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Q&A: How to Resolve Your Debt Lawsuit (June 14, 2023)

George Simons | July 05, 2023

Edited by Hannah Locklear

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.

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Transcript begins here

Alrighty, looks like we are live, right on time. We got a few people here watching the webinar this week. Thanks for showing up. Thanks for being here. Good to see you guys.

I'm George. I'm a co-founder of SoloSuit. And today I'm going to show you some of the basics on how to resolve your debt lawsuit. There we go.

So I'm just going to go over some of the basic ideas here, and then we're going to reserve most of the time for Q and A. So be able to ask me all the questions that you have. Hopefully we give you some answers before we get going.

Just want to make a big disclaimer saying that I am not a lawyer, I'm not a licensed lawyer, not your lawyer. SoloSuit isn't a law firm. We don't provide legal advice. This webinar doesn't replace the advice of an attorney, et cetera. I say these things because of regulations and practices. Law is a highly regulated field. So that said, I'm going to go ahead and jump into things. All right? So all right.

How to resolve a debt lawsuit

Some of the basic ideas that you want to keep in mind are that things kind of progress along these lines, right? So you get a Complaint. A lot of you guys are here probably because you received a Complaint on your doorstep or in the mail, someone handed it to you, something like that. There's usually a Summons with the Complaint. All right?

The Summons tells you that you're being sued for debt. Complaint tells you why you're being sued. These go by different names depending on where you are. It might be called a Warrant in Debt, might be called a Petition and a Citation, something along those lines. Okay?

So then once you receive the Complaint and Summons, you need to file an Answer document in court. It's a capital A, Answer document. This isn't just like a regular form. It's not like a little note you can hand draw and send it into the court. It's a formal legal document. It's got to be formatted properly. You got to respond to the Complaint appropriately, and then you got to file it in court and mail a copy to the opposing party, to the plaintiff's attorney. You have to do that all by the deadline. Otherwise you automatically will lose your lawsuit by default judgment.

Most people come to us for an Answer document. That's why most people come to SoloSuit. We make it real easy to get an Answer document filed ASAP.

So once you file an Answer, what most people are going to want to do is they're going to want to settle. Because a lot of people, if you legitimately owe a portion of the debt, probably the best way to get that wrapped up is to settle it. So if you're being sued for $10,000, you could settle. You could offer to settle for like $4,000. Maybe the collector will accept that just to wrap up the full amount of the debt. All right? And we have another product called SoloSettle. You can use SoloSettle, make an offer to settle and even get all the payments wrapped up and everything for your lawsuit.

And sometimes if you are in a credit card debt lawsuit and you don't owe the debt, then you might want to do our Motion to Compel Arbitration to get the lawsuit pushed out of court into arbitration.

And then one more thing. Right now we're offering SoloSettle Premium. We might not always be offering that. It's a huge opportunity you can jump on, really the best way to just get your whole lawsuit wrapped up. So once you file an answer, you can sign up for SoloSettle Premium. Hannah, at SoloSuit, she's going to put the link into the chat.

You can go over, you just fill out a few questions on our website and then you'll make an upfront payment. And then we'll have a law firm represent you completely in your case. Like, they'll file any other documents for you. They'll show up at your hearings or at a trial for you, and they'll actively work to get the lawsuit settled for less. And they're going to be able to get a better rate oftentimes than a consumer because they've been doing this for 20 years. Plus they have the connections, they know the people, and they can get you like the best rate on settlement. So that's just a general idea, right?

Of course, outcomes aren't guaranteed or anything. There's the link in the chat. You can go over to, then SoloSettle, fill out the questions, and then once you're done, you'll click a link to make a payment upfront to engage that law firm. All right?

Those are the basics. If you guys have questions, just go ahead and put them into the chat and then we can get going. All right? So whatever questions you have, whatever you want to know, put it into the chat here and then we will respond. All right?

Q&A section begins here

Is it better to settle a debt or compel arbitration?

Viewer Question: I used your service to answer the Complaint. I can't be in court on the date. Would it be best to try to settle or try arbitration? Credit Management is coming after me for $3,000.

George: Wow, okay. Yeah. Midland Credit Management sounds like who you're talking about. They're a big debt collector. Just looking at a report, I think it was around, they recovered like $1.6 billion last year in the US. So they're a big collector covering a lot of money for people. The best way to get this wrapped up.

So you used our service to file an Answer, and the best way to wrap that up is to go over to and click on SoloSettle (from the products dropdown menu). The link can I put in the chat, fill out that form, and then pay the upfront amount for SoloSettle premium, and then we will actively get that settled on your behalf. That's like the best way to get that thing wrapped up.

I wouldn't worry about doing an arbitration unless you don't owe the debt. If you don't owe the debt and they're still trying to come after you, an arbitration can be a good way to up the ante and get the case dismissed. Otherwise, settlement is probably going to be the best option for you.

Does SoloSuit help with e-filing?

Viewer Question: If I pursue the paid standard option for approximately $50, will you be able to e-file an answer in Cook County, Illinois, as this is required here? I don't want to settle.

George: Yeah, we do e-filings in Illinois all the time. E-filings are required in all the courts across Illinois. We even have team members in Illinois, so we're very familiar with the state. No problem getting that e-file. That's what we do for you in Illinois.

There's usually a filing fee that we calculate for you that the court charges in Illinois, unfortunately, but we calculate that for you, to make it easier to get the document filed. Also in Illinois, if you start an Answer and then you select the response to a lawsuit, then you select the premium option. We do have an attorney partnering attorney that reviews the document and even does, like, a 15 minutes phone consultation with you regarding your case. So those are good options there.

And then if it's a credit card debt lawsuit right, and you don't want to settle or there's an arbitration clause in your contract, you can try filing a Motion to Compel Arbitration.

How much does SoloSuit cost?

Viewer Question: What is the upfront amount for the premium?

George: Hannah, if you wouldn't mind correcting me if I'm wrong, the prices are subject to change, but I believe right now the premium is $247, which is a deal compared to the price that you'd have to pay for an attorney to represent you during litigation.

Oftentimes a litigation attorney charges around $1,000 upfront, like retainer, maybe up to $3,000 to get started on the case.

What if the attorney doesn’t respond to my settlement offer?

Viewer Question: What if the attorneys don't respond to the settlement letter?

George: All right. Yeah. So you might have used our Debt Lawsuit Settlement Letter. It’s a product that we actually rolled up into SoloSettle to get better results for people.

If the attorney doesn't respond to the settlement letter and you haven't made an offer on SoloSettle yet, I recommend making an offer on SoloSettle and then upgrading to the premium service so that we will actively get it settled for you.

Other options, you can try calling them yourself. You can send another letter again. You can try emailing them. Usually the law firms are just kind of busy, and if you don't talk to them in the way that they are expecting you to talk to them, they might not respond. But if there's a hearing coming up and you have to show up in court, make sure you bring a copy of the settlement letter and show proof that you attempted to settle. Oftentimes judges like to see that that might be something that's helpful. All right, so just a quick note here, right? If you don't want to settle, that's going to put you into, like, the MCA.

When is the best time to file a Motion to Compel Arbitration?

Viewer Question: I'm helping my mother with the lawsuit. We submitted the response, and they filed a court date for early 2024. Should we wait until closer to that before submitting for arbitration?

George: Generally speaking, you can submit for arbitration kind of anytime in the lawsuit. Most of the time, what's normal is you file a Motion to Compel Arbitration right after filing an Answer. So if there's a lawyer representing you, they probably file a Motion to Compel Arbitration right after filing an Answer. Maybe, like, the next day. I'm not sure exactly what the benefit would be to waiting.

Maybe you'd be waiting to see if the case fizzles before then. But if there's not really anything that needs to happen before that trial, then you might as well try to file now and either go through arbitration or that they dismiss it after you up the cost of the collection. Um, so usually again, usually this connection between the MCA and the Answer, you usually file an Answer first, then you file an MCA, like, right after that.

Watch the following video to learn more about how a Motion to Compel Arbitration can help you resolve your debt:

Can debt collectors take my car?

Viewer Question: Target is suing me. Will they be able to take my car? I'm a single mom of two with many doctor appointments.

George: Okay, so it depends on what they're suing you for. If Target is suing you for a credit card that is, like, from Target. No, I don't really see a path to them taking your car as a result of this. If you have an auto loan from TD Bank or like TD Auto, then, yeah, they could end up taking your car kind of in relation to this.

Generally speaking, let's say you're sued by Target for a Target credit card that's backed by someone, maybe that's backed by TD Bank. Then you lose. Let's say you don't respond. They'll file a default judgment against you. You automatically lose your case, and then they will file a writ of garnishment.

So let's say you got the Complaint and Summons. Let's say you don't respond. Then what happens next is they get a default judgment, which is a judgment means the case is over. It's a judgment, like a final ruling from the court. Default just means, like, it's a default loss. You lose by default, and then they will get a writ of garnishment against you, and they'll file some documents with your employer, and that'll let them collect up to 25% of your monthly income.

So, like, a check for 25% of your income will go directly to them instead of to you. And they will also try to get a lien against your property. Not exactly sure, but I believe they can get a lien against your car. Usually it's against the house. So, like, if you have a house and they have a lien for $10,000 and when you sell that house, $10,000 from that sale will go directly to the collector instead of to you.

I think it can operate the same way with a car, although I'm not entirely sure. And that is like a way that maybe they'd get to your car. But again, that's not really a direct way. Right. It only happens if you sold the car. If it's an auto loan, however, yeah, they're probably going to try to repossess the vehicle and then after they repossess the vehicle, they still sue people for the difference between the sell value of the car and the total amount of the debt or the loan. Right. So like, you might have gotten a vehicle loan for $10,000. They take the car, they repossess it, then they sell it for only $5,000. They'll still sue you for that 5000 difference. Right. And that is like a pretty common thing.

Unfortunately, auto loan debt is really high right now in the US. And a lot of people are victimized by subprime auto loans where that's kind of like their business models to do that kind of thing.

I don’t want to settle my debt—can I still win?

Viewer Question: With premium, can the result be $0 owed? I won't settle.

George: Yeah, the result can be $0 owed. Right. So let's say again, you just file an Answer. Let's say you don't even do an MCA. Let's just bring this out and down here. So you file an Answer, you don't want to settle. Then what can happen next?

So oftentimes, I was just looking at the numbers earlier today. I believe, based on one research report that we've done in our own data, about 25% of cases get dismissed just by filing an Answer. Maybe that doesn't sound like a lot, but maybe it does sound like a lot. Really? It is a lot. It's a significantly high number.

So if you get sued for debt, use SoloSuit to respond, file an Answer—25% of the time the case just gets dismissed. Pretty mind blowing to people who are in this industry that there's such a high dismissal rate. That's because oftentimes the collector can't prove that you owe the debt, oftentimes the person doesn't owe the debt. So the case might just get dismissed and that would mean that you would end up owing $0. Right. So if the case is dismissed, it pretty much is just a win for you.

Usually it happens if the plaintiff files a motion to dismiss their own case and then the judge grants it and then the case is over and you don't owe any money, sometimes they can still try to collect on you for the debt outside of court. Sometimes they can bring another lawsuit if it's dismissed without prejudice.

What if my debt is past the statute of limitations?

Viewer Question: I'm in NYC, if I lose, I'll owe $853. It's dragged on since 2019. Should I fight or settle? I think it's past the statute of limitations.

George: Let's just look it up real quick. We have a handy statute of limitations calculator for SoloSuit. If you, like, Google statute of limitations solo suit, you'll find it. So I'm just going to let me do this, and I'll share my screen with everybody. So here we go. Statute limitations calculator. So you just plug in New York. Sounds like this is probably a credit card debt for $853. I'm not sure. And basically what you do is you just plug in the last date that you made a payment.

Statute of Limitations Calculator

Select your state.

Choose the debt type.

Select the last day you made a payment.

The Satute of Limitations

This calculator is for educational purposes only.

You're saying it has dragged on since 2019. Let's say you made a payment in, like, January 1, 2019. Click the calculate button here. This is the main thing we're looking for here. So the statute of limitations for credit card debt in New York is three years. So the statute of limitations has expired if you made a payment in 2019. So if that's the last time you made a payment in 2019, then yeah, it's probably expired because it only lasts for three years. So, usually the statute of limitations expires or starts running after the last from the date that you last made a payment.

So generally speaking, to win a case on the statute of limitations, what happens is you get the Complaint and Summons and then you file the Answer, and then hopefully the case gets dismissed because you bring it up in the Answer, you bring up the statute of limitations defense. Right. So you have to click the right button on our website, make it pretty easy, and then we'll bring up the statute of limitations defense in the Answer for you.

And if you don't file an Answer, then no one will care that the statute of limitations has expired. You have to file an Answer to win. And then they'll either get dismissed or you go to a hearing. And that's kind of like a trial. Like you the judge and the plaintiff's lawyer, and you say, hey, judge, statute of limitations expired. This is the day I made a payment. Statute of limitations is this in New York? Let me know. Case should be dismissed. I should win. That's the general idea. If the test of limitations hasn't passed. Yeah, settling is probably a good move. All right.

How long should I wait to try debt settlement after filing an Answer to my debt lawsuit?

Viewer Question: How long do you suggest we wait from submitting your Answer to try and settle? Because I typically respond after the answer.

George: So once I file an Answer, I would go immediately and settle. So if we're me, I'd fill out an Answer document on our website, and then right after that, I would go and fill out SoloSettle, and then I'd make an offer to settle. That's what I'd do. You want to file after an Answer.

Notice that, after an Answer, because that's when you have the highest leverage. If you wait too long, they might file another document in the case, and then you have to respond to that before you really get leverage back to settle.

Can SoloSuit help you resolve debt of any kind?

Viewer Question: Is this effective for any non-secured debt, credit card or daily advanced high interest commercial loans?

George: Yeah, people use SoloSuit primarily for unsecured credit or unsecured debt. So that includes, like, credit card debt, medical debt, primarily. But sometimes people also use us for student loans, mortgages, auto loans, et cetera. And also with the unsecured debt? Yeah, usually personal loans.

So our top two categories are actually credit card debt, personal loans, and then after that, it's like medical debt. So, yes, you can use this for any of those things that you're mentioning here. You mentioned a commercial loan if you're a business, if the defendant is a business, depending on the state, you might need an attorney to represent you in court. Some states legally require businesses to have attorneys in a case. So, again, if you're a business, you need an attorney oftentimes, but not always.

We had, like, a business settle the other day on SoloSettle, settling like a business debt. That works sometimes.

How do I find the opposing lawyer’s information?

Viewer Question: I'm being sued for money owed. I went online to SoloSuit and began to fill out the required boxes. It's asking for the name of the lawyer in their office. No lawyer, just plaintiff filed.

George: Interesting. Yeah. So if you're filling out an Answer document, and also if you're doing a SoloSettle, basically the idea is the same. If there is no lawyer listed, then you just list the plaintiff again, basically. You just enter the info for the plaintiff.

Usually what we're looking for, it's usually in the top left corner of the Answer document, and that will have, like, the party of who's filing. If it's a business that might be representing themselves. Right. Like, it might be like, Midland Funding representing themselves, put in the Midland Funding info again. But usually if it is a business, there'll usually be a lawyer within the business that you'll want to put down for the lawyer's name.

Also, if you're confused about it, you can do the premium service for the Answer, and we'll have an attorney review the document for you and let you know if any changes need to be made.

Is it too late to respond to my debt lawsuit?

Viewer Question: I have a court hearing on June 22. Is it too late to pursue?

George: On our site, it says it takes between, like, one to eight days to file. Like, honestly, like, a standard e filing right now is the fastest. So if you do a standard and then you do e-file. Yeah. Good chance to be able to file that for you within one day. Even if you do, a premium might be within like, just a little bit over 24 hours. I will get that filed for you. I think you have plenty of time to get that filed.

Also in Illinois, we help you do the notice of appearance, which is required in all courts, I believe. In Illinois, we get that taken care of or you with the paid packages.

Can I be sued for more than the debt I owe?

Viewer Question: It seems like it would be worth it for them to settle. When you are being sued, can the amount balloon up due to lawyer fees?

George: If it's a prolonged battle in court and it never settles, yeah. So when you're being sued, I think you're asking a couple of questions here, but the main one is lawyer fees.

So usually what happens with lawyer fees, if you're sued for the debt, let's say the debt is $1,000, like the principal. Then they'll usually add on interest on top of that. So let's say that gets you up to $2,000, and then usually the plaintiff will add on lawyer fees or attorney fees, and that might be like $300 to $500. Now suddenly you're being sued for $2,500.

Usually a defendant tries to start off with a settlement stance of forgetting about the lawyer fees and just starting with the principal plus interest. But the plaintiff wants to sue you for the lawyer fees and get paid for those. If you don't respond, they'll definitely win the lawyer fees by default judgment, and then they'll try to garnish you and collect all the fees. That's one big reason why you want to respond.

And then how it normally works is that the loser—and this is just in lawsuits generally not always, but generally—the loser pays for the lawyer fees.

So if you're being sued and the lawyer on the other side pays like $500, then the plaintiff pays like $500 to a lawyer for the lawyer to file the case. Then you lose the lawsuit. Then you'll have to pay for the fees. If you win the lawsuit, then you won't have to pay for the lawyer fees. And, yeah, it can balloon up every time another document has to be filed that'll increase the lawyer fees. They have to show up at trial, that will increase lawyer fees, et cetera. Some states, it really varies from, like, area to area. Sometimes there's a cap on lawyer fees. So that's the thing to consider sometimes.

Can they garnish child support?

Viewer Question: Can they garnish child support?

George: Hannah I think we have some articles on that. I never remember exactly the answer there. I think it varies from state to state. I believe that they can in some ways. I mean, some states will allow them to garnish your bank account directly rather than your wages. In that case, I think that they'd probably be able to get child support, but I'm sure sometimes I think that sometimes they can't.

But something to keep in mind here is that if you make income in the future and let's say you lose the lawsuit, the judgment is good for ten years and it's usually infinitely renewable. That's a pretty key idea here.

So judgments are renewable. Not always, but usually they'll last for about ten years. People can kind of infinitely renew them. So if you make money at any point in time in the future, they'll be able to collect on those wages, even if they can't collect on the child support right now.

How can I verify that I owe a debt?

Viewer Question:I got a collections letter for an ambulance ride from seven years ago. They think I live in New York, where statute of limitations is six years. Should I send the debt verification letter request or take a different approach?

George: Yeah, if you got a collections letter, then a Debt Validation Letter is usually a good way to go. If you want to settle, you can make an offer to settle. You can try using SoloSettle. Even though it's mostly made for debt lawsuits. You can certainly try to make a settlement offer. The debt probably isn't too high. Maybe it's like a few hundred dollars, maybe it's a few thousand dollars. I'm not sure. Yeah, you can try settling.

Or if you don't want to settle, you can send a Debt Validation Letter and we have the Debt Validation Letter on our site. You can generate it and then mail it out to them.

To learn more about how Debt Validation Letter can help you avoid going to court, check out this video:

What should I do if the statute of limitations on debt is expired?

Viewer Question: After 13 years, I'm now being sued for debt. What should I do? The statute of limitations has expired.

George: Yeah, I don't know of anywhere that has the statute of limitations. That's like over 13 years. That's a long time. Generally speaking, you just want to file an Answer and assert affirmative defense statute limitations being expired to make it easy on our website and then file that in court and hopefully it gets dismissed.

What is the best way to contact SoloSuit?

Viewer Question: Hi, I emailed you guys. Please let me know if you guys got it. I only have 15 days to submit my Answer to California court.

George: Yes. The best option here is to chat with us on our website or probably just email us at Our support team usually responds in about 2 hours. On average, like two to 3 hours. So we'll let you know. And then Vinny is probably working on your case. And yeah, we deal with FW-001 fee waivers frequently, so I don't see any reason why we get that taken care of for you.

Should I deny owing a debt?

Viewer Question: Is it best to deny all complaint entries in this case?

George: I would pursue the premium package, yes. One of the main things, the premium package does is it has an attorney review your Complaint against your Answer to make sure that you've denied or responded appropriately. Usually an attorney is just going to deny all. It might be a little bit more nuanced than that. Usually an attorney is going to deny all the allegations in the answer, but ultimately, it's up to you. Since we don't represent you, we're not your lawyer. It's up to you to decide how to do that.

Can I be sued in the wrong state?

Viewer Question: The letter included disclaimers that they're required by New York to state the statute of limitations may have expired. I'd like to take advantage of them thinking I'm there, if possible.

George: Yeah, maybe the lawsuit is supposed to be in New York anyways, right? If you got the debt while you're living in New York, it's possible the lawsuit should be there. And if they didn't bring up the statute of limitations, but they should have, again, you can use that against them in some way. Maybe you have, like, a counterclaim that could get tricky or just more leverage to settle.

Can SoloSuit help me set up monthly payments to pay off my debt?

Viewer Question: Regarding my mom's lawsuit, what if she is not ready to pay a settlement right now? When a settlement is reached typically, how quickly can payments do?

George: So if you're doing the SoloSettle premium, so if you fill out the SoloSettle form and then you upgrade with the upfront payment, then in that situation, we can arrange monthly payments for you where, say, you don't have the full amount right now, you have settled for $1,000. You could break it up as like, $100 payments across ten months or something like that. With regular SoloSettle, we can't do it for you. And usually collectors are going to want to get paid in about 30 days. If it's a lump sum payment, if it's monthly, then whatever. They don't care that much.

SoloSuit is rooting for you

All right, thank you guys. Appreciate it. You're the reason that we do this. We're here to help you all sincerely hope that you win your case. And you can always know that SoloSuit is in your corner. We're here to help you guys out. All right? So thank you all. Take care. Enjoy the rest of your Wednesday. And hope, hope we can help you get back on the right track to resolving your debt lawsuit.

What is SoloSuit?

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.

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

>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit. (We can help you in all 50 states.)

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How to Beat a Bill Collector in Court

Not sued yet?

Use our Debt Validation Letter.

Out Debt Validation Letter is the best way to respond to a collection letter. Many debt collectors will simply give up after receiving it.

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It only takes 15 minutes.

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