Debt collection lawsuits are big business in Minnesota. Just one debt buyer—Midland Funding—has filed over 15,000 debt collection lawsuits in the last three years.
Many consumers get sued for a debt, think the lawsuit is fake, and then ignore it.
As a result, they lose their case before it even starts. If you were recently served and think the lawsuit is fake, think again.
Pocket service means no court file number
In Minnesota, lawsuits can be started without filing a Summons and Complaint with the court—it’s called “pocket service.” In fact, many, if not most, debt collection lawsuits start with pocket service. This means that the initial legal documents do not have a court file number listed.
The issue is compounded when consumers call the courthouse and ask their case, only to be told the court has no record of their case. Just because a case has not been filed, however, does not mean you are not being sued.
If you have been served and you are wondering if the lawsuit is real or fake, you should contact a lawyer immediately.
Not responding means that you will lose the case
A summons served in Minnesota usually includes the language like “You are being sued” and “You will lose your case if you do not send a written response. . . ”
Do not take those words lightly. If you do not respond, the Plaintiff can get a default judgment—which means the case is over. If someone gets a judgment, they can garnish your bank account and garnish your wages. If you do nothing, you will lose the case.
What to do if you have been served
Most cases that people think are fake are very real. If you received a summons and complaint from a company you have never heard of, you may have been sued by a debt buyer. You need to serve a written response with 20 days of being served. The creditor must file the case, but they have up to a year from the date of service to file the case with the court.