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Civil complaint against me; trial request

Customer Question
Hello, I had a law firm...
Hello,

I had a law firm file a civil complaint against me to recover money they say I owe them for services rendered.

They filed a civil complaint to get their money. I called the court to inform them that intended to enter a defense to the complaint. I was told I also needed to fax them of my intentions, which I did. I have the letter and the confirmation sheet that the fax was successfully sent.

Instead of receiving notice of my court date, I received notice that a default judgment had entered against me since I did not respond to the original complaint, which as mentioned above, I had. I called the court to ask how this could have happened and they told me they had no record of my fax. I again requested to have my opportunity to defend myself. I was told my only option was to file an appeal.

I then filed an appeal with the Prothonotary;s Office In Forma Pauperis. In Forma Pauperis was denied.

I feel I have been refused my right to a fair trial. What are my availble next steps?
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Legal
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Answered in 3 hours by:
6/11/2010
Lawyer: FLACORPLAWYER, Attorney replied 8 years ago
FLACORPLAWYER
FLACORPLAWYER, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4,634
Experience: 23 Years as attorney, licensed NY and FL. Former US ATTY.
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When a lawsuit is filed there is only one way you can answer the lawsuit. That is, to file a formal answer to the lawsuit with the clerk of the court, serving the opposing attorney with a copy of the answer. In the answer you must admit or deny each and every one of the allegations of the suit and you must state any affirmative defenses which you have to the allegations in the suit. All of this must be done within the time frame allowed by law, which is usually 20 to 30 days after the papers are served upon you. Writing or faxing a letter to the clerk of the court stating that you "intend" to defend the action is not sufficient. It could be that the clerk thought you were going to fax them an actual answer. You do not have grounds to appeal the judgment.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago

I do not want to appeal the judgment, I would like my right to defend the original complaint ... which again, was denied by the court claiming they never received my fax.

 

I would have to show you the doucumentation that I received originally that simply states I need to notify the court of my intention to enter a defense. There is nothing stating I must admit or deny each and every one of the allegations of the suit, nor was I required to state any affirmative defenses which I have to the allegations in the suit. I also confirmed with this with the clerk at the time. I only needed to state that I planned to defend the complaint ... that's all ... at which point a hearing would be scheduled.

 

How about the fact that the judge denied my in forma pauperis for the appeal?

 

It is very simple. I am being bullied by a law firm that knows I do not have the means to hire an attorney. If an impartial party were to hear how/why they are charging additional fees, I am sure they would find in my favor.

Customer reply replied 8 years ago
Relist: Inaccurate answer.
The attorney that answered was incorrect in their response regarding the way I was told to respond to the original complaint. I am not sure she is familiar with civil judgments in Pennsylvania.
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