Should I give the plaintiff’s lawyer information requested on my wife, if she is the defendant in a lawsuit?

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Should I give the plaintiff’s lawyer information requested on my wife, if she is the defendant in a lawsuit?

My wife was sued for car accident that she was never in. She has been served and has 15 days to file answer with court. The car does not match what we have; the insurance does not match. The lawyer says that he would be happy to send a Rule 11 Agreement, however, she has been sued and she has accepted service. Further he stated that through the discovery process alone she will be forced to answer the requests that have just asked. It would provide him with the evidence that he supposedly needs to unequivocally dismiss my wife from the case. According to him, without this information he cannot dismiss.

Asked on October 10, 2011 under Accident Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

 

If your wife has been served with a lawsuit, then she needs to file an answer within the time set out on the citation.  You mention that she has 15 days left, but she should have been given a total of 21 days to respond.  If a defendant who has been served fails to file an answer within 21 days of service, then a plaintiff can seek and obtain a default judgment against the defendant/respondent.  What your wife really needs to do now is file at least a generic answer or response called a “General Denial.”  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but the body should state something to the effect that “the Respondent hereby enters a general denial to all allegations contained in plaintiff’s petition.”  If an attorney on the other side is encouraging you not to file an answer, but rather to send them other items outside of the standard discovery process, you should be somewhat leery.  If you send the information the attorney requested to the attorney, but do not file an answer, then the attorney can still obtain a default judgment against your wife.  Sending him the requested information is not the same as filing an answer.  The offer of a Rule 11 agreement is also a bit odd.  “Rule 11” refers to agreements entered between parties similar to settlement agreements.  If your wife didn’t do anything, then there should be no need for her to enter into a Rule 11 agreement.  The only time you are required to give information to the other side in a civil suit is (1) when you file your answer and (2) in response to formal discovery requests.  I don’t have enough information to give you more specific advice, but you really need to visit with a personal injury defense attorney.  They may be familiar with the same attorney you are dealing with and can help you and your wife make sure that you are not being railroaded.  For a nominal fee, they may be able to file the general denial for you and talk to the attorney to insure that you do get a dismissal.  If your wife had an insurance policy, she should also let them know that someone is trying to sue her.  Most insurance companies will provide you with representation because they do not want to pay out on the claim.  Either option will be significantly cheaper than paying on a default judgment.


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