How do I answer an arbitration summons on a credit card debt?

I just recently found out I received court summons for a 4 1/2 year old credit card debt. The summons were served at the wrong address. When I called the circuit clerk’s office on how to file a motion to quash they pretty much said I could try and then laughed. My court date is next week unless I file my appearance and answer aforesaid. I’m confused about what I should do and I’m running out of time. Do I still have time to file a answer? Can I just go to my appointed court date and say I’m in the process of obtaining a lawyer. The debt has yet to be validated.

Asked on October 20, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Illinois

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You should file an answer to the complaint (complaint is the lawsuit attached to the summons) with the court and serve it on the opposing party.  The answer denies the allegations in the complaint.  At the law library, look for answer to complaint in the index of Pleading and Practice.  This will give you the general format for an answer to a complaint.  At the end of the answer is the verification which you sign and date under penalty of perjury attesting to the veracity of your statements in the answer. The time for filing an answer varies from state to state and is stated in the summons. If you don't have the answer filed and served in time on the opposing party, the other party will win by default.  If judgment by default is entered against you, you can file a motion to set aside the default.  Your argument supporting your motion to set aside the default is that you were not served because service of process occurred at the wrong address and when you discovered that, you were unable to timely file an answer to the complaint.  If the judge grants your motion to set aside the default, the case is then back on track and litigation will continue.

If you go to the court appearance, tell the judge you were not properly served and need additional time to file an answer to the complaint.  If the judge agrees with you and gives you addiitional time to file an answer, then the default won't be entered.  If the judge disagrees with you and enters the default, then file your motion to set aside the default.  The other alternative is not to make the appearance and allow the default to be entered and proceed with filing your motion to set aside the default.

A motion to quash will not be effective in this situation.

 


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.