Recently, I have successfully defended two defendants in debt collection cases involving old credit card bills. In each case, my clients (the defendants) either did not remember ever creating the debt or being serviced with the suit papers.
In both cases we reached favorable outcomes because we demanded strict proof that could not be provided by the Plaintiffs. As a result, the attorney for the debt collectors and debt buyers had to drop their case and dismiss the claims.
In a set of facts that is stranger than fiction, my client received notice of garnishment relating to a very old judgment filed against her. She insisted to me that she never was served with the original lawsuit. After I entered my appearance, I went to the Court and obtained a copy of the Notice of Service by the Private Process Server claiming that my client was served with the lawsuit way back in 2004. My client denied ever getting this paperwork and something seemed a little strange about the Notice of Service.
Out of curiosity, I googled the Process Server’s name to see if he was even still alive. Much to my surprise, he had been a Police Officer who went to federal penitentiary for his involvement in a massive fraud scheme involving kickbacks from a towing service.
So, I sent an email to the attorney for the debt collector asking him if he had an address outside of jail to serve the Process Server with a subpoena, so that I could bring him into to court to cross examine him about our case. I attached the link to the newspaper article about the case. I also asked in the email to the Plaintiff’s attorney if his Process Server was still in jail, so that I could issue the correct subpoena.
The next day, I received a response from the attorney for the debt buyer saying that he did not wish to proceed with the case any further. He wanted to know if we would agree to a dismissal!! Before we would consider agreeing to the a dismissal, I also had to consider whether my client had a cause of action for violation of Maryland law or the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). My client actually did not want to proceed with a lawsuit and she wanted to just end this litigation, so the case will be dismissed in a way to benefit my client’s credit score.
The main point is that nothing can be taken for granted in these debt collection cases and you should hire an attorney to help you unravel the mystery associated with these cases. You need to demand strict proof of all parts of the case and show up for court, especially, if you do not owe the alleged debt. Under certain circumstances, you can actually “turn the tables” on the debt collector and sue them for violations of Maryland and Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act violations!!