Fortunately, there are things you can do to stop lawsuits. The experienced and compassionate Cincinnati debt-relief attorneys at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer can help if you have received threats of a lawsuit or even if a civil lawsuit is already pending against you. We provide a free initial consultation to analyze the facts of your case and determine how we can best protect you. Call us today at 877-654-5297 or email for your free consultation.
What Should I Do When Sued?
Creditors who are not getting paid may file a civil lawsuit against you in a Cincinnati court. Since Ohio is a “general pleading state,” the creditor needs to provide only a general allegation of the debt to start the legal process and request a judgment for the amount owed, plus interest and fees. Then you will be served with a copy of the summons and complaint, usually by certified mail.
The complaint will state why the creditor is suing you, the relief being sought, and what court has jurisdiction. The summons will list the names and addresses of the court, the parties to the lawsuit, and the date by which you have to respond.
When you receive the summons, you have just 28 days to respond with an “answer.” You must respond in writing and send your answer to both the opposing counsel and to the court for filing. The court will then issue a schedule of events for your case, such as a Pre-Trial Status Conference and dates by which motions must be filed.
If you make a mistake and do not respond correctly or on time, the creditor may ask for a summary judgment against you. This gives the creditors what was asked for and allows them to pursue collection efforts, which include garnishing your non-exempt wages, seizing cash in your bank accounts, and putting liens on your property.
Since the consequences are so severe, it makes sense for you to have an attorney examine your possible defenses and make sure that you have responded properly. The seasoned Cincinnati attorneys at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer will help you determine the proper course of action. We can also explain the option you have of filing for bankruptcy, which will stop pending lawsuits and collection efforts against you.
Bankruptcy Can Stop Lawsuits
Filing for Bankruptcy is often the best tool to stop lawsuits. If you are a Cincinnati, Ohio, resident and you file for individual bankruptcy through chapter 7 or chapter 13, it starts the automatic stay provision of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
Our attorneys can file a document called a Suggestion of Stay for each lawsuit with the Cincinnati Clerk of Court and notify the creditor’s attorney that a bankruptcy case has been filed. This enables lawsuits to be “stayed” or stopped during the bankruptcy proceedings, and your debt will now fall under federal bankruptcy laws. Your creditors do not have to drop their lawsuits, but the legal process must stop until the bankruptcy is over or until they get permission from the bankruptcy court to continue the suit.
This means creditors must stop trying to collect the debt and stop calling you and harassing you. They cannot garnish your bank account or wages, put liens on your property, or repossess your vehicle. If they continue to try to collect from or harass you while your bankruptcy case is pending, you must notify your attorney immediately. Federal Bankruptcy Judges do not allow violations of the automatic stay provision and may impose sanctions upon violating creditors.
Your stay is in effect until the bankruptcy is resolved. While there are debts that will be entirely discharged by a bankruptcy, including credit card bills, medical bills, utility bills, payday loans or personal loans, be aware that there are certain types of debts you will still have to pay. Example of some of the non-dischargeable debts include:
- Debts for personal injury or death caused by driving while intoxicated
- Student loans, unless it would be an undue hardship for you to repay
- Fines and penalties for violating the law, including traffic tickets and criminal restitution
- Recent income tax debts (within 3 years) and most other tax debts
- Debts you forget to list in your bankruptcy papers, unless the creditor learns of your bankruptcy
- Debts you owe under a divorce decree or settlement, including child support.
In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, only debts that arose before the date of your order for relief will be discharged.
Contact Us and Get Help
If you are faced with a lawsuit in Cincinnati, an attorney can make a big difference in how your case is handled and how much you end up owing. The seasoned debt-relief attorneys at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer will evaluate your entire financial situation by looking at your income, your debts and your goals, and we will discuss the best fit for your financial situation. We will make sure you are aware of all your options and help you decide on the path to a brighter future that makes sense in your individual case.
Time is of the essence, and delaying can only worsen your situation, so call the Ohio bankruptcy attorneys at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer today! Call 877-654-5297 (Cincinnati) or email for your free consultation so we can determine what debt relief solutions will work best for you.