:

  1. Looking up valid grounds for your counterclaim
  2. Creating a counterclaim form
  3. Filing a counterclaim
  4. Paying for any filing costs
  5. Serving the counterclaim to the opposing party

In this section of the article, we will break down each of these steps. Make sure to read through to the end to know what to do should you need to file a counterclaim.

1. Look up valid grounds for your counterclaim

Before you file a counterclaim, you first need to look up your state's civil code. Check for specific provisions that you want to cite as grounds for your counterclaim. You can find the document by searching online for "common law principles." You can also do this by contacting the clerk of court.

2. Create a counterclaim form

You can file a counterclaim in several states using a standardized form. There are also examples of counterclaims filed by others on the internet. You can look them up for inspiration. If you're not using a form, make sure you identify the party and what they are accused of doing wrong.

State the circumstances of the incident as specifically as possible. In most cases, you will number the claims you have against the company and give your facts in that order.

3. File a counterclaim

Give a copy of your complaint to the clerk of courts at the same address where the plaintiff filed the initial lawsuit. You can file your counterclaim at the same time as your response. Make sure you have a copy of the counterclaim and have it saved for your records.

4. Pay for any filing costs

Lawsuit funding can be costly. The court where you filed the counterclaim will determine the filing fee. You can look online or call beforehand to find out the charge for your court. Filing fees usually depend on how much the claim is. For example, in New York, the filing fee for a $1,000 claim and below is $15.

5. Serve the counterclaim to the opposing party

You need to deliver a copy of your counterclaim to the opposing party after filing it. Then, the other person should respond in the same manner as you did. You can serve a copy of the counterclaim to the other party's counsel if a counsel represents them.

You or your attorney can call the other party and ask if they will accept the service of process for their client. If they accept it, you do not need to serve the opposition party.

There are instances where there is no attorney representing the opposing party. In this case, you should use a different technique to serve the counterclaim. You can not directly serve the opposing party. Check your state's legislation on how to serve an answer and counterclaim. Generally, your options will be:

  • Certified or first-class mail: Tell the clerk you want to serve via certified or first class mail, and pay a fee. You cannot send the defendant a copy of the counterclaim yourself.
    • Personal: A personal service happens when you hand a copy of the counterclaim to the opposing party in the lawsuit.

Make a counterclaim against a debt collector

Debt collectors are notorious for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Under this law, consumers are protected from aggressive and abusive debt collection practices. Here are a few example of debt collection tactics that are in violation of the FDCPA:

  • Using obscene or profane language in emails, during phone calls, or other correspondences
  • Calling you prior to 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m. without your permission
  • Calling you at work when your employer prohibits such communication
  • Threatening to harm you or members of your family physically
  • Threatening to harm you or members of your family financially
  • Discussing your debt with your friends or extended family members

If you are a victim of any of these debt collection practices, you may be entitled to compensation of up to $1,000 per violation. If the debt collector has sued you, filing a counterclaim might be your best route to get them off your back and earn the compensation you deserve. Follow the steps listed above to file your counterclaim.

Final thoughts

Some people are afraid of filing a case against an assertion. One of the major reasons is that it takes a lot of time and money to see it through. Knowing and understanding how counter suing works will help you decide if you want to file one.

It also helps to get pre-settlement loans from reputable lawsuit loan companies. These settlement loans are one way to start your counterclaim. Not only that, but some companies offer express funding that can get you a fast lawsuit cash advance. And should you ever have trouble answering a summons, SoloSuit's answer form is just what you need.

What is SoloSuit?

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.

Respond with SoloSuit

"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

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>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate

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