Dena Standley | October 27, 2022
Summary: Finding out you are being sued over debt can be stressful, but staying updated on your case status will help ease the tension. Louisiana does not offer a comprehensive way to access all civil court records online–meaning you may need to visit the courthouse where the debt collector filed the suit to check the case status and access your records.
If you are already struggling financially, a lawsuit can worsen an already bad situation. Louisiana allows its citizens to access their court records mainly by visiting the courthouse where the lawsuit was filed. Only sixteen of Louisiana’s sixty-four parishes allow you to access your documents online.
Debt collectors know that most citizens are unaware of their rights and don’t understand how the judicial system works. This position is evident by their remarkable success rate when they take debtors to court. But you don’t have to be the one who loses your case to a debt collector. Today, SoloSuit will help you understand how the Louisiana judicial system works, how you can access your case records, and how to respond to a debt lawsuit in Louisiana.
Let’s dive right in.
The initial step to understanding the court system in Louisiana is to have an idea of how the courts are organized. Knowing which type of court has jurisdiction over your case will help you find your courthouse, know where you can access case files, and understand options available if you disagree with the outcome of your case.
Since debt collection lawsuits are considered civil cases, we will focus on the Louisiana civil court structure in this section, whichis comprised of several levels of courts as described below:
Your debt collection case most likley be heard in the City/Parish Court or Justice of Peace Court in your parish (county) under the small claims division. In the small claims court, you are allowed to represent yourself, but you must abide by the rules, including filing your Answer within 15 days.
You might feel overwhelmed at the thought of representing yourself in your debt collection case. Luckily, SoloSuit can help you draft and file your Answer by yourself in three easy steps, as explained in the following video:
Every court derives a case number using letters, numbers, and characters. The case number helps to identify each court record. Your creditors were assigned a case number when they filed the debt collection lawsuit against you; this is the number you’ll use to access your records.
You can find your case number by visiting the courthouse. The court clerk should provide this service for free, but they may charge you a small fee if you ask for any copies of the court records. Use this link to find your Parish Court location and this link for the Justice of Peace Court location.
To find your case number online, you need to register for an account with the Louisiana state-wide search tool eClerks LA and enter the details you know under the name search option.
Viewing your court records will help you prepare well for court and ensure the collection agency files the correct information. Louisiana allows you to access your court records in person and some parishes online.
The first step is to know the location of the court. To find your court location on the official Louisiana judicial website, you need to understand that each parish is under a judicial district served by a specific Court of Appeals.
Find out which district number your parish is in using this link and then go to the Official Judicial Branch website, hover over each circuit Court of Appeals until you see your district number. Click on the number, and you’ll be redirected to the website with the parish link or the court address.
Once you reach the courthouse, you'll be required to submit a written request to access the documents. The clerk will search the records for you, and you’ll pay a small fee to get copies.
Let’s discuss an example.
Example: Arnold had a debt with Telerecovery and had ignored their emails for several weeks. He received a lawsuit letter from them and knew he had to act fast or he’d find himself in big trouble. Anorld used SoloSuit to respond to the lawsuit, which included an attorney reviewing the Answer document and filing it on his behalf. Since Arnold planned to represent himself, Arnold needed copies of his case records. Hence, he searched for his court's location on the official Louisiana website and found St Martin Parish's court location under the 16th judicial district court link. The following day, he visited the courthouse and received a copy of his case documents.
Louisiana's eClerks LA tool for searching case records gives access to land, marriage, and some civil and criminal case records in 45 parishes. However, you cannot open the court records and view case documents unless you are a clerk. You may only access basic case information with this search tool.
Notably, some parishes have separate online access for their residents. Each portal has its method of enabling you to access your case records. But generally, you can access records using these options:
The following are the parishes that give access to court records online. All the portal services require you to open an account and pay a subscription fee.
SoloSuit offers debtors the opportunity to use superior documents to respond to a lawsuit, ask creditors for debt validation, or request them to settle out of court. Visit our resource-filled site and choose the best document that fits your current need.
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.
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