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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 118780
Experience:  Attorney with over 20 years law enforcement, prosecution, civil rights and defense experience
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Can a body attachment for a civil matter issued from a court

Customer Question

Can a body attachment for a civil matter issued from a court in Indiana be
enforced in Michigan?

Basically this has stemmed from (2) $100 checks that I wrote 20 YEARS ago that apparently bounced. Shortly after I wrote these checks, I left the state of Indiana to Texas. Recently a debt collector has located me and now are trying or have tried to take me to court on 2 other occasions. I currently live in Michigan. The are trying to charge me over $2000 for these checks, stating interest and such. I have had apparentlyXXXXXdates that I was unaware of and now they are trying to take me to court for contempt. I am unable to make this court date they have set which is in a few days. Really need advise on how to handle this.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 years ago.
No, they will not be able to get a body attachment because you would argue that the first even under Indiana law the statute of limitations on such a debt is only 10 years and as such suit is barred by the statute of limitations. You need to also inform the collector that threatening arrest over a debt is a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and as such you will sue for violations of the act plus attorney's fees and will make a complaint to the Fair Trade Commission. Additionally, you inform them that the debt is "time barred" and under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and under IN law, after 10 years they cannot sue or threaten to sue under the law. You need to get an attorney in IN and file a motion to dismiss this suit based on the statute of limitations, but they will not do any body attachment if you fail to appear. If you fail to appear they could issue a default judgment which you would then need an attorney to file to vacate since the statute of limitations has expired and this is why you should get an attorney now to just file the motion to dismiss because it will be more costly for you later.

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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Ok, just to make sure I understand this.

Because this debt is 20 years old, the statute of limitations expired 10 years ago therefore it is illegal for them to do what they are trying to do, even though I did not go to the other 2 court dates?

This letter i received certified mail (Contempt Citation, Rule to Show Cause) states "You are hereby ordered to show cause as to why your should not be punished for contempt for you failure to abide by the orders of the Court dated Aug. 11, 2010; specifically your failure to appear before the court on Oct. 28, 2010"

It goes on to say "Hearing on your Rule to Show Casue is set for Dec. 29, 2010 at 10am at which time you are ordered to be present. Your failure to appear for the hearing on the rule to show cause may result in a body attachement being issued for your arrest."

The plaintiff is listed as the debt if I understand this letter correctly, the debt collector is the one pushing for this "body attachment" being issued for my arrest for failure to appear at the next court date, NOT the court?

If it is illegal to do this then why is the court even allowing them to pursue? Knowing this case is 20 years old?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 years ago.
If you have a contempt order filed, you need to at least get an attorney to respond to the contempt order with a motion to dismiss based on the statute of limitations. This is also presuming that this is not a judgment they have already received and this is a suit they just filed to collect the judgment. You need to get the motion to dismiss on the statute of limitations filed because the court doesn't know anything other than what the debt collector is now telling them and if you are not responsive they could convince the court to issue the body attachment and while you could get everything resolved in your favor after that point, it will cost you more in the long run.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
You said presuming that this is not a judgment they have already received; what if it is a judgement? If I hadXXXXXdates already they may have already given them a judgement. I don't know for sure.

Either way I can either get a lawyer to dismiss based on statute of limitation or file to vacate based on the same?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 years ago.
This depends on whether or not the judgments were obtained within the 10 year statute of limitations. If they were not, then you can still get them vacated and move to dismiss under the statute of limitations. If they were issued during the statute of limitations, then you have a problem and you will have to answer them in the court and fight the judgment or reach a settlement. Before you can do much more, you will need an attorney in Indiana to get the court records to determine what the creditor has against you and what they should do for you to help end this.
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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
OK, Thanks for your help!
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 years ago.
Thank you.