If I never received any formal documentation from the court regarding a debt, what do I do?

This guy sent me an e-mail saying he’s taking me to court and here is the case number. I checked the number with the court, and it checks out, but my name isn’t spelled right. What do I do for that? Is the case still relevant? Also, I never received any formal documentation from the court about the case. Can I use that in my defense? I don’t know the details of the case and the guy refuses to talk to me. What do I do?

Asked on December 20, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Washington

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you have not been properly served, you need to do some background check on the time frame he has to sue you and where and when he sued you. You can make a limited experience to challenge the court's jurisdiction but if you owe the money, I would appear and put your side of the story down.  If you have any affirmative defenses, make sure to include that as well.  While he needs to perfect interest, if this case is in small claims court or small enough that it barely makes superior court, you want to make sure you are not simply considered in default by the court.  If you are considered in default, the court will usually allow for the next steps, which is a payment plan meeting or hearing and then if that is not a success a wage garnishment, attachment or lien.


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