Every week we get calls from individuals who aren’t sure if they are being sued or what they should do about it. They have received something in the mail but they have no clue what to do next. Let’s talk about what it means to be sued and what you need to do.

Creditor or Debt Collector Lawsuit

If you, like many people, have overdue debt, you could potentially be sued by a creditor or debt collector. A debt collection lawsuit is an attempt to win a judgment in court.  A judgment allows your creditors to use the power of a local sheriff to take your income or assets by force. Judgments are good for ten years and can be renewed for ten more.


A summons is a legal document that means you are being sued RIGHT NOW. In California each summons will look the same way. It will have “Summons” at the top. Below that it will state “Notice To Defendant” and your name will be listed under that followed by the plaintiff (the person suing you). Here is a link to what a Summons looks like in California. http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/sum100.pdf

30 Day Deadline

The 30 day deadline is counted from the day the Summons is served on you, and it is something you NEED to care about. This is your LAST day to respond to the complaint in writing. Do not ignore this deadline.


May accompany the summons and will set out the basic reason for the summons. The complaint serves many purposes including the identification of the parties involved in the lawsuit, the plaintiff’s reason for filing a lawsuit, including how much money they claim to be owed.

Notice Of Hearing

Your summons may include a notice of another hearing months in the future. THIS IS NOT A RELEVANT DATE at this time. The date you need to be focused on at this time is the 30 DAY DEADLINE date. If you wait for the hearing without filing , you will have already lost your case.

What should you do?

You need to file a written response to the complaint with the court within 30 days. Lawsuits are serious but you don’t need to feel intimidated or overwhelmed. You have options and you have rights.

Need help?  Remember, this is a problem that will NOT go away if you ignore it. Contact us for free legal consultation. We can help.

Call the Fullman Firm at (877) 227-2872 or visit http://www.fullmanfirm.com/sued-by-a-debt-collector/ for more information.