Can I still sue to collect on a debt of close to $15,000 to which I loaned a “friend” on 4 separate occasions?

Both parties lived in the same state at the time of the loans; the debtor now lives out of state. There are 3 promissory notes signed, dated, and with amounts specified; 2 of the loans are referenced on the same note. I have credit card statements with corresponding cash advances with which to fund the specific loan. Only 2 attempts were made to pay back the debt and on both occasions the debtor’s checks bounced and I have the returned checks from my bank along with letters from them.

Asked on October 23, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If there was an agreement, including as set forth in a promissory note, that the money would be repaid and it was not repaid as per the agreement, you can sue to enforce the debt. You should be able to sue in your own local court, since the debt was formed in your state and the harm suffered (no repayment) was suffered by you where you live. You may also be able to sue for additional costs resulting from the bounced or dishonored checks (e.g. any fees you had to pay). A key factor may be *when* the default occured (i.e. when the debtor missed payments): in NJ, you should have 6 years to sue on written loan agreements, so if the default is older  than that, you may not be able to sue. Note that suing someone in another state can be tricky, and doing it incorrectly can result in your case being dismissed; you should retain an attorney to help you. Good luck.

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