What to do if I’m being sued by a creditor?

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What to do if I’m being sued by a creditor?

I owed a creditor $2600 that I have been trying to pay them for years but they refuse to talk or deal with me. Now they are suing me for $22,000. Can they do that? If they win can they place a lien on my home if the home is in both my name and my husband’s name seeing as the judgement would be just against me? Also, I’m pregnant and this is causing a huge amount of stress. If my doctor writes a letter to the court asking that this be dismissed until after I have the baby does the court have to comply? And if they do dismiss until after I have the baby and the statute of limitations comes up during that period, does that mean they won’t be able to sue me again?

Asked on December 3, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

1) The creditor can only sue you for the amounts it is entitled to under the agreement(s) by which the debt arises--so, presumably unpaid principal; any interest at the agreed upon interest rate; late fees or penalties, if permitted; and possibly also legal fees, collection costs, and court costs if the agreement allowed them to recover those. The creditor cannot simply make up any number, but has to be able to tie that number back and base it upon the transaction and documents giving rise to the debt. That said, given interest, late fees or penalties, and legal fees, it is possible that they can now legally seek far more than the original debt.

2) Yes, a lien can be placed on jointly owned property.

3) A court does not have to comply with a doctor's note that a matter be deferred until later due to a medical need, such as pregnancy. If the court did decide to delay the matter  in this case, the statute of limitations, as well as any other applicable deadlines, would be tolled, or held in abeyance--that is, the "clock would stop" on the case, and so the statute of limitations would not run out during the stay.


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