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David L
David L, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 3255
Experience:  Practicing family law attorney in multiple jurisdictions
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Thank you offer to help. I am being sued by a collection

Customer Question

Thank you for your offer to help. I am being sued by a collection agency for a medical bill. My wife is named in the suit also. She did not sign any of the paperwork. I signed in the emergency room. How do I argue with the attorney's, who are very dogmatic and combative, as I presume they should be, for their clients best interest, and argue that Colorado is not have a "Necessities Doctrine" and have her removed from the suit?
Also, I believe the debt amount is incorrect. Is there a way that I can discover all of the evidence against me so that I may argue this at a later time. I am attempting to avoid a judgement, begin a payment plan, and then come back in a small claims court suit for recovery.
I am 62 y.o, an un-employed salesman, who just filed for SS, and have a wife who is 100% dis-abled. Finances are currently in very poor condition and we are week to week in our existence.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  David L replied 1 year ago.

Hi and thanks for asking your question. My name is ***** ***** I will be assisting you. First we'll discuss the issue with your wife. If she is not a party to the medical paperwork, then she shouldn't have any liability for repayment. You should be able to file a motion with the court asking that she be dropped as a defendant.

If you are interested in a payment plan to avoid a judgment, have discussions with the attorneys and see if something can be worked out. You can ask for an extension of time to file your response to the suit while negotiations are taking place. If they refuse to give you an extension, you can file a general and simple answer by the deadline, denying all the allegations in their complaint. That will also give you time to work out a payment plan.

If you file a general denial answer today, you can always ask the court to drop your wife as a party at a later time.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your response.
So the argument of a debt of necessity is not valid and they are attempting to intimidate me. Therefore, I could ask them how the court would feel about there actions ask them if they care to reconsider their position.With my wife no longer a party, I can go it alone.Then I can file a response asking them to show proof of debt, and ask for a motion to extend.Is this correct?And if I go ahead with the repayment plan, as they have expressed, can I ask the law firm and collection agency to show proof? I know that I have some form of debt that I am obligated for, but I believe their numbers are incorrect.Thank you very much for your time and help.Barry
Expert:  David L replied 1 year ago.

If you can't cut a repayment deal today, you can ask them for an extension or you can file the general denial answer today and then ask for all the backup paperwork supporting the amounts they are claiming. Ideally, you can strike a deal sometime soon and not have to litigate, especially if you feel you are responsible for at least some of the debt. You can make them an offer to settle. Start somewhere below 50%. If you strike a deal, they would put together a settlement agreement. Once settled, the case would be dismissed and you wouldn't have to worry about a judgment being entered against you.

Expert:  David L replied 1 year ago.

I did some further research and wanted to post the results. The theory they are using under Colorado law to sue your spouse is known as "The Family Purpose Doctrine." t’s codified in the Colorado Revised Statute at CRS 4-6-110. The statute states: “The expenses of the family and the education of the children are chargeable upon the property of both husband and wife, or either of them, and in relation thereto they may be sued jointly or separately.”

It is mostly used these days in medical collection suits such as yours. There are mixed results of its use in medical collection cases. Some courts have dismissed the spouse while other courts have not. Your wife can absolutely raise it as a defense and make the argument that this doctrine doesn't apply here.

As mentioned above, the best course of action is to work out a settlement and repayment plan. That eliminates having to argue this defense as well as litigating the case.

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