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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 33153
Experience:  Practicing for over 20 years and handled many cases and trials for consumers.
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I recently learned that there is a lawsuit filed against me

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I recently learned that there is a lawsuit filed against me in the state of Missouri from a collection account. The account was a credit card I stopped payment on in 2008. I am a resident of Arkansas now and have been since 2011. What state's Statute of Limitations will apply, if any, and can the suit take place if I haven't been served?

Dwayne B. :

Hello and thank you for contacting Just Answer. I am an expert here and I look forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification.

Dwayne B. :

Any idea why they filed the suit in MO? Did you have any connection with that state?

Customer: I lived there from birth until 2011.
Dwayne B. :

So you received and used the credit card while a resident of MO?

Dwayne B. :

Are you still there?

Customer: Sorry. I was kicked off. I obtained and used the credit card only in MO.
Dwayne B. :

No problem. MO would be the proper state for the lawsuit and for the statute of limitations. In MO that is 5 years from the date of the last payment.

Dwayne B. :

However, they are not supposed to proceed with a lawsuit without serving you.

Dwayne B. :

There is something called "substituted service" which is something like publishing in the newspaper.

Dwayne B. :

You have to ask the judge for permission to do that and explain why you couldn't get regular service though.

Customer: Is there a "reset" on the timing if its passed from the original creditor to other collection agencies?
Dwayne B. :

If they didn't try to serve you and it has been over five years since the last payment you can hire a lawyer there and try to get the lawsuit dismissed.

Dwayne B. :

no, no reset.

Customer: I'm not following your last bit about the "substituted service."
Customer: They have tried to serve me. They went to a previous address and those people claimed not to know me or where I was but they told me that the Deputy had papers for me.
Dwayne B. :

In other words if they try to serve you but can't find you for some reason then they can explain that to the judge and ask that the judge allow them to serve you by publishing the notice in the local newspaper. If it isn't the original creditor they probably didn't bother.

Customer: I want to be clear, if I'm not served and they don't file the substitution in the local paper, will the suit be dismissed on the court date? Can a judgement be filed against me on the court date?
Dwayne B. :

No, they will probably ask for and get a judgment. The court usually just signs whatever is stuck in front of them. You can then move to vacate the judgment and dismiss it or you can file something now to dismiss it.

Customer: So I'll get a garnishment request if the judgement is done? And the vacate the judgement motion will only be if for sure the 5 years has passed?
Dwayne B. :

Probably on the first although they will have to file the judgment to have it recognized in Ar first and then get a garnishment issued out of an Ar court.

Dwayne B. :

The motion to vacate will be based on no service and then a motion to dismiss will be based on the statute of limitations.

Customer: Ok. Thank you for the information. Do you think it would be best for me to obtain an attorney to represent me on the court date?
Dwayne B. :

You will want to at least talk to one and see if it would be better to do that or wait for the judgment to be granted and then file to vacate and dismiss it.

Dwayne B. :

Different judges handle things different ways.

Customer: Okay. Thank you for the information.
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