George Simons | August 16, 2022
Summary: If you're being sued for a debt, filing a demurrer is can help you communicate to the court that the other side's case is invalid. Here is SoloSuit's guide on demurrers, how you can use them to your advantage, and other tips on dealing with debt collection lawsuits.
Demurred is the past tense of the word demur. In the legal context, to demur is when one party asks the court to dismiss a case due to insufficient evidence. This doesn't necessarily mean that the allegations brought by the plaintiff are not true. Instead, it means that even though these allegations are true, they lack enough evidence to establish a valid cause of action.
The term demurred is often used in debt collection lawsuits, particularly by the defendant, also known as the person being sued. However, before we discuss how this term fits in a debt collection lawsuit, let's first analyze the circumstances that could lead to demur a claim.
When you owe a creditor a debt, they might contact you to remind you of the outstanding balance. Most debt arrangements have a ‘grace period' that allows the borrower to pay the debt if they can't make a payment on the agreed date. For example, if your creditor requires you to make monthly payments every last day of the month, they may offer a grace period of five days. Technically, it means you have up to the fifth day of the next month to pay what you owe as per the loan agreement.
If you don't make a payment by the agreed date, the creditor will contact you to try and find a solution. They'll send you emails, letters, or even call you to remind you of the skipped payment. However, if they fail to get a hold of you after some time, usually around 150 days, the creditors could decide to sell off the debt to a debt collection company.
So why do creditors sell the debt account to collections? It's mostly because creditors don't have the time, skills, and resources to recover what you owe them. While they might have the money to loan you, they may not have mechanisms to pursue the loan if you default.
But on the other hand, debt collection agencies are usually well-equipped with everything they need to pursue a debt account. For this reason, they buy debt from creditors at a fraction of the original price and then follow up with the borrower to recover the debt in full or partially.
Since it's business like any other, your debt might switch hands between different agencies several times before anyone contacts you. And when they finally contact you to inform you about the debt, they'll most likely want to work things out with you.
When a debt collector or creditor contacts you to recover the debt, you shouldn't be quick to negotiate a repayment plan. Instead, it's always good to remember that the law protects you against certain debt collection practices. Negotiating a repayment plan means you acknowledge that you owe the debt.
Suppose the debt collector files a lawsuit against you to recover the debt. In that case, the most important thing is to request them to prove that you owe the debt. Although this step is often underlooked, it is a game-changer.
When you ask the other party to prove that you owe the debt, they are legally obliged to do so. Most attorneys recommend filing this request because it allows you to verify the debt and buys you time to plan the best way forward.
You can request a debt verification by sending a Debt Validation Letter to the collector.
Watch this video to learn more about debt validation:
When the other party presents you with evidence that you owe the debt in question, you may be surprised to find out that they're mistaken. Here's why:
The plaintiff's bookkeeping is erroneous.
Let's assume that the statute of limitations on the debt account has expired. This means that the debt collector or creditor cannot legally pursue the debt. Although you're not disputing that you owe the debt, you've observed that the other party lacks any legal basis to sue.
In that case, you'll file an objection to the lawsuit. This objection is known as a demurrer.
When you file a demurrer, you're basically informing the court that the case is not worth their attention because there is lack of evidence or the pleadings are erroneous. Therefore, the best option is to have it thrown out of court. If the judge grants the demurrer, the other party will not have any legal reason to pursue the debt you allegedly owe.
Millions of cases end up in courts every year. These cases create backlogs in the corridors of justice. To ensure that the court only attends to valid cases, a demurrer helps save the court's time and money.
It's also important to note that sometimes, the court might deny a demurrer by granting the plaintiff more time to provide more evidence. However, in some situations, it is unnecessary to deny a demurrer. For instance, if the statute of limitations has already expired, it won't matter whether the plaintiff has enough evidence to sue the defendant.
Responding to a debt collection lawsuit can effectively change the course of the case to your advantage. As mentioned earlier, not every lawsuit filed by a creditor or debt collector is valid. You may never know your legal options if you ignore such lawsuits. Instead, dismissing the lawsuit without following the proper legal channels signifies that you're responsible for the debt. The first step to winning your debt collection lawsuit is to file a written Answer to the case.
To avoid paying what you don't owe or losing your wages via a garnishment order, SoloSuit can help you draft and file your Answer with the court and plaintiff's attorney in three easy steps.
Learn more about these three steps in this video:
SoloSuit makes it easy to fight debt collectors.
You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, to send letters to collectors, and even to settle a debt.
SoloSuit's Answer service is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your Answer. Upon completion, we'll have an attorney review your document and we'll file it for you.
"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
You can ask your questions on the SoloSuit forum and the community will help you out. Whether you need help now or are just looking for support, we're here for you.
Here's a list of guides for other states.
Being sued by a different debt collector? Were 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.