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Served with a Collections Lawsuit: Reviewing the Summons and Complaint

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If your income has dried up but there is still a pile of debts to be paid, you may be worried about the future and wondering what the result will be—especially if there is an aggressive pack of debt collectors on your back. Even if creditors and collections agencies are following the laws as established by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), their efforts can still be relentless, harsh, and full of intimidation. Unfortunately, the process can get much worse too if they decide to sue.

Some creditors and collections agencies may just be full of hot air, issuing threats and causing constant worry on your end, possibly for years. Others, however, may file collection lawsuits routinely. Once a summons and complaint has been created, a process server is hired to deliver these legal documents to you or to someone of legal age who resides in the home with you. The individual who ‘serves’ you must then fill out a written affidavit stating the details of the delivery of documents, and that must be filed with the court. Without proper service, the plaintiff may not have a case at all, and this is a common stumbling block in a surprising number of cases (see more about this process in one of our past blogs, ‘Collections Lawsuit: How Does Process of Service Work?’).

After you are in possession of a collections lawsuit that has been filed against you, take time to read it, along with picking up the phone to make an appointment to consult with an experienced law firm like Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC so that you can file a timely response. While there may be plenty of the typical and expected legalese written into the summons and complaint, here are the main points to focus on:

  • The name of the court listed on summons
  • Plaintiff’s attorney information in summons
  • Date and time of any set court appearance listed in summons
  • Amount of time to respond (usually 20 to 30 days) listed in summons
  • Information regarding consequences of not showing up—such as a default judgment, listed in summons
  • Defendants listed in complaint
  • Amount of money owed listed in complaint
  • Reasons why a default judgment should be granted against you

If you are concerned about impending creditor lawsuits or fighting a default judgment, consult with an experienced law firm like Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC as soon as possible. A solution can be found to help you through any of these issues, even if a judgment has already been granted.

Speak with an attorney from Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC as soon as possible to examine your options. Our attorneys have decades of experience in serving clients as they navigate through challenging financial situations, to include student loan issues, bankruptcy, and other debt management processes. We are here to help! Click here to schedule a free 30-minute consultation, call us at (844) 431-3851, or email us at

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