Is there a statute of limitations on debt collections?

UPDATED: Jul 24, 2011

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Is there a statute of limitations on debt collections?

I was wrongfully evicted from a lot that I was renting 4 years ago. The landlord refused payment because he did not want my 3 year old grandchild, who he thought was half African American, living in his trailer court. I fought the eviction which took 3 months. The lot rent was $150 a month but I was told to pay $1200 to him. I am totally disabled and I own no cars, property, are any bank accounts. I have no way to pay this debt. Now he has an other attorney who says if I do not come to his office and give a deposition I can be held in contempt of court. What recourse do I have?

Asked on July 24, 2011 Alabama


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The statute of imitations has to do with the time period in which a lawsuit must be brought. And in this case a suit as not only been brought but won by your former landlord (and a judgement was issued). So the  SOL does not apply here. Additionally, you have been summoned to appear for an examination as to your assets. In other words, your ex-landlord (and his attorney) are trying to find out what you own of value. This is so they they can seize them in order to satisfy the $1,200 judgement. The fact is you have nothing of value but you still have been summoned to appear. If you don't you could be found in contempt of court (the summons is a court order). In civil cases of this nature not much if anything is usually done to a debtor. Yet, that's not to say nothing will be done. You could end up owing fines/fees. Bottom line, you might as well get this over with. You have nothing to hide.

Note:  You do have the right to bring an attorney with you, that is if you can afford one.

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 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.

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