This is the next article in our series describing what happens as you consider, and then ultimately do file a FDCPA lawsuit against a collection agency.
You have sued the collector. The collector has been served. The time has now run for the collector to respond to your lawsuit.
This is called the “answer” to the lawsuit.
In the answer, the debt collector will normally deny virtually (and sometimes literally!) every single thing in the complaint. The rules require the debt collector to “admit” whatever the collector knows is true but this rarely happens. The good news is the federal judges are starting to get annoyed with this as it slows down a case when the collector won’t admit, for example, that is a collector.
We had one case where we alleged the collector called our client’s mother illegally. The collector denied this.
The federal judge asked the lawyer “Did you see if your folks called the mother?”
The lawyer said, with no hesitation or shame, “No. But I’m sure we didn’t as it is not in the collection notes.”
(Keep in mind that most people who do illegal stuff don’t document that they did it so it really is not shocking that the notes don’t say “Oh yes and then I broke the law”).
The federal judge was not amused.
I’ve had lawyers deny everything in a lawsuit and then tell me the first time they ever spoke with their client was months later. Hmmmm. How did they know what was true or false in the complaint?
Well, this is a whole different subject but for our purposes what is important is to not be surprised when the debt collector will hardly admit that we got the name right. Annoying but not surprising.
Once we have the answer, then we can start the process of setting up dates and deadlines to propose to the judge.
But sometimes, instead of an answer, the collector tries to throw out all or part of the case. This is called a “motion to dismiss” and we’ll cover this in the next chapter.