When You’re Sued, Make Sure to Respond to the Complaint!! Don’t Ignore it!

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15 Jan

In my practice, potential clients constantly call me to tell me that someone is attempting to enforce a judgment against them by garnishing their wages or taking their assets. etc. They then ask me whether they can stop judgment enforcement by filing a bankruptcy.


The simple, most fundamental fact here is that no one, and I mean no one, should ever ignore a lawsuit which is filed against them. When someone comes to your door, asks if you are you, and then hands you a Summons and Complaint, this means that you are sued. This means there is trouble coming down the line if you don’t do something about this. At this point, you must read the document carefully. You must respond to it somehow and file something in Court if you can’t work a settlement out with the other side’s before the expiration of the your date to file a response in Court.


Typically, you have 30 days to file a response in Court once you are actually served with the Complaint–but read the document carefully. It will tell you how long you have to respond to it. If you have any reasonable basis whatsoever to fight it, call an attorney immediately and make sure that you file an opposing, responsive answer or motion to dismiss or demurrer, etc. so that the other party cannot get a default judgement against you. Never, ever let someone get a default judgment against you if there is anything whatsoever about the facts that the complaint states that are wrong or incorrect.


Once the other party gets a default, you can have your attorney file a motion to the Court asking to set it aside but now you are at the mercy of the Court. The Court is not always so merciful so you might get stuck with it. Now, you may need to file bankruptcy…but if someone takes a judgment against you, talk to me immediately so I can help to minimize the effect of the judgment on your life.

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