The largest part of our legal practice focuses on defending individuals who are sued on delinquent or defaulted Credit Card accounts…That is, we are credit card attorneys. Most of the lawsuits that we deal with are filed by collection agencies or junk debt buyers such as Cavalry, LVNV, Midland Credit Management, Portfolio Recovery, Second Round Sub, Unifund, Velocity and others. In almost every circumstance, a debt buyer/collection agency lawsuit should be defended (by a consumer attorney, not by you…. please don’t play attorney and jeopardize a winner of a case just to try to save a few bucks). Often times, though, the case is filed by the original creditor. Capital One and Discover are two credit card companies that frequently file their own lawsuits. Debt buyer claims and original creditor claims are handled quite differently.
In our experience, we have found that almost every single credit card lawsuit that is filed by a collection agency or debt buyer in Pennsylvania is legally insufficient or “defective”. The lawsuits are fraught with defects and are missing key elements that must be contained within the lawsuit. We file objections to these lawsuits (if the lawsuit is filed in your county’s Court of Common Pleas) and have a vast majority of these cases dismissed. (The initial written response to a credit card lawsuit is crucial and should not be drafted by a non-attorney… if you don’t file the right response, you end up waiving certain defenses.) If the case is filed at your local magistrate (District Justice), then objections are not an option… we simply attend the hearing and go for the win. (You personally should never see the inside of the courtroom as you can only hurt the case, not help). It is very likely that the other side is going to hire what is called an “appearance attorney”…this is usually a young, inexperienced attorney who is literally hired the day before the hearing and is somewhat “thrown to the wolves”. In other words, this is a temp attorney. They likely will not have a witness and likely will have limited documentation/evidence. This is obviously very much in your favor if you have hired the right consumer attorney to defend you.
Original creditor lawsuits such as those filed by Capital One and Discover often contain the same defects that we mentioned above and still can be defended. The only difference between the collection agency lawsuits and the original creditor lawsuits is that the original creditor can cure the defects in the lawsuit at a higher rate than the collection agencies can.
This does not mean that you can’t win, it just means that the odds are a little less in your favor. We still have a very high success rate in defending original creditor lawsuits in many cases. There are factors involved that increase or decrease the chances of success, and these include the age of the account, the date of the last payment, the law firm/attorney on the other side and who the credit card company is.
We are well versed in the rights of creditors and debtors, and in many areas of consumer law, based in part in our knowledge of the law and our experience in dealing with thousands of these types of cases. If you have a collection agency, junk debt buyer or an original creditor attempting to collect a debt from you, please contact our office at 412-348-8600 or send an email to Attorney Greg Artim