Can a lawyer demand that interest and court cost are part of what is legally owed prior to a judgment?

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Can a lawyer demand that interest and court cost are part of what is legally owed prior to a judgment?

I am being sued. I have not admitted I owe the debt. I just offered to settle it. They have jacked up the amount to what they “pray for” in the lawsuit. The creditor has told me that they are interested only in the original debt amount. Court costs are incurred if it goes to court right? And the papers were not served by a special server, they were served by the sheriff. And the filing fee. This should not be part of the settlement negotiation either should it?

Asked on August 4, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Kansas

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

What the creditor's lawyer has done here is entirely routine.  The court costs are, in fact, the filing fee and the cost of service, which in this case was whatever the sheriff's office charged (it's a set fee plus mileage, usually, all a matter of public record).  And the case has, at this point, "gone to court," even if there hasn't been a trial yet.  The creditor can't get those costs back.  Including interest in the demand is routine, although it isn't always granted.

If you don't really have a good defense to this lawsuit, the lawyer has no reason to compromise with you.  I don't see any reason why the lawsuit fees, which you caused them to spend by not dealing with this matter sooner, shouldn't be part of the discussion.


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