George Simons | November 15, 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.
My name is George Simons. I'm one of the co-founders of Solosuit, and I'm here to help you guys out.
I'm going to be going over some of the basics on how to win and resolve of your debt lawsuit today. I'm going to go ahead and jump into things. Looks like we have a lot of people here, so I'm going to go ahead and get going.
We're just going to go over some of the basics first and then you can ask any questions you want. Just put your questions into the chat. We reserve most of the time for Q&A, honestly. So go ahead and get those questions into the chat early.
We have a lot of people here, so you can put those in right now if you want. And I'm going to go over some of the basics. All right. Happy Wednesday, wherever you might be in the US or the world. All right.
So usually what happens is you get a Complaint and Summons. Sometimes those are served on you personally. Sometimes people get them in the mail. Sometimes people get them at the wrong address or an old address, something like that. And then what most people want to do is use our debt Answer. So they want to respond with an Answer document to the lawsuit. That's where SoloSuit comes in.
People use our service, SoloSuit, to respond to the debt lawsuit. And then also what people want to do next. Oftentimes once they file an Answer, they want to settle the lawsuit.
For people who feel like they legitimately owe the money, to some degree, they want to settle.So then we have our service called SoloSettle for that one.
And that works really well, especially our SoloSettle Assist. We call it SoloSettle Assist, but It's actually the same cost as regular SoloSettle. You can use that to settle.
Right now we're partnering with a law firm where you'll work with them directly and they can actually fully represent you in your case. Take care of any additional documents, any hearings after your Answer, and then they can get that settled for you. A pretty sweet deal, seeing some really good results on that one.
We've seen people save thousands of dollars and settle for much less than the full amount of the debt. So seeing some real good stuff going on there.
All right, those are the basics today. Looks like we got some questions coming in, so let me go ahead and take a look at these questions.
Viewer Question: I used your answer template to answer a credit card debt complaint today, the complaint on number one and number two states the information of the parties.
Your Answer template produced the response as “defendant denies the allegation in paragraph one and defendant denies the allegation in paragraph two.” Just want to make sure that is correct.
George: Yes, Lawrence. On this webinar—a disclaimer up front—I'm not an attorney. I'm not your attorney. SoloSuit is not a law firm or an attorney. Our customers use our service as a self-help tool to generate their legal documents in their cases.
So nothing in this webinar is legal advice or should be construed as legal advice. That's a disclaimer I give. Because of regulations on the practice of law. One of the things we don't do on the webinar is like, apply law to really specific facts in people's cases.
The question you're bringing up is one of the reasons why we have the attorney review. A lot of people go for the SoloSuit Debt Answer premium package, where they can get a lawyer to review the document for them. That's one of the things the lawyer does for you.
Generally speaking, lawyers will oftentimes recommend denying any of the paragraphs in the complaint, denying them in the Answer. So generally speaking, denying stuff, even like the parties, et cetera, isn't a bad practice.
Some judges might like it if those things that are obviously true aren't denied. But usually a lawyer will deny everything. All right, just going to make a note of that here.
Denying all is okay. What you're saying is that you want the other side to prove it. You aren't necessarily saying it's untrue. You're just saying, well, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff, so they need to prove this.
Viewer Question: Can they win a suit against me if I have no property and live on Social Security income only?
George: All right, kind of a question you're getting at here is essentially, am I judgment proof? All right, our take is that judgment proof is mostly a misnomer.
So you're saying you have no property, you live on Social Security. Sure. So if you plan on having no property or income ever again in your life, then in that case, yeah, you might be judgment proof. There's really nothing for them to collect ever again in your entire life.
If you plan on making money, having assets again sometime in the future, then, no, you probably aren't judgment proof. That's because once the collector gets a judgment against you, judgments are pretty much infinitely renewable in most states.
Social Security income, sometimes they can try garnishing that, right. The only way that will become a problem is if you say it's a problem and you tell the court it's a problem and you fight it in court. Otherwise, yeah, they can certainly try garnishing your SSI.
It's most likely illegal to do that. But again, it'll only become an issue if someone brings it up like yourself, and no one else is really going to bring it up besides you. But yeah, most of the time, SSI is not something that can be directly garnished, but there are some nuances and exactly how that income is qualified—like whether or not Social Security income can be garnished—that's a pretty nuanced question right there.
Viewer Question: After I filed a Motion to Compel Arbitration, the clerk said, I need to file a proposed order and request for judgment and request to submit for the judge to review.
George: Okay. Yeah, sorry to hear about the hassle. Sounds like a little bit of a hassle there for you. That is the situation on the Motion to Compel Arbitration in some jurisdictions as we know it on our website. Right.
You just want to make sure you file any additional instructions or requirements the court might have for the Motion to Compel Arbitration. So yeah, if the clerk says that that's what you need to do and thank yourself for having a helpful clerk, because a lot of clerks actually won't even tell you anything about what to do.
They won't even tell you. They only won't tell you if you have, like, a case against yourself half the time. So it sounds like you have a helpful clerk. So you need to file a proposed order. We oftentimes call a Motion to Compel Arbitration and MCA.
So a proposed order is usually you'll file a MCA after filing a debt Answer. So this court, not all courts require this, but this court is requiring a proposed order. A proposed order is a document written by one of the parties, in this case written by you as a draft for the court to approve.
So when you file a motion, a motion asks the judge to do something in this case, they want you to write the document for them so the court can save money and resources. So you're actually going to draft their document, which is the order. And if they do approve the Motion to Compel Arbitration, then they will just take your order and basically make it their document and sign it with the judge's name on it.
It's kind of like asking someone to do your homework for you, kind of. But the judge is the judge, so you can do that in this case, because he's done a lot of homework previously. Right? That's how he became a judge. And then the request to submit, um, is just a document, separate document, asking a judge to make a decision.
So you're filing a motion asking a judge to do something. Proposed order. If you approve it, this is what the document should look like. Request to submit, saying, “hey, motion is filed. Let's get a decision on this thing.”
So oftentimes, these documents are like one sentence long, right? So it's like a bunch of formatting and then, like, one sentence on it. Hopefully the court has some Templates for you. Maybe you're in Utah. I know Utah is like a state that requires several documents for a motion. So that's the situation.
Oftentimes, the Motion to Compel Arbitration does work, right? Like, pushing for arbitration makes it very expensive for the collector to pursue the case, increases the cost of collection, et cetera.
So if you can't get that file, it oftentimes does have good results, plenty to file for discovery request and for admissions. And I have filed a response. All right, that sounds good.
Viewer Question: If we've accidentally verified the debt with the creditor, would that hurt our case?
George: So you're saying, like, you accidentally sent them documents proving that you owe the debt? If that's the case, yeah, that would hurt your case. Basically, the only way to win these cases is to prove that the collector can't prove that you owe the debt.
And if you, um, if you already did prove that you owe the debt, then there's not much defense for you. You can still try to settle, but you probably aren't going to be able to win in this case.
Viewer Question: Being sued for credit card debt, didn't respond in time and have an intent to take default situation now. Okay. Began the civil suit process, and it's been passed and reviewed by the attorney. What does that mean exactly?
George: Well, it sounds like maybe there's a default judgment filed against you already. If that's the case, you're going to need more than an Answer. If there's a default judgment against you already because you didn't respond…
So if you up here, you got the Complaint and Summons, and then you didn't file… Let's say, like, you didn't file the Answer, then a default judgment will be filed against you, and that means you basically lose the case by default because you didn't respond. Like, you automatically lose because he didn't respond. And then let's see.
So if there is a default judgment against you, then you need to file an MSA, which is a Motion to Set Aside Judgment, right. So a Motion to Set Aside Judgment, which asks the judge to remove the judgment on the chase against you.
And let's see. And then you can file this with your Answer, right. So you can email us at email@example.com we can give you a template. It's a little bit of a rough draft here. You can fill it out yourself.You can file it with your answer, and then.
So you can file the Answer document with the MSA, asking the judge to give you a second chance to file. As far as, what does it mean for the attorney to have reviewed the document? Exactly. We have a partnering attorney.
We'll have one of our many partnering attorneys review the document. They check to make sure there aren't any errors that you put into the website. Right. Because oftentimes people can mess up their case number or the names of the parties or something like that. So we make sure there are no errors, and then we make sure the customer isn't, like, admitting or denying something that they should be admitting or denying, or vice versa.
So they check out the response to allegations, especially, and check out on some other technicalities to see if things apply. Right. So that's the situation. It. So there you go. Just taking a little note on here.
Read more: What is a default judgment?— What do I do?
Viewer Question: We are in Texas and got a citation for a debt claim saying we’re being sued. How do we file the Answer, or what do we need to do?
George: So this is the basics right here. All right, so citation is the same thing as a Compliant. All right, that's the same idea as a complaint. And once you get a Complaint in Texas, you get a citation, a Petition, which is the same idea as a Complaint on the sevens.
Once you get those, you just want to file an Answer. I guess we call it a Debt Answer. Sometimes it's just like an Answer to a debt lawsuit. You can go on our site, SoloSuit, click the get started button, and then reply to a lawsuit, then get started.
Then you just answer a few questions on the site. We ask you questions, you give us answers. We generate a document for you. You can pay us to have an attorney review it, and then they file it for you. A lot of people in Texas opt for the Attorney Review, and the filing service works real well in Texas. It's one of our most popular states.
Texas and California are the most popular states. So there you go. Yep, that's the general idea there.
Viewer Question: What is the chance that the plaintiff will drop the court case while waiting for the judge to grant that Motion to Compel?
George: There's certainly some chance. Oftentimes, sometimes, collectors will proactively dismiss a case they see they're not going to win, so they'll file a Motion to Dismiss their own case.
Sometimes they just kind of let the case lie and just forget about it. And unless the judge is being proactive, the case might just be pending for a long time.
They might have just kind of ignored it, or they might be waiting for you to move so they can then file a document, like years later to surprise you. If you get into a case where it's pending for a long time, you can try filing a Motion to Dismiss for lack of prosecution. You're saying, “Hey, these guys aren't doing jack on this case, so let's get this thing dismissed.”
So, you can try doing that. Um, and there you go. So a lot of our cases get dismissed. Around, like, 30% of them get dismissed just by filing an Answer document, which is insane, which is awesome, right? Huge win. Just filing an Answer. They get dismissed.
Then a lot of them go on and get settled. Some of them are just, like, pending. Sometimes people do lose, right? Certainly some of our customers lose. That is a real possibility, and it's a real thing that occurs. But most of the time, people are getting wins.
All right, so I think if you want to look at more of our results, you can check out our annual report, which lays out all of our case outcomes, has some sweet pie graphs you can check out. You want to look out, like, see how most of our cases turn out based on a random selection of cases that we researched.
Viewer Question: What do they need to do to validate their claim? That depends on the state, depends on the jurisdiction, depends on the judge, even probably.
George: Generally speaking, what they need to do is they need to prove that you owe the debt, you owe the money, and that they have the right to collect on the debt. Oftentimes what that looks like is they'll get the agreement between you and the credit card company.
So let's say you got a Discover card that you didn't pay off. Discover sold the debt to Midland funding. Midland funding then sued you for the debt. Like a debt collector sued you for the debt.
Midland funding might have the credit card agreement. They might have the credit card agreement. But if you got the card online, there probably is an actual signature for you. They might just have some kind of code record saying like, “Hey, you clicked the I agree button, or you checked the box on this agreement on this date.” And they might not even have that.
Maybe they just have the agreement and then they have to have a full counting of the actual debt and the balance, et cetera, to really indicate that debt is legit, that the amount is correct, et cetera. And then they'll need a document saying that the debt was assigned to them.
So usually there's an agreement between Discover and Midland, for example, saying Discover bank assigns this debt to Midland funding. So those are some things that they'll have to prove.
The burden of proof is on them. It's not on you. Right. So that means they have to prove that you owe the debt. It's not up to you to prove that you don't owe the debt. So that's an encouraging thing. Right. So it's actually mostly on them.
Viewer Question: My account has been charged off. What is the best thing to do?
George: So once the account gets charged off, it sounds like you're kind of early in the process.
Most of our people come to us after they are in collections or being sued for collections. If it's just been charged off, you can try settling the account. Your credit report is probably taking a negative hit.
You can try settling. It's better than having, like, an unsettled or an unpaid debt. And oftentimes they're more willing to settle for a lower amount. Right. Often the average settlement amount that is in the industry with a debt lawsuit is around 74% of the total amount of debt.
So someone being sued for $10,000, they might settle. The collectors might be willing to settle for 74% or $7400. But if you're just in a charge off state, like you’re way pre lawsuit, oftentimes we see settlements for like closer to 40%, even lower than that.
So let's see. So let's say that's the same amount. You might settle for like $4,000 or 40%. So settlements are lower and better pre litigation because the collector hasn't had to spend as much money getting into the litigation space. Yeah. There's certainly anomalies and such. Right? Sometimes cases do settle for low, even in litigation. We get some really low settlements sometimes on occasion. But sometimes they're higher. Right? Sometimes they're around, like, 80%.
Viewer Question: I was sent a Complaint and Summons from the Magistrate Court, but want to settle my debt outside of court, if possible. Should I use SoloSettle? And do I still need SoloSuit to send the Answer if I do?
George: Yeah. So recommended route here. You get the Complaint and Summons, and then you file the Debt Answer. And then after filing the Debt Answer, you make an offer to settle. You can use us if you want.
You can also do it on your own. This is all stuff. Certainly people can do it on their own. It's pretty difficult. With us, you'd file an Answer. You can do the standard package. We file it for you. In that case, you can get the attorney review if you want, with the premium service. Really up to you to make that call.
And then with SoloSettle, you're definitely a good choice. SoloSettle kind of protects your financial information from the collectors if you settle in a lump sum payment. Either way, it kind of protects your email, et cetera, from them. Also protects you from potential bullying from the collector and simplifies the settlement arrangement significantly.
Yeah. So there you go. SoloSettle Assist is certainly a great deal. Right. You can have an attorney fully represent you after filing the Answer.
And they know all these people.They know the collectors, et cetera. They can get you a good deal. With SoloSettle Assist, you can do a monthly payment plan if you need. Right. So if you can't do a lump sum payment, you can do that with SoloSuit Assist. So those are some things to think about, some considerations.
Certainly some chance you might be able to get, like, a lower settlement on your own. It’s certainly a possibility. And you are paying somewhat of a convenience amount for SoloSettle for having people take care of it for you. But our intent is to make sure that people are saving money off the full experience by saving them not only off of the balance of the lawsuit, but also interest.
Right. So with these settlements, with SoloSettle, we'll make sure that if there is monthly payment, the interest will be stopped, so there won't be additional interest on those monthly as the monthly payments are going on. That's a huge win. We're also, again, saving you from potential garnishment from paying the exorbitant attorneys fees for the plaintiff, et cetera.
So those are all things that we're saving in addition to just the balance of the debt.
Viewer Question: If the card was opened up in 2015, charged off 2022, statute of limitations haven't been met yet.
George: Correct. I think for that, I would recommend that you just search our statute of limitations calculator online. Yeah, search for a statute of limitations calculator solo suit. You can find that you can punch in your state and like the details of your situation, find out whether or not the statute of limitations has likely expired.
Viewer Question: I have responded to the lawsuit and I'm waiting for the court hearing date. Should I settle prior to the court date?
George: Yeah, most of the time people settle before the court date. That's what most people want to do because they don't want to show up in court. Zach Judge denied motion to compel arbitration and set it for trial. I have called multiple times to the collector with no response.
Viewer Question: I have proof that debt was paid with original creditor—what’s next?
George: So it sounds like you filed an answer. So that's great. And I hope you said that you had already satisfied the debt and paid it off. Motion to Compel Arbitration was denied. If there is an arbitration clause in the credit card agreement, that sounds outrageous. Not sure on what grounds they would possibly deny a Motion to Compel Arbitration.
If there is an arbitration clause, then the collector isn't responding to you. So just record your calls.
Note when you've made a call, bring that to court. Oftentimes judges look disfavorably upon people who upon collectors that don't settle, especially when the other party is trying to settle. And then bring the documents. Make sure you've got all the documents ready to go for court and bring those with you.
And then again, don't offer anything. Mainly you want the other side to not be able to prove that you owe the debt. But yeah, if you do have proof, like really good proof, you don't owe the debt and bring that up.
Viewer Question: Is it better to settle with the creditor or answer and go to court for a debt of $3500.
George: I think the general idea here is to answer and then to settle so you don't have to go to court.
Read also: How to Settle Debt in 3 Steps
Viewer Question: Can I ask the credit card company, Amex, for the original signed contract with them on the affirmative defenses? They attached a copy of the credit card contract, but I don't see my signature on it.
George: Yes, that's kind of the catch, right? So you're going to make this argument that you don't actually owe the debt because they can't prove that you ever signed a contract. And that can be a winning argument in some situations.
Viewer Question: Two weeks ago, I had a court for the lawyers who bought out my old Home Depot card, aka Midland Credit Management. Well, they lost their case. Your videos came in handy. I appreciate your hard work. Always answer your civil suit.
George: Yes. I think that means that's a good thing. It sounds like you won, so that's great.
Viewer Question: The docs I received did not state anything about having to file an Answer. My court date is this Friday, August 11.
George: There are some states, I forget which ones, maybe like Maryland or Virginia, where an Answer isn't always required. If you're in one of those states, maybe check out our blog post on the topic.
Usually it is advisable to Answer. Sometimes Summons might say you have to appear in court. What they mean is you have to file an Answer in court on this date. Generally speaking, doesn't hurt to file an answer.
Viewer Question: I called the law firm to settle. Can I still answer the lawsuit?
George: Yes, you can still file an Answer. You want to file an Answer to increase your leverage, right? Without filing an answer, you have no leverage to settle.
Is Moss Law Firm a debt collector or a law firm for Capital One?
Not sure. Oftentimes how it works is you have the collector and then you have their law firm. Law firm is acting on behalf of the collector. Once you're being sued, you're probably going to deal mostly with law firms.
And then in addition to this, you also have, let's see, you have the OC, the original creditor in this case, not the opposing counsel, but the original creditor. They might have sold it to a collector or to a debt buyer, and then they have the law firm that is suing you.
All right, folks. Hey. Well, that's pretty much all we have time for today. We do do this once a week, so if we didn't get your questions answered, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can hop on next week, next Wednesday.
All right. We will be here once again. All right. Good chatting with you again. I'm George. We are on your team. We are in your corner. We want you to win your lawsuit. That is what we are all about.So best of luck. And if you do win, come on back here and let us know. We'll be very glad to hear. So happy Wednesday. Take care. I believe in all of you. Believe you can all get through it and things will be better once the lawsuit is behind you and you've won. All right. Take care. Bye.
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