George Simons | May 17, 2023
Summary: You can use SoloSuit to wrap up your lawsuit in a hurry.
Check out our webinar. 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.
All right, it looks like we are live.
I'm George, I'm a founder of SoloSuit, and thanks for coming to our webinar today. We're going to go over some of the basics on how to respond to and win your debt lawsuits. Then we'll save a lot of time for questions and hopefully some answers.
I want to start off by saying a little disclaimer, right? I'm not a lawyer. I'm not a licensed attorney. I'm not your lawyer. SoloSuit isn't a lawyer. We're not a law firm. None of this is legal advice, and it doesn't replace the advice of an attorney. So there you go. Just a disclaimer attorneys required me to say so there it is.
I'm going to go ahead and jump into things. Just making sure everyone can hear me okay. Sounds like they can then. Our video is good. Looks like it is.
Okay, so just going over the basics how to resolve a debt lawsuit. Good news is, people who use SoloSuit enjoy about a 70% win rate, which is great. Usually without SoloSuit , people only win maybe like up to 10% of the time in their debt lawsuits. Usually they can't even manage to respond. What we mean by win rate here is sometimes these cases settle great. It looks like you can hear me. That's great. Sometimes the cases settle. Sometimes they get dismissed. Sometimes they continue in litigation. Sometimes the cases are ongoing, which we consider a win because sometimes people come to us because they want to file for bankruptcy later, and they're responding to the lawsuit to buy themselves more time.
As you are finding out, Debt sharks oftentimes exploit people. We sometimes use the real life example of Raquel. She's down on her luck suit for $1,000. She wants to respond to the lawsuit, but she finds out that an attorney will charge her like, $3,000. She doesn't have money for that. Then she tries to do it on her own, but she then finds out it's super hard to do it on your own. Right. She needs to generate the response — quite hard. And she finds out she needs to file it in court. She needs like, the mailing address, filing fee. A printer. Needs to use snail mail, oftentimes. And then fortunately for Raquel, she doesn't make her 21 day deadline and she loses her case. And practically overnight, that $1,000 debt balloons into $3,600 judgment. That's bad news for Raquel. But thankfully, you can change all of that and avoid that situation with SoloSuit , you can use us to respond to the lawsuit.
We make it super easy. Then we can help you file a motion to compel arbitration, which is most relevant in credit card debt lawsuits. And we can also help you settle your debt using our new tool, SoloSettle , which a lot of people like using. Those are some of the basics. Looks like we have some people sending questions in.
If you have a question, just put it into the YouTube chat. Hannah is going to probably respond by text and then also I'm going to respond verbally here in the video so you get the double whammy. Hopefully between the both of us we will give you a good take and help you along in your path.
So first up, Justin. Justin, I've seen your name around in the support channels for SoloSuit s. Usually if you email us at support@SoloSuit.com you'll get our support person. It'll probably be deja. She's great. We usually respond to people within about 2 hours or less, oftentimes during business hours. Sounds like you said you're having a hard time getting a response. You can also just chat with us on our website during business hours. And here you go. Here's some form of a response. I'm here happy to chat. Feel free to send us a question in the chat. Otherwise our support team will probably respond to you pretty quickly and get you all taken care of. Sorry for any inconvenience you're experiencing.
Sounds like you're probably wondering about something. Oftentimes people are wondering about the status of their case or whether or not their document was successfully filed at this point in time. A little insight on that. I don't speak to that very often, but oftentimes people so oftentimes they're current customers, sometimes they come to this webinar, sometimes it's new customers. But a thing that current customers oftentimes, sometimes experience is they're wondering what happens next in their lawsuit. Right? And I think some people might expect like the SoloSuit app to be able to tell them what's going on in their lawsuit, what's happening next. Unfortunately, just a little insight there the US government starting at basics is a federal government, that means you have the federal government, you also have state governments, 50 state governments, and then beneath the state governments, those are oftentimes federalized as well. So you'll have like county city governments and all of those can have their own court systems. So oftentimes every state has its own system. And then sometimes beneath that there's like different court systems as well. And all these court systems spend money on individual systems that are supposed to help out the people in court, but oftentimes they don't. Oftentimes they only manage to help out the plaintiffs or the lawyers using the system. They don't usually help out the regular people like us. So unfortunately it's really hard to get insight into the status of a case. Usually we have to file the documents by mail because courts don't make it easy and sometimes don't even allow consumers to e file. So we usually have to file by mail. And then once the document gets there to the court, the clerk at the court will decide to accept this document or reject it. If they reject it. Happens very infrequently for us. Definitely less than 5% of the time. Probably less than like 1% of the time a clerk will not accept the document. Happens frequently with attorneys as well. Even attorneys' documents get rejected sometimes. And if that happens, then SoloSuit takes care of it and we refile, change the things that need to change, get it refiled in court anyways. A little bit of a long way to say we wish we could tell people more easily, like, what is the status of their case, what's the next document happening in their case? But because courts can be difficult to work with and they don't really package up the data nicely, usually the best thing that we can do is we can give you a link or resources to go and find out from the court's website what's going on.
I'm going to jump into the next question here. Let's see. Glad to see the terminator is attending.
We got a question from Aaron: “I haven't heard anything for 90 days. After responding with SoloSuit, can I file for a dismissal?”
Interesting take. So, yeah, I see in the ongoing lawsuit group, that's where a lot of our customers fall, right? So you get the complaint summons, you respond with the answer document, and then after that, it's generally up to the collector to make the next move. A lot of our customers are hoping that the collector will dismiss the case or give up after the answer is filed. 90 days is pretty long. Usually we expect to see the collector do something, even if it's dismissing the case within about around like 30 days. 90 days is a pretty long time. So a few things might be happening. One, the collector might be waiting for you to move. It's a practice that we have documented and collectors have told us that they do it. They'll wait as long as possible after receiving the answer, hoping that the consumer will move. And then the collector can send the next document in the case to the old address of the consumer. The consumer won't know about the documents in the lawsuit, and then the collector can win the lawsuit without the consumer knowing and then garnish the person's wages. So that's the thing that happens. So if you do move, or if you have plans to move, you definitely want to file for forwarding with USPS or monitor that old address. They might be working on filing a dismissal. Sometimes collectors just take a really long time, like a very long time to operate. They might be working on the dismissal of the case. If you wanted to file for dismissal, you could try filing for a motion to dismiss for lack of prosecution. Telling the judge — a motion to dismiss like this would be a document filed in court asking the judge to dismiss the case in this case because there's lack of prosecution. In other words, "the plaintiff isn't doing anything on the lawsuit, so you should dismiss it". That's something you could do. You could also file for a motion for summary judgment and asking the judge to award you a victory in the case. That would also be interesting, and that'd be something that you could do there. So those are good options. You can also try to settle. If you feel like you owe the debt in some way, you can try to settle. All right.
The terminator: "Same. I just got a big bunch of documents with them asking the court for a court date. They sent the answer you guys sent, which some was blacked out. Now I got the documents asking to sue on June 1."
I'm not sure I'm super following that statement here. It sounds like you got a bunch of court documents asking for a court date. It looks like the answer looks like an answer. Like Solo Suit filed an answer for you. Then you got documents asking someone to see on June 1. I'm not sure. Terminator maybe you could give us some more background information. I'm a little bit confused on what you're saying there. And maybe phrase up a question with a little question mark at the end there and I can help you out.
Jenny: "If I take a settlement offer from the plaintiff, do I still need to file a written answer with the court?"
Great question. Great question. We would say generally yes. Though something that we see happen from time to time is the collector files the complaint and summons in court. The number at the top of the complaint and summons is like the number for the law firm. The consumer defendant calls the collector directly, gets a settlement agreement on the phone, thinks that's like an answer. Sometimes people think that is an answer to the lawsuit, and then they never file the proper answer, like capital a answer document in court. And then what happens is they'll go along and maybe they'll make a payment. Then the collector will kind of file a default judgment as soon as they can against the defendant behind their back because there's really nothing stopping them from filing default judgment against you. So, a few things. One, if you agree to a payment plan in a settlement, the collector will probably require you to agree to a stipulated judgment. And what that means is, depending on the court, generally speaking, how that will work is the collector will draft the settlement agreement with the payment plan details in it, and in the agreement it'll say if the defendant doesn't make all these payments according to this plan, then we will win the lawsuit automatically win no contestation. Usually collectors require people to agree to that if there's a payment plan in place. However, that being said, you can still file an answer. And oftentimes you want to make sure you get the settlement agreement in documentation to cover your butt from protecting yourself from the situation where, let's say you are making the payment plan, but they just file a default judgment for you because you never filed an answer, even though you are making the payment plan on check. You want to make sure you have a written documentation. Preferably in most situations, even you might want that filed in court. So long answer short. If it were me, I would still file an answer document in my lawsuit to protect me. And also after I file the answer document, I might be able to get a better settlement because I have more leverage. So if, like, a lawyer was representing you, they'd definitely file an answer, and after that, they would try to settle. So I would certainly file an answer, even if I had a payment arrangement as a settlement. I'd also make sure I'd get that settlement in writing and preferably make sure that is filed in court. Okay, let's see. On to the next question.
We got Altadena: “I've used SoloSuit to file a motion to compel arbitration in Los Angeles. Since it's to the collection lawyers, do I need to also send the paperwork to the court?”
Yes, you do. So make it the Motion to file a Motion to Compel Arbitration properly. Generally speaking, you got to send it to the lawyer. You got to send it also to the court. In California, I believe most courts are going to require you to e file the document, and they will require you to do some stuff on their website. Probably they'll require you to schedule a hearing to discuss the motion. So you wanted to make sure to do that properly. Also, I believe California charges like, a $60 fee to file a Motion to Compile. So just a little overview on court system. Generally, on the court process, generally, after you have the complaint and answer process, the next part, like a lawsuits, oftentimes things can progress in terms of motions. What happens there is the, let's say, like, one side files a motion, so the moving party files a motion, and then the opposing party files a counter motion. And then the moving party might file a memorandum for the motion, and then the opposing party might file a memo opposed to the memo or, like, a memo opposed to the motion or a memo supporting the counter motion. Something like that. So you have like, a motion and a counter motion series. That oftentimes progresses. That's just an important thing to note with that. A motion is asking a judge to do something. A motion is moving to do something in the case, and then the judge will weigh in on that. Oftentimes the judge does that in a hearing, right? So one party might file a motion party, another party might file a counter motion, and then in like a big trial on each of those, there will be a hearing at the courthouse where the judge will decide whether or not to go forward with the motion. So there's no point in making a motion unless you're sending it to the court. Right. So you definitely want to send it to the court.
All right, aaron picking up on Aaron again. So you're wondering if the plaintiff has a time limit to do the next thing.
Sometimes the answer varies widely from state to state. To really get your own answer yourself and get into it, you got to take a look at the rules of civil procedure for your state. You can probably find a link to the rules of civil procedure for I think Kentucky is the state you're in on our site. Or you can just search rules of civil procedure in Kentucky. You can take a look. It might be intimidating to look at the actual laws. You'll probably be able to understand them. He's got to look through the rules of civil procedure, and there might be a deadline in there for how long the plaintiff has to do the next step in the case. All right, moving on to jenny. "If I take the settlement offer and pay half of it, set up payment arrangements, what do I say on the written answer? What affirmative defense do I use?" It's an interesting take. Usually what people do is they'll file an answer first, and then they'll attempt to settle after filing an answer, because your leverage is higher after you file an answer. So, yeah, settling and then filing an answer next is a little bit weird. Again, I can't give you, like, legal advice exactly what tell you what to do in this situation, but generally speaking, generally speaking, I would likely deny everything in the complaint. Denying isn't exactly the same as saying it's not true. So saying I want the other side to prove this in court if we go forward to court. And then maybe you don't have any affirmative defenses if you're settling, so you could just kind of not worry about that. And maybe I would not assert many affirmative defenses, but if a lawyer was working for someone, they would definitely assert all of the affirmative defenses that they could, and then they would attempt to settle after that.
Altadana: "I called the LA Court, and they said that I need to arrange a new case with the court and pay 181. Should I take this information and add it to the MTD and send it to the collection lawyers?"
MTD? Do you mean like motion to dismiss? Maybe. I'm not sure why you'd have to open up a new case. That sounds like I thought you were trying to file a motion to compel arbitration. Sometimes the California courts, when you talk to them about arbitration, they think that you're asking to do court sponsored arbitration. But what our motion to compel arbitration requests is to do private arbitration because that costs the collector more money. We want to make it really clear that you don't want to do court sponsored arbitration. You want to do private arbitration. I'm not sure why the 181 is the standard filing fee for an answer that is an equivalent to small claims in California. I'm not sure why they'd be asking you to pay a 181 fee and make a new lawsuit. That sounds kind of weird. I don't think they're understanding what you want to do.
We got a question from Aaron. "What happens if the debt collector's attorney doesn't receive the answer via certified mail?"
Let's see here. So what happens if the debt collector's attorney doesn't receive the answer by a certified mail? If you use SoloSuit to file for you, you should definitely email us at email@example.com and we can resend it, or we can check in on the USPS tracking numbers, et cetera. The unfortunate reality here is that USPS isn't always the best at their jobs. They mess up mailings from time to time. Also, their tracking numbers don't always work. Their tracking system doesn't always work. Sometimes they'll report errors on tracking numbers on certified mail. If you're using SoloSuit, sometimes that happens. Sometimes it happens just on your own. It happens all the time. So generally speaking, if you have proof that you mailed the answer to the right address, which we do, I mean, SoloSuit makes sure that we have proof when we send out the answer. For me, that would be, like, sufficient. If it were my case. However, you could certainly send the document again. Or if you're using SoloSuit, you can request that we send the document again. We can look into it, see if it's necessary. But rarely do we see, like, an issue here today. I've never seen a case where the defendant lost because the lawyer didn't receive the answer document properly. I've never seen that situation. It's a technicality that oftentimes we don't really see mattering or factoring in very much into these lawsuits. Most of the time the lawyers are going to actually they might give the document in the mail, might not even look at it. It usually going to get updated by the docket by looking at the docket online or looking at the docket on court, not so much as the document that they receive in the mail.
Okay, jumping through here. We got a few minutes left on this call, so I'm just going to try to cruise forward a little bit more. Let's see.
Aaron: "is there a form SoloSuit provides for a motion to dismiss?"
We have a couple of templates that are a little less common that you can get from us if you email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Might want to try doing that. We don't have, like, a paid service for a motion to dismiss. We do have it for a motion to compel arbitration, and the reason for that is that most of our customers are usually wanting to settle. Some portion of them don't want to settle because they don't, like, owe the debt or they just want to fight it. That's kind of our thought process there.
Tamara. What's up Tamara. "Can I do all the steps George just mentioned through SoloSuit ? Like the motion to dismiss?"
Just, I guess repeating myself there. We don't do a motion to dismiss, but usually the process that most of our customers go through is they get sued for debt. They have a complaint and summons or petition and citation. They use SoloSuit 's answer service. They'll generate the answer document on our site. We'll have an attorney review it. We'll file it for you in court, and then you can send an offer to settle on SoloSettle . We can help you get this case settled, or alternatively, if it's a credit card debt lawsuit, you can also file a motion to compel arbitration. That's the process most of our customers are going through. Okay, let's see.
Also, Dana: "I have 45 days to reply. Is that 45 days from when I received the papers from a server?"
Most of the time, yes. Usually the deadline starts ticking from the date that you receive the documents, not the date that the plaintiff filed the documents in court.
Tamara: "how long after I send the answer should I wait before sending the settlement request? If it were me, I'd probably do it, I'd probably do it right after completing the answer on our website. So I'd go onto our website, complete the answer document, I pay for it, and then I'd go over to the sole settle page and send an offer to settle. That's how I would do it.
Aaron: “They have replied with nothing. I asked the court if they had so many days, and she said no. I asked, Can I file a motion for dismissal? Then she said, I can't tell you what to do. No legal advice.”
Yeah, just a little insight. Having been someone [in your shoes], before I went to law school, before I graduated from BYU Law School, I found myself in a spot where I needed legal advice from people, right? It was actually my first year of law school. I bought a car that turned out to be a lemon. It was a used car. It died three days after I bought it. And I needed an attorney to help me out, but I couldn't find one. And I thought, if I'm going to build in full of attorneys who can't help me out, who else out there can't find an attorney to help them out? So then we ended up making a SoloSuit. But I talked to some lawyers and I talked to people, and everyone said, oh, I can't give you legal advice. I remember even a law professor actually was, like, talking to him in his office about the situation. He was like, of course I can't give you legal advice. I have no idea why everyone said that all the time.
But just to clarify, it's because of regulations, right? So the practice of law is a highly regulated field, and because of that, nobody who isn't. A lawyer can give legal advice, like legal advice. So that's why people say that. That's why the clerk said, I can't give legal advice. That's why they won't give you legal advice, because they're not your lawyer. But it can be a frustrating situation. That's why we have a lot of self help information on our blog. So you're always welcome to check out our blog and get deeper answers on questions.
All right, moving on here — Catherine: "I sent my collector's attorneys a letter with the settlement request and offer. Didn't hear back. What's the best way to go about settling?" You might have used the debt lawsuit settlement letter. We've phased out the debt lawsuit settlement letter. You might have sent a letter on your own. Instead, we're using Solo Settle now. It's more online, and it helps us track things and get better outcomes for customers. So if you haven't made an offer on SoloSettle , you can go back and make an offer on SoloSettle Now. It's just solosuit.com/solosettle. It's one of our products. That'd be a good option. If you don't want to do that, you're always welcome to — most collectors are set up to receive phone calls. You're welcome to make a phone call.
However, we've had collectors tell us, admit to us that the reason they do phone calls is so that they can lie to consumers, and there's not a record of it, as if there were on an email. Certainly not all collectors are doing that. Some collectors are great people and doing good stuff, and it's also harder to negotiate on the phone. So if you can negotiate on email, I would try out email first, and then if they aren't doing that, then, yeah, make a phone call. Phone call is probably the place where you get the quickest response. So you could certainly just make a call and then make sure if you agree to a settlement, make sure that you get it in writing and preferably get it filed in court. All right.
Terminator: “So I asked you guys to send an answer, and you did, and now it's been months, and they just sent back the answer papers to me along to the court asking for a court date for June 1.” Okay. Not sure I'm following. I’m not exactly sure, but it sounds like we filed the answer for you. And then they set a court date. So that's like, a common outcome, right? So usually, again, not like a case naturally progresses as you get a complaint summons, the person files an answer. There might be some discovery, there might be some motions, and then there's a court date. The natural outcome of filing an answer is for there to be a court date. If you don't file an answer, then you lose automatically, and then they garnish your wages. So getting a court date is better than that outcome. I might have to show up in court if you're in Florida, you can hire an attorney through a partner of SoloSuit. You can email us that and we can get that to you if you're in Florida. If not, you're probably going to have to show up at the hearing yourself. If you don't show up at the hearing, you'll lose the case. Or you can try to settle before that with SoloSettle. All right. Hopefully that's helpful.
Carolyn: “I received the conference date for a court after I filed an answer document. Should I meet with their lawyers or can I get SoloSuit to negotiate for them? So I received the conference date for court. Should I meet with their lawyers or can I?”
Carolyn yeah, so if you're in Florida, you can work with us to get an attorney, show up for you in court. If you're not in Florida, you’ll have to show up on your own. Or you can try to hire another attorney. You definitely want to make sure you show up to the conference. You want to bring documentation, you want to have a game plan. You can watch some of our YouTube videos to figure out how to make sure you're prepared for this.
But generally speaking, you just want to say you can ask them straight up if it's a debt buyer. You can ask them straight up, like, how much did you buy this debt for? If it's, like a $5,000 debt, how much did you pay for it? Did you pay for 10%? And then from there, you can determine how much money you can pay. You can work out a settlement arrangement with them. I'm confident carolyn is something you can do yourself if you need to. You can get it done yourself for sure. If you want to settle before then, you can try using SoloSuit.
All right, we got Al: “I filed motion to compel arbitration, and it was denied because the amount of the lawsuit was taken to small claims. The clause does say that if in small claims, court cannot arbitrate.”
All right. Sorry to hear that, Al. That's a real situation. That's in several arbitration clauses. Hannah if we don't mention that on our blog, we should probably add that actually on some of the stuff we talk about arbitration, that's a pretty common provision. Certainly not in all of them, but sometimes it is in there. That's an important part of the process, making sure you qualify for arbitration when you're filing that document. Sorry to hear that, Al. Hopefully you can continue winning or find a way to win in the regular court. All right.
Jenny: “Would a screenshot of the payment plan found online in the offer letter be enough to file with the answer, or do I need an actual document?” I'm not sure what you mean by file with the answer. When you're filing an answer, you don't need to file any exhibits or any additional document. Usually people don't. Usually the answer is just about denying the complaint. You don't want to reveal more information than you have to in the answer. I'm not sure if you mean filing the payment plan in the offer letter as the answer. That would definitely not be like an answer. An answer is a capital “A” Answer document. It needs to be properly formatted in response to the complaints, like a specific formal legal document. So I would file if there's a complaint, I file an answer, and then I'd work on settlement after that.
Okay, moving on, moving on.
We got a “thank you” from Catherine. Thank you, Catherine.
That's pretty much time on this webinar.
Looks like we've gotten most people's questions. If I didn't, then I think Hannah did. We got lots of people viewing today, so thanks for coming out to the SoloSuit webinar.
Now we're doing about every week on Wednesdays at 05:00 P.m. Mountain Time. If you have more questions next week, feel free to come back by. If you have any friends who are being sued for debt, hopefully you don't, but if you do, send them our way, please. Can be awkward about talking about that, getting sued for debt sometimes, but please spread the word if you can. Tell your friends, tell family.
A lot of people get sued. About 10 million people get sued for debt every year in the US. And an additional 60 million people have debt in collections every year in the US. So that's a significant percentage of the population. I believe that's around like 20% of the population of the US. Have debt in collections. So you guys are not alone.
As always, we are rooting for you. I hope you guys win. Definitely doing everything we can to help you win your case. If you have any other questions, feel free to reach out to us or come back.
Disclaimer: George is not a lawyer. SoloSuit is not a law firm. This webinar is not a provision of legal advice but is only a provision of legal information.
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.
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.
You can ask your questions on the SoloSuit forum and the community will help you out. Whether you need help now are are just look for support, we're here for you.
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.
Out Debt Validation Letter is the best way to respond to a collection letter. Many debt collectors will simply give up after receiving it.
"Finding yourself on the wrong side of the law unexpectedly is kinda scary. I started researching on YouTube and found SoloSuit's channel. The videos were so helpful, easy to understand and encouraging. When I reached out to SoloSuit they were on it. Very professional, impeccably prompt. Thanks for the service!" - Heather