Debt Collection Lawsuit

Debt Collection Lawsuit

Collection Attorneys Litigate Debt Collection Cases

When a debt collection law suit is filed your customer now knows this is their final chance to make payment arrangements. There are no guarantees that your company will get paid. However, the clock is now ticking for your customer. Our debt collection law firm calls your customer a debtor. Going forward we will refer to your customer as a debtor and we are pretty sure by the time you have had to sue your customer, you are also calling the customer a debtor.   There are several scenarios that may play out when a law suit is filed and we will discuss those below.

After a law suit is filed a summons is issued and either a private process server or a sheriff attempts to serve the debtor. If the debtor is served, the debtor has a certain amount of days to file a responsive pleading to the law suit. If the debtor does not respond, a default is entered by the clerk of court. After default is entered you typically be able to submit your proof of the debt to the court and request that a default judgment be entered against the debtor for the amount of the debt. The court typically will allow you to recover prejudgment interest and your court filing fees. Your reasonable legal fees will be allowed in some states only if there is a written contract or statute that allows for attorneys’ fees. Some states do not have this requirement and will also allow you to add attorneys’ fees to the judgment.

Debt Recovery Firm

Collection Law Firm

If the debtor is a corporation or limited liability company most states will not allow the debtor to represent itself. The fact that the debtor has to retain an attorney adds pressure on the debtor to settle with your company before spending money on an attorney to defend a lawsuit for payment on a debt that is justly owed to your company.   If the issue for not paying is the debtor’s cash flow, our debt recovery law firm has found that this is the time that the debtor will finally come forward with a repayment plan. Some debtors look to negotiate and will offer a percentage of the debt in a lump sum payment, other debtor will offer to pay the debt off in installments. Our clients our in the driver’s seat and can make a business decision on what payment arrangement they would be willing to accept or even to accept a payment arrangement at all. What is important for our clients to understand is that sometimes it’s best to allow for a payment plan as the debtor will voluntarily pay money. Payment plans are typically reduced to writing and filed with the court. If a debtor misses a payment, our client would be entitled to enter judgment for the full amount sought in the complaint, less any previous payments made and paid on the account by the debtor.

 

 

If the debtor does retain an attorney it may be the debtor has multiple creditors and is trying to stay afloat by filing an answer to the complaint and delaying the inevitable entry of judgment down the road   and then work out a payment plan at a later date. Other times, the debtor may have some legitimate reason for not pay some or all of the money our client claims is due. At this point in time, the claim becomes contested and like all other civil litigation cases discovery may be warranted. Each side has the right to conduct discovery, propound interrogatories, and request to produce documents and/or take depositions. The case most likely will be scheduled for mediation prior to trial. Mediation is the time in the case where the parties can set their own course and take the decision making out of the hands of the judge and jury. We encourage our clients to keep an open mind at mediation and strive to reach an amicable resolution to their debt collection case. If the case is not resolved at mediation, the case will proceed to trial.

Mediating a Florida Debt Collection Case

Mediating a Florida Debt Collection Case

Mediation in Florida is required before a Florida Collection case can proceed to trial. Florida debt collection cases are not all the same and it is typical for a debtor to presents defense to payment of debt. Typical defenses to Florida collection cases are that the goods sold or delivered were non-conforming; the goods shipped were delivered late and or the product did not meet the quality standards the debtor expected.

Our Florida collection attorneys-lawyers are all very familiar with the defenses raised in a typical Florida debt collection case. Our Florida collection law firm will propound discovery in the form of interrogatories and request for production of documents to flush out the true nature of the debtor’s defense to the collection lawsuit.

By sending discovery our Florida collection attorneys-lawyers will know before attending mediation what the true obstacles to your company collecting money may be. Before attending a Florida mediation our debt collection clients will be better prepared to make an informed business decision before deciding whether to settle their collection case at mediation or bring their Florida debt collection case to trial.

Our Florida debt collection firm and its attorneys-lawyers are cognizant of the risk and reward of settling a case at mediation rather than waiting to take the collection case to trial. If a client settles a debt collection case at mediation, the client is empowered to decide the outcome of the case the day of mediation, rather than waiting on a trial date. Based on the backlog in the Florida Court system, it may be prudent to take a settlement in a debt collection case rather than wait for payment of the debt down the road. However, because each Florida debt collection case is unique, our collection attorneys-lawyers will weigh the settlement offered at mediation with our debt collection clients against the risks of proceeding to trial having to wait to get before a Florida Judge.

 

If you have questions about the Florida mediation process, call our Florida Debt Collection Firm and ask to speak to one of our collection attorneys-lawyers about Florida mediation and or litigating your Florida debt collection cases.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE A DEBT COLLECTION CASE TO GET TO TRIAL

 

Clients often ask our debt collection lawyers how long it takes to go to trial. In Florida after the defendant is served with a collection lawsuit, the defendant will have twenty days to respond to the complaint. If there is no response to the complaint, our law firm will file a motion to enter default and default judgment by filing an affidavit of proof executed by our client. If the Judge is satisfied with the proofs contained in the affidavit the Court will enter Default Judgment.

Florida Collection  Attorney and Collection Law Firm

Florida Collection Attorney and Collection Law Firm

If a debtor retains an attorney to defend the debt collection lawsuit, the complaint can be met with defensive motions attacking the merits of the complaint. Often in a collection law case, these motions are delay tactics to buy the debtor more time. Our law firm wants to schedule these motions quickly on the Court’s motion calendar to get these defensive motions resolved. Once we are able to get past defensive motions, after an answer is filed, the Florida Court Rules allow our collection firm to Notice the case for trial. Once the Court receives the Notice for trial, it will select a trial docket and set forth pre-trial procedures to be followed in terms of discovery and mediation. Most cases in Florida are required to attend mediation prior to trial. Depending on the county, our firm can usually get a contested litigation matter to trial within four to six months.

Please feel free to contact our Florida collection law firm and speak to our Florida collection attorney about the specifics facts surrounding your Florida debt collection case. You may mail or email your supporting documents to our collection firm. Our Florida collection attorney will review your account and then contact you to devise a collection strategy for your Florida collection matter.

Stephen B. Gebeloff, P.A.
5255 N. Federal Hwy., 3rd Floor
Boca Raton, FL 33487
(561)953-4600
fax(561)953-4610
steve@gebelofflaw.com

 

Can I Collect Attorneys’ Fees Without a Written Agreement in a Florida Collection Case

Yes, typically in order for a creditor to collect attorney’s fees from the debtor there would be to have a credit application, purchase order or invoice that clearly stated that in the event the creditor has to proceed to take collection action, the debtor would be responsible to pay for the reasonable fees and costs of collection. Without any writing allowing for recovery of attorney’s fees, depending on the facts of the case, there may be a Florida Statute that would allow for the award of attorneys’ fees to the prevailing party in the litigation. Absent the above, the general rule in Florida is that each party is responsible for their own attorneys’ fees.

Stephen Gebeloff Florida Colletion Lawyer

Aggressively Pursuing Our Clients’ Interests  Tempered by Seasoned Professionalism

However, if there are no provision for attorneys’ fees in the creditor’s documents, a Florida creditor may wish to consider a Proposal for Settlement. In short by filing a proposal for settlement, the creditor would need to be awarded at least twenty-five (25%) percent more than its offer to the defendant. Thus, if a creditor was owed $100.00 and filed an offer for settlement of $50.00, the creditor would need to have a court award at least $75.00 or more. If the creditor extends such an offer and the debtor does not timely accept the offer and the Court awards at least 25% more than the offer, the creditor can apply to the Court for an award of its attorneys’ fees from the date the offer was to have been accepted.

This can be an effective strategy to get a debtor to be more realistic about settling a case. The drawback for the creditor would be that if the debtor accepted the offer for settlement, the creditor would have to settle for 25% less of the full value of the case. Please feel free to contact our Florida collection law firm and speak to our Florida collection attorney about Offers for Settlement and the specifics facts surrounding your Florida debt collection case. You may mail or email your supporting documents to our collection firm. Our Florida collection attorney will review your account and then contact you to devise a collection strategy for your Florida collection matter.

Stephen B. Gebeloff, P.A.
5255 N. Federal Hwy., 3rd Floor
Boca Raton, FL 33487
(561)953-4600
fax(561)953-4610
steve@gebelofflaw.com

 

Stipulation For Settlement in a Florida Collection Case

Stipulations for Settlement are used in Florida debt collection cases when the debtor cannot commit to pay the full amount due and owing to the creditor in one lump sum payment. The Stipulation sets forth payment terms that are enforced by the Florida Courts. If the debtor makes all installments as agreed, there are no consequences to the debtor. However, if the debtor misses a payment, Judgment is entered for the full amount agreed upon in the Stipulation, less payments previously received and credited to the debtor. Once Judgment is entered post judgment enforcement steps can be taken.

Stephen Gebeloff Florida Colletion Lawyer

Florida Collection Attorney

Please feel free to contact our Florida collection law firm and speak to our Florida collection attorney about the specifics facts surrounding your Florida debt collection case. You may mail or email your supporting documents to our collection firm. Our Florida collection attorney will review your account and then contact you to devise a strategy for your Florida collection matter.

Stephen B. Gebeloff, P.A.
5255 N. Federal Hwy., 3rd Floor
Boca Raton, FL 33487
(561)953-4600
fax(561)953-4610
steve@gebelofflaw.com

 

Officer and Director Liabilty in a Florida Collection Case

OFFICER DIRECTOR LIABILITY

Our collection law firm continually looks for ways to assert personal liability on an officer or director of a corporation (“officer- director liability”) when there are no personal guarantees on the account. One way is to see if the corporation is still active on the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations website. If the corporation has been administratively dissolved, we look for the effective date of the administrative dissolution. If goods and services were provided during the time that the debtor was administratively dissolved, our collection attorney will assert that the officer is personally liable for the debt because the corporation no longer was officially in existence at the time. Recent case law in Florida, however, has indicated that if a corporation reinstates, the reinstatement would absolve the officer from liability.

Stephen Gebeloff Florida Colletion Lawyer

Florida Collection Attorney

Our collection firm does not stop there. There our other ways to assert officer director liability. We assert that the debtor corporation was under capitalized at the time the corporation placed the order for goods or services. Thus, we assert the officers and directors had knowledge of this fact or should have known this fact. A prudent director would not order $100.00 worth of product with only $5.00 dollars in the bank. We state our cause of action in the collection lawsuit as fraud.

Please feel free to contact our Florida collection law firm and speak to our Florida collection lawyer about the specifics facts surrounding your Florida debt collection case. You may mail or email your supporting documents to our collection firm. Our Florida collection attorney will review your account and then contact you to devise a strategy for your Florida collection matter.

Stephen B. Gebeloff, P.A.
5255 N. Federal Hwy., 3rd Floor
Boca Raton, FL 33487
(561)953-4600
fax(561)953-4610
steve@gebelofflaw.com

 

 

Debtor Stall Tactics in a Florida Debt Collection Case

Once a Florida Debt Collection case is filed, the debtor by hiring a Florida lawyer, can stall your debt collection efforts. Time is money not only to Florida creditors but, to Florida debtors as well. A common strategy to stall which is utilized by Florida debtors is to file a motion to dismiss your collection lawsuit. In Florida by filing such a motion, it prevents a Florida collection attorney to indicate to the Judge that the debt collection case is ready to be placed on the trial docket.

Stephen Gebeloff Florida Colletion Lawyer

Florida Collection Attorney

Our Florida collection lawyer must set the debtor’s motion for a hearing. The hearing may take several weeks to get on the Judges calendar. Once the motion to dismiss the debt collection lawsuit is before the Judge, the Judge will either deny the motion or grant the motion allowing the Florida collection lawyer an opportunity to amend the collection lawsuit.

The goal of any collection attorney and collection law firm is to get the collection case before the Judge as quickly as possible. In Florida, our collection law firm cannot set the case on the trial docket until thirty days after the debtor’s counsel files an answer to the collection lawsuit. Thus, by filing motions to dismiss the collection lawsuit, the debtor’s attorney can delay the collection case by weeks and or months before it reaches a Judge.

Before trial in a debt collection case a collection attorney may try to file a motion for summary judgment. But, any material fact or facts that a debtor can bring before the court in a debt collection case will defeat a summary Judgment Motion.

Our debt collection firm’s goal is to advance the case to trial and judgment as quickly as possible. We welcome you to call or email our firm to discuss a debt collection strategy that is just right for you.

 

Florida Collection Case Default Judgment

Stephen Gebeloff Florida Colletion Lawyer

Florida Collection Attorney

In Florida, once a Florida Collection Law Suit has been filed, the Clerk of Court will assign a case number.  The Clerk will also issue a summons to be served on the Florida Debtor with the collection lawsuit.  The summons will direct the  debtor  to file a responsive pleading to the creditors allegations contained in  the complaint within twenty (20) days. If the debtor does not file a responsive pleading,  our Florida collection attorney will petition the Court to enter Default. If a responsive pleading is filed, litigation with ensue pursuant to the Florida Rules of Court. The Florida litigation process will be examined in future posts.

If Default is entered, our Florida collection law firm will prepare an affidavit for the creditor to fill out and return to our office. The affidavit will indicate how much money is due to the creditor.  Once the affidavit  is returned to our Florida collection lawyer will file a motion to enter default judgment with the Court.  Our  Florida collection law firm will ask the court  for  the costs incurred  by the creditor to file the collection lawsuit and prejudgment interest. In Florida each party is responsible to pay  their own attorney’s fees in a collection case unless there is  a written agreement between the parties allowing the recovery of reasonable attorneys’ fees , the purchase orders and or invoices  allow for the recovery of attorney’s fees or as allowed  by a Florida Statute.

Once Default Judgment is entered in Florida, our Florida Collection Firm and collection lawyer will be able to begin enforcing the Judgment and  attempt to collect your money that is due.  Post Judgment collection techniques in Florida will be discussed in other posts on this site.

There are many things to consider when trying to collect a Judgment in Florida. Please feel free to contact our Florida Collection Firm to discuss your Florida collection cases. After a review of your case, Mr. Gebeloff will devise a collection strategy that is appropriate for you.

Contact Stephen B. Gebeloff, P.A., Collection Law Firm at (561) 953-4600 or email Mr. Gebeloff steve@gebelofflaw.com to discuss your Florida debt collection needs.

 

Collecting on Fraudulent Transfer in Florida

Florida Collection  Attorney and Collection Law Firm

Florida Collection Attorney and Collection Law Firm

In Florida if principals of a company who are trying to avoid paying the debts of the company attempt to transfer funds and or open up another company, Florida law allows creditors to bring a third-party action against the officers and the new entity to attempt to recover their money. Many debtors in Florida believe simply by transferring money to another person and or opening a new business will put their assets out of reach of creditors in Florida.

With a proper motion brought before a Florida Court, the Judge will grant joinder. This means the officers who transferred money and the new entity will be brought into a Florida lawsuit brought to collect money from the original debtor.

Just because a business appears t be closed or administratively dissolved our Florida Collection Law Firm and Collection Attorney will investigate to see if there is a possibility to assert a cause of action for transferring the money.

Call us if you have any questions about successor liability in Florida for transfer of assets. It is easy to place a Florida collection account with our firm. You may mail or email your supporting documents to our collection firm. Our Florida collection attorney will review your account and then contact you to devise a strategy for your Florida collection matter.

Stephen B. Gebeloff, P.A.
5255 N. Federal Hwy., 3rd Floor
Boca Raton, FL 33487
(561)953-4600
fax(561)953-4610
steve@gebelofflaw.com

 

Discovery During the Florida Collection Case

During litigation in Florida, the Plaintiff and Defendant are able to exchange discovery. This is usually accomplished by utilizing any combination of interrogatories, request for production of documents, request for admissions and or taking depositions. In Florida the opposing party has thirty (30) days to respond to discovery requests. In the Florida debt collection process this is a valuable tool to flush out the defendants defenses if any to your Florida collection case. By using a Florida collection lawyer or Florida collection firm, you can make sure that you have all the documents and information you need from the debtor before going to trial.

If you have any further questions regarding the Florida debt collection process or discovery during the Florida debt collection process, feel free to call or email our collection lawyer to answer your questions.