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Q&A How to Resolve Your Debt Lawsuit (April 19, 2023)

George Simons | May 22, 2023

Summary: You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, file a Motion to Compel Arbitration, or settle the debt before going to court. Join our live webinars to ask your own questions about how to resolve a debt lawsuit.

The following is a transcript for one of our webinars. In it, SoloSuit's founder George Simons responds to live questions from consumers.

Disclaimer: this post is not legal advice. George is not a lawyer.

Transcript begins here

You. Alright, we're going live. It's about time to get started. 05:00 where I am let me just make sure that everything is good to go on my end. Thank you to everybody for being here. Looks like folks are joining. All good to see everybody. All right, I'm just going to go ahead and get going. We're going to talk about how to resolve a debt lawsuit today. Just going over some of the basics. Let's see. All right, just reviewing the basics here.

How to resolve a debt lawsuit.

Already a lot of people get sued for debt. The good news is that with SoloSuit, about 70% of the time people are able to win. Meaning they are able to get a settlement or they're able to get the case dismissed or something along those lines. This allows debt sharks to exploit people, unfortunately.

So taking a real life example, let's say somebody gets sued for $1,000 debt. They want to respond, but they aren't able to do so on their own. They try doing it on their own, but they find out it's super complicated to file a document in court. So then they missed their deadline, and then practically overnight, $1,000 debt balloons into $3,600 judgment. And that's not great. But at SoloSuit, we can help you out by helping you answer the lawsuit by filing an Answer document in court. We can also help you compel arbitration with a Motion to Compel Arbitration document. It can also help you settle your debt with SoloSettle. All right, those are some of the basics.

We got a couple of people here. I think I'd like to just dive into questions that people might have. So let me take a look. If you have a question, just go ahead and put it into the chat.

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Q&A section begins here

Viewer Question: Do you guys offer a payment plan for your services? Are funds required upfront?

George: Good question. We don't offer a payment plan for anything at the moment. Kind of how the pricing works on some of our products right now. Things are subject to change. Right now, how it works is we have the Answer document. That's what most people are coming to us for. The Answer document. You can do it for free. You can generate your document for free. You just answer the questions online. You get to generate a document at the end free. Most people pay us to file the document form because the document is worthless unless it's filed. It's super hard to file. So you can do the standard package, which is usually around $50. And we calculate the filing fee for you. About 25% of states charge a filing fee. Most of our customers are in California. The filing fee in California ranges from like one hundred and eighty one dollars to four hundred and fifty dollars. We calculate that for you. That's a big reason why people go for the standard and then the premium service. That's around $250. Again, these prices are subject to change. And yeah, it's $250. We don't offer any kind of service plan. We do accept credit cards. We accept credit cards. We accept Apple Pay on some of our services. Yeah. Debit card, credit card, and then solo settle.

Maybe you're talking about a payment plan on SoloSettle. Right now, if someone wants to settle the debt, they can make an offer through SoloSettle. But we just do lump sum payments. We do lump sum payments because that is usually getting the best deal for the consumer. So you can make an offer to settle the debt for if you're being sued for, like, $10,000, you can make an offer to settle it for $1,000 as a lump sum within 90 days. That's how it works on SoloSettle. We don't do payments at this point in time.

Viewer Question: How do I make a motion to dismiss? I already filed an Answer through SoloSuit.

George: Great question, Mark. Motion to dismiss is a document that a lot of our customers want. It's not necessarily going to apply to everyone's case. A lot of times it might not apply. But if you're hiring an attorney, there's a good chance that an attorney would just, like, file a motion to dismiss as habit on pretty much any case, no matter what. If you email us at support@solosuit.com, then one of our support people can send you a document. It'll probably be Deja sending you a document that's like a little bit more of an old school template. You'd have to fill out some, you have to fill in some of the blanks, and then you can get that motion to dismiss, and then you can file it on your own. And oftentimes it's a good move to do that, so go for it. Also, before we get into this much further, I do need to disclaim that I'm not an attorney. I'm not your attorney. I'm not licensed to practice law anywhere. This isn't legal advice. I'm just providing some legal information. And there you go. So my advice does not, this information does not replace consultation with an attorney. And many of you should probably try to consult an attorney as well.

Viewer Question: I submitted a motion for arbitration, and I received a response from the lawyer stating the following: “Motion to stay proceedings pending defendants initiation, outcome of arbitration.” They asked the court to ask me to file for arbitration.

George: Yeah. And that's cool. It's a pretty common outcome. Most credit card agreements, again, will require that the plaintiff pay for arbitration, but since the defendant in this case filed a motion for arbitration, then it's kind of up to them to move things along. You might receive some documents, like some courts ask you to select an arbiter or select an arbitration organization or something like that. This might want to move things along on there and then arbitration oftentimes is a lot easier to navigate than civil court. Ideally, the plaintiff will actually ask for the case to be dismissed because they don't want to pay or go through with arbitration. Just keep the ball rolling, and just remember, it's probably easier than civil, like going up through a civil court.

Viewer Question: If I don't move the arbitration along, will it go back to the court, or should I wait for the plaintiff to make a move?

George: Fair question, Rob. Not sure about the answer on that one. It's a pretty nuanced question. Depends on the states. It depends on the state that you're in. Depends on a lot of situations. I think that most of the time, if a party in court doesn't do something that the court has requested them to do, then the court might rescind the motion, or they might cancel whatever that action is. So, yeah, I'd say that it probably is a risk that it might go back into regular court if you don't continue moving the ball forward on arbitration. But again, you want to look into that more yourself.

Viewer Question: Elizabeth, when can I expect a response from my Answer to the summons?

George: Usually in our database, we see responses, we see lawsuits wrapping up around between four to six months after the complaint is filed. Usually I tell people they can't expect a next move from the collector within about a month, but really, the range is really broad, right? I mean, they could, they might not respond to the answer for several years. In actuality, sometimes the court, if they don't respond, if the plaintiff doesn't keep things moving forward, the court might dismiss the case for lack of prosecution, but might not. Some collectors we've spoken to have told us that they have the practice of filing a complaint and then if they receive any answer back, then they won't do anything on the case for as long as possible, hoping that the defendant moves in that period of time and then they can send the next document to the old address for the defendant, hoping that the defendant moved and they won't receive the next document. And then they'll default and lose their case. So it just kind of varies. And that's why, in most situations, it's a good move for a consumer to offer to settle the debt. You can make a settlement offer using solo settle if it does settle, it usually provides the cleanest wrap up for the case and keeps things moving along. Right. If you make a proactive offer to settle. All right. Hannah, for a Motion to dismiss, I think we might just have a template for motion to dismiss on our drive. That's, like, standard across all states. You might want to check that one out.

Viewer Question: Elizabeth, what do I do next after filing the answer?

George: Yeah. Most people want to go over to SoloSettle on SoloSuit.com and they want to make an offer to settle the lawsuit.

Viewer Question: How long does it take for you to generate documents?

George: It doesn't take us any time to generate documents. It takes us a few milliseconds because the computer program is doing it for us, for you? For the user. An answer document usually takes about 15 minutes or so. We ask you a few questions, you give us some answers, we generate the document for you. And then other documents are shorter. Everything else is shorter than the Answer. You might do. Like Motion to Compel Arbitration, Debt Validation Letter. Those are more like five minutes or less even.

Viewer Question: What do I do if I do not owe anything?

George: Right. So you're not alone in that situation. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, about 50% of the time, people say they're being sued for debt they don't owe. Right. So quite a few people are sued for money. They say they don't know that they probably legitimately don't know. If that's the case, then you file an Answer. If you want to get more serious about it, you can file a motion to dismiss requesting that the judge dismiss the lawsuit and basically declare you the winner because you don't owe the debt and because the plaintiff can't can't prove that you do owe the debt. That's a good move. You can file for arbitration, possibly just want to keep tabs on the docket. If there is a hearing or a trial that comes up on your docket, then you want to make sure that you show up with that. Just make it really clear that you don't owe the debt. Right. Bring any records you have available. Prepare yourself. Your main line of argument is saying the plaintiff has to prove that I owe the debt. They can't prove that I owe the debt because I don't owe it, therefore I should win the lawsuit. That's the general idea there to do your docket.

SoloSuit has some great blog posts that have the links to search your case online and find your case on your court's website. So if you search, like Case Search Florida SoloSuit on Google, then that'll take you to one of our blog posts. You can click that, and then you can click the link in the post that will take you to the appropriate Florida website. And where you can search your case number and then find the docket. The docket is basically just the schedule and the history of the case, has the documents on it, has upcoming events, sometimes on it, et cetera. You want to look at that because sometimes you might not get the documents in the mail, sometimes they might not actually send them to you. Sometimes you might move or something. Sometimes you might miss them. Sometimes your son might accept them and then throw them out.

Viewer Question: Does one need to be sued in order to use SoloSettle? Can you offer settlements on old debt?

George: All right, Birdie. Great question. Right now, SoloSettle is designed for people in lawsuits. You could kind of use the system and tweak it to your needs. If you have a debt that you want to settle that isn't in a lawsuit yet. Basically the only thing that would need to change is that instead of entering a case number, you would enter an account number, like the actual account number for your credit card debt or something along those lines. And then, yeah, you can make an offer. We're hoping to expand SoloSettle to help people pre lawsuits. Right now, it's designed for people in a lawsuit.

Viewer Question: Can you offer settlement on all debt?

George: Yeah, I don't see why not. We've seen debts get settled even after a judgment is entered, even after the defendant lost the case, things can still get settled. Even if their wages are being tarnished, they can still settle. Carlos here, do you all help with settlement as well once an answer is received? Yeah, definitely. That's what SoloSettle primarily helps with, is helping people settle a lawsuit once an answer has been filed.

Viewer Question: Are you all to battle the debt settlements and or connected to SoloSettle?

George: Not sure I follow you exactly. Here we are connected to Solacettle.

SoloSuit is the company that owns SoloSettle, which is one of our products.

Viewer Question: Our court date was pushed up to next Friday for oral arguments and a motion against summary judgment. Is there anything I can do to win this prepare?

George: Great question. So let me just try this out. Get a little whiteboard here. So your court date was pushed up the next Friday for oral arguments and a motion against summary judgment. Is there anything I can do to witness? Basically what you're saying is that you have a hearing coming up. Let's see. Yeah, so you have a hearing. Basically, the main thing that people want to do in a hearing is say the collector can't prove it. Right. Any, that's the main line of argument on most of these lawsuits. Yeah, just saying the collector can't prove it. Right. Because the idea, the legal idea here is that the burden of proof is on the collector. So it's up to the collector to prove that you owe the debt. It's not your job to prove that you don't owe the debt. They have to prove that you do owe the debt, and oftentimes they can't do that, right? Maybe the collector bought it from someone else. Maybe they don't have the proper contracts, et cetera. That's the path to winning in most cases.

Motioning for summary judgment, that's a great move to begin with, right? A motion for summary judgment is just the document that you send into the court. It asks the judge to rule in your favor because the other side doesn't have a case. That's the general idea. You might want to review motion for summary judgments and review why those are granted. Usually you have to make a pretty good job of saying that the plaintiff just doesn't have a lawsuit against you at all. Like they might not have standing, like they're suing the wrong person, something along those lines.

Viewer Question: If I buy the premium package, are those all included?

George: So the premium package, what it includes, I'm just going to draw on here, right? So premium people buy it for a few things, right? You get the document, so you get the answer. Doc then you also get the attorney, the attorney review. That's what most people are buying the premium for, right? So have an attorney review the document. Basically make sure that you answer all the information, right? Make sure that you aren't admitting something that you should be denying. So that's attorney review and then filing. So we also file it for you. Filing is honestly the hardest part about this whole process. It's like near impossible to file a document on your own in court. Very difficult. You got to find out like, mailing address for the court or you got to go down in person. You got to talk to the clerk on the phone, which usually the clerks are pretty difficult to talk to. Don't get paid to be nice, unfortunately. Maybe they do get paid, but they aren't necessarily nice on the phone to people. And then oftentimes you got to calculate the filing fee, which is pretty difficult, right? And in California, we would determine it's pretty much impossible to calculate the filing fee as a consumer.

In lots of cases, SoloSettle isn't included in the premium, right? So you do the Answer, you pay for the premium, then you do SoloSettle set up differently where it's free, totally free to make an offer. So really nothing to lose to make an offer. And then you only pay us if we save you money, basically if it settles. So for SoloSettle, you pay 19% of the total amount of the debt right? Now, again, price is subject to change. If you're watching this later at some point, and you only pay that if there is actually a settlement.

Viewer Question: Can we check the docket on our case?

George: Yeah. Again, you'll just want to search your state, SoloSuit, and, like, case search and find our blog post, and hopefully you'll be able to check that on your case somewhere online. If not, sometimes you just can't find the case online. You might have to call the court or go down to the court in person.

Viewer Question: I sent all proof to court showing they sold the account. The plaintiff came back a day before the hearing and said they deny it, the debt was sold, and that me being on Social Security is no excuse to not pay the debt. It’s the only debtor I've ever had to sue me when I was laid off during COVID. This has been a nightmare.

George: Yeah. Good job sending in all the proof to the court. We're with you. We're here to support you. I hope you win your case. You send in all the proof. I guess I'm not sure what that means. Right. Usually you don't show any proof to a court until there's actually a hearing. So just an idea here. The answer doesn't equal your story, so you aren't, like, putting in your story or like, the reasons why you don't owe the debt in the answer. It's really just a place to respond to the issues brought up in the complaint. Usually the defendant isn't bringing up their own stuff, so I'm not sure if that's what you did, but usually evidence is brought up in a hearing and a trial in person. In most of these cases. Sometimes you might be able to send it in beforehand, an SS. Sometimes I'm not exactly sure on that one, but my recollection is that in some states, SS, and some situations, SS kind of can be garnished. Sometimes it can't. Maybe Hannah can send you some more information on that one. Again, sorry to hear about your situation.

Viewer Question: What is the filing fee for New Mexico?

George: I'm not sure offhand, I think that there are no Answer filing fees in New Mexico.

Viewer Question: I answered the lawsuit. We didn't check any of the boxes, as I didn't understand them. Just sent in the Social Security statement stating that they couldn't get any money from me, so I tried to sue me.

George: Yeah, right. Indeed. A good statement. Right. I think sometimes people there's this idea of being judgment proof that gets around, right? Usually, in almost no situation are people judgment proof. But sometimes, basically, a collector might see you now, even if you don't have any money right now, because once they get a judgment against you, the judgment is most of the time, like, infinitely renewable. The statute of limitations, or the expiration of judgment might be in, like, ten years. But in most states, debtors can then renew the judgment after the ten years is up. Or when the ten years is up, they can renew it for another ten years, kind of indefinitely, so that if you make money or have any property, any point in the future, they'll be able to collect on that puts people in a tight spot.

Viewer Question: I sent in all the collection letters that I received today, and the zoom hearing is tomorrow. How can I prepare?

George: Okay. Main thing, Tammy, honestly, I'm surprised by how many people don't show up to the hearing. We have people who say they're going to show up to the hearing, and they don't. I just definitely want to make sure you don't miss that hearing for any reason. People do lose straight up because they don't show up at hearing sometimes. So you just want to make sure that you get on that zoom, make sure your computer is, like, plugged in, make sure your battery is not going to die, make sure your Internet connection is good, make sure you show up. I think I was talking to one customer, sadly, I was going through a hearing, but she got a police ticket. She got a speeding ticket on the way to the hearing, and she missed her hearing. That's too bad.

Viewer Question: Do I file an affidavit with a motion to dismiss?

George: It kind of depends on a variety of factors. I think in most cases again, I'm not an attorney legal advice, but in most cases, you would file an affidavit, or at least like a memorandum in support of the motion. Kind of how things progress, right? How the motion process progresses. If someone files a motion asking the judge to do something with the motion, they might file an affidavit, which is like, essentially a testimony from one person, probably from yourself in this case. And then you might also file a memorandum, like, supporting the motion. Memorandum would lay out your argument for why the motion should be granted, like site laws, cite case laws, et cetera. And you file all those things, usually at once with the court and then the other party, the nonmoving party, if they care, they might respond with a motion opposed to the motion or counter motion, and then a memo and an affidavit of their own. And then if it's like a big case, the judge might have a hearing on the motion where the judge hears everyone else's oral arguments for it and then makes a decision.

Viewer Question: How do I file a counter suit for time and money lost from time spent in court, at hearings and on laws?

George: Yeah, that'd be pretty sweet. Usually in most situations, you have to file a counter, a suit usually called a counterclaim around the same time that an answer is filed. If you get too far into the case, then you usually lose your right to file a counterclaim. But maybe in some situations, even still, you could still probably try filing a new lawsuit if you wanted to. Or you can try filing it, and then the new lawsuit might be dismissed at some point in time. There's a website called Sue the Collector that helps people out. We don't necessarily have, like, a relationship with them, but they do help people sue the collector. Usually what you're looking for is an FDCPA counterclaim is what you're looking for. So you can sue a collector for $1,000 for every violation of the FDCPA. You can also try suing them for, like, bringing a frivolous lawsuit. If they're suing the wrong person, you could try suing them for bringing a frivolous lawsuit, something like that. You might be able to win money from there.

All right, good to see everybody. Thanks for showing up. Glad you're here. We're going to call that a wrap for tonight. Again, I hope you all win your case. And again, I'm not an attorney. This isn't legal advice. Might want to consult with an attorney as well. And good to see everybody. Sincerely help you win your case. Bye.

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