What Happens If You Ignore Being Served a Lawsuit?

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Thesaints
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Re: What Happens If You Ignore Being Served a Lawsuit?

Post by Thesaints » Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:56 pm

totallystudly wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:38 pm
Horrible, irresponsible advice here. Service of process varies wildly state by state. Posting the lawsuit most certainly is valid service in some states. Some you need court permission to serve it that way others a certain # of attempts. I've gotten default judgments when people refused to sign for certified mail and collected.
Maybe, but not in NC.

ResearchMed
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Re: What Happens If You Ignore Being Served a Lawsuit?

Post by ResearchMed » Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:27 pm

The way this was presented leaves me quite confused. (Someone else mentioned the dribs and drabs of info being trickled out... but why?)

Anyway, WHY was the service made to YOUR home?
IS it YOUR home? Who owns it, your relatives (being sued) or you?

Either way, that property could be in jeopardy, IF the house is within court's jurisdiction (and perhaps if not).

A lot just isn't clear here.

But I *definitely* agree: this should NOT be ignored.
Sure, if Plaintiffs end up in court claiming (falsely) that defendants were properly served, how would the Judge ever know this, if no on shows up?
There would then likely be a default judgment, which could involve liens, or garnishment, etc... who knows... the defendants surely wouldn't... until it all hits the fan.

And *you* may end up involved, if it isn't clear that you/your home aren't part of the "case".

Trying to challenge the judgment isn't going to be easier than trying to defend against it from the start.

And OP... you need to make sure that YOU/your possessions and possibly your home don't end up in trouble because of some lack of information due to "no show", etc.

Good luck!

RM
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GmanJeff
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Re: What Happens If You Ignore Being Served a Lawsuit?

Post by GmanJeff » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:04 pm

It would be foolish to fail to engage the insurance company and their counsel on the theory that service of process was inadequate. With no defendant appearing in court to object, the plaintiff will almost certainly receive a default judgment and thereafter will make efforts to collect on it. Defending against those efforts at that stage will likely be far more expensive and inconvenient than addressing the issue from the outset, through counsel.

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tooluser
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Re: What Happens If You Ignore Being Served a Lawsuit?

Post by tooluser » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:22 pm

If calling the insurance company is a no go for them, consider that most local Bar Associations have free or low cost initial legal consultations available. I used our local service once long ago in a real estate dispute. The advice was well worth the small fee, and I never actually had to hire a lawyer.
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dknightd
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Re: What Happens If You Ignore Being Served a Lawsuit?

Post by dknightd » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:26 pm

Somebody could end up in jail. Maybe. Is that a risk you want to take?

dlabel
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Re: What Happens If You Ignore Being Served a Lawsuit?

Post by dlabel » Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:52 pm

If your relative knows about the suit and does not contact their insurance company, the insurance company could use the failure to notify as an excuse to get out of its obligation to defend your relative.

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Re: What Happens If You Ignore Being Served a Lawsuit?

Post by dlabel » Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:57 pm

bigtex wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 3:43 pm
quantAndHold wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 3:39 pm
The people being sued really, really need to talk to a lawyer. If they had insurance that will cover the claim, they need to get the insurance company involved. If they didn’t, they still need to talk to a lawyer. If it’s a legitimate six figure lawsuit, it’s not going away.
No they had the state minimum liability coverage. So not even close to covering the claim.

Even if the claim is larger than the insurance, if there is coverage the insurance company likely has an obligation to defend the claim.

Case59
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Re: What Happens If You Ignore Being Served a Lawsuit?

Post by Case59 » Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:02 pm

I am a lawyer and there is some incredibly irresponsible advice being bandied about on this thread. Do not take legal advice from the internet, except for this advice: Contact a real lawyer, in your state.
"Most quotations on the internet are incorrect."-Mark Twain

RudyS
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Re: What Happens If You Ignore Being Served a Lawsuit?

Post by RudyS » Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:42 pm

Case59 wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:02 pm
I am a lawyer and there is some incredibly irresponsible advice being bandied about on this thread. Do not take legal advice from the internet, except for this advice: Contact a real lawyer, in your state.
I am not a lawyer, but this IS the best advice yet.

Jimmie
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Re: What Happens If You Ignore Being Served a Lawsuit?

Post by Jimmie » Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:47 pm

RudyS wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:42 pm
Case59 wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:02 pm
I am a lawyer and there is some incredibly irresponsible advice being bandied about on this thread. Do not take legal advice from the internet, except for this advice: Contact a real lawyer, in your state.
I am not a lawyer, but this IS the best advice yet.
+1

It never ceases to amaze me the lengths people will go to avoid seeing a lawyer when the situation merits it. In a variety of legal experiences in my life, lawyers I hired were worth DOUBLE what I paid them, in peace of mind, if nothing else.

randomguy
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Re: What Happens If You Ignore Being Served a Lawsuit?

Post by randomguy » Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:52 pm

Jimmie wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:47 pm
RudyS wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:42 pm
Case59 wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:02 pm
I am a lawyer and there is some incredibly irresponsible advice being bandied about on this thread. Do not take legal advice from the internet, except for this advice: Contact a real lawyer, in your state.
I am not a lawyer, but this IS the best advice yet.
+1

It never ceases to amaze me the lengths people will go to avoid seeing a lawyer when the situation merits it. In a variety of legal experiences in my life, lawyers I hired were worth DOUBLE what I paid them, in peace of mind, if nothing else.
Who should see the lawyer? Seems to me the proper course for the OP who isn't part of the lawsuit (as far as I can tell) is to let the serving company know the person listed isn't at this address anymore. Do I really have a legal obligation to deliver mail for them? Get yourself out of the picture and let the relative deal with it when they get served. And yes they either need a lawyer or an insurance company that has lawyers.

Finridge
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Re: What Happens If You Ignore Being Served a Lawsuit?

Post by Finridge » Wed Feb 13, 2019 2:24 am

bigtex wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:50 pm
I was recently served with a lawsuit posted on my door for an auto accident over a year ago. What If I don't respond and ignore it? What would most likely happen, and how long would it take for something to happen?
What will most likely happen? Both good things and bad things.

Let's start with the good: You'll save lawyer's expenses you would otherwise incur in fighting the case. You will save the time you would spend in fighting the case.

The bad things: You will lose the case by default. A judgment will be entered into against you. You will then be required to pay the judgment. You may be required to appear at judgment debtor hearings (and if you ignore the summons for those, an arrest warrant my be issued for you.) Your wages might be garnished. You may be bankrupted. You may lose your home.

Bottom line: Don't ignore it. Get a competent lawyer to help you defend yourself.

SrGrumpy
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Re: What Happens If You Ignore Being Served a Lawsuit?

Post by SrGrumpy » Wed Feb 13, 2019 7:35 am

Finridge wrote:
Wed Feb 13, 2019 2:24 am
Bottom line: Don't ignore it. Get a competent lawyer to help you defend yourself.
OP is not the defendant. Ideally he should clarify his post so that good people don't waste their time, but that may be asking too much.

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bigtex
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Re: What Happens If You Ignore Being Served a Lawsuit?

Post by bigtex » Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:04 am

SrGrumpy wrote:
Wed Feb 13, 2019 7:35 am
Finridge wrote:
Wed Feb 13, 2019 2:24 am
Bottom line: Don't ignore it. Get a competent lawyer to help you defend yourself.
OP is not the defendant. Ideally he should clarify his post so that good people don't waste their time, but that may be asking too much.
That's right. I'm not the defendent, but I am involved because the papers were served at my address. Kin uses my address since they do not have a permanent residence.

ResearchMed
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Re: What Happens If You Ignore Being Served a Lawsuit?

Post by ResearchMed » Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:22 am

bigtex wrote:
Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:04 am
SrGrumpy wrote:
Wed Feb 13, 2019 7:35 am
Finridge wrote:
Wed Feb 13, 2019 2:24 am
Bottom line: Don't ignore it. Get a competent lawyer to help you defend yourself.
OP is not the defendant. Ideally he should clarify his post so that good people don't waste their time, but that may be asking too much.
That's right. I'm not the defendent, but I am involved because the papers were served at my address. Kin uses my address since they do not have a permanent residence.
Then, as others have repeatedly stated, and as I emphasized above precisely *because* service was at YOUR address, YOU need to speak with an attorney. Then... you take it from there, depending upon what the attorney recommends, etc.

Why are you not doing this, given the possible consequences, which are unknown, uncertain, but possibly dramatic? You do not yet know what the consequences of a mistaken assumption, for example, that YOU are the one responsible... It could be unpleasant for a while, and perhaps a lot more expensive than a brief consult with an attorney.
That attorney might send a letter to the actual responsible parties... that's TBD per attorney recommendations.
At the least, do your best to keep yourself from legal jeopardy.
Do you own the home in your name alone?

RM
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8foot7
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Re: What Happens If You Ignore Being Served a Lawsuit?

Post by 8foot7 » Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:27 am

The OP's kinfolk need the lawyer. The OP doesn't, because he's not the one getting sued. I don't think the OP needs to spend hundreds of dollars to meet with an attorney because somebody stapled papers meant for someone else on his door. He just needs to make a good faith effort to separate himself from the confusion about who lives where and whether the papers were actually delivered or not.

I'd send a certified letter return receipt requested to whomever the attorney is that's bringing the suit, let that attorney know the people he's suing don't live with you and didn't get the papers, and to stop bothering you because you have nothing to do with whatever is going on. That's $5 and the time it takes to write a letter and go to the post office.

But yes, the people being sued desperately need the attorney.

cherijoh
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Re: What Happens If You Ignore Being Served a Lawsuit?

Post by cherijoh » Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:03 am

Rupert wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 3:29 pm
bigtex wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 3:28 pm
10.06am wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 3:25 pm
Posting on a residence can be proper service depending on the jurisdiction, judge, etc.

Proper service or not, if your relative doesn't respond they could be subject to a default judgement. At best they could then appeal the judgement. In my mind it is much better to get out ahead of the judgement and handle the lawsuit rather than spend the time and money to appeal it later on.

It's not going away.
What is fair game once a default judgement is issued? They don't have near the assets that the suit is for. Don't own a home etc. They do own valuable vehicles and recreational equipment.
The plaintiff can attempt to garnish their wages. If they own any real property, a lien can be placed on that property. Some states allow you to obtain liens on personal property, e.g., vehicles.
I have heard that it is very hard to garnish wages unless it is for back taxes or child support. I am not a lawyer, so take this with a grain of salt.

Finridge
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Re: What Happens If You Ignore Being Served a Lawsuit?

Post by Finridge » Wed Feb 13, 2019 5:14 pm

cherijoh wrote:
Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:03 am
Rupert wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 3:29 pm
bigtex wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 3:28 pm
10.06am wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 3:25 pm
Posting on a residence can be proper service depending on the jurisdiction, judge, etc.

Proper service or not, if your relative doesn't respond they could be subject to a default judgement. At best they could then appeal the judgement. In my mind it is much better to get out ahead of the judgement and handle the lawsuit rather than spend the time and money to appeal it later on.

It's not going away.
What is fair game once a default judgement is issued? They don't have near the assets that the suit is for. Don't own a home etc. They do own valuable vehicles and recreational equipment.
The plaintiff can attempt to garnish their wages. If they own any real property, a lien can be placed on that property. Some states allow you to obtain liens on personal property, e.g., vehicles.
I have heard that it is very hard to garnish wages unless it is for back taxes or child support. I am not a lawyer, so take this with a grain of salt.
Not true of most U.S. jurisdictions.

It's the rules of the OP's jurisdiction that will count. Some guy in, say Idaho, who "heard stuff" from his aunt in Florida or wherever about how some legal rule doesn't or doesn't apply--what his aunt thinks she knows will be completely irrelevant to most other people, even if what she thinks he knows is actually true (which may not be very likely to begin with). That's not the way it works.

Where would you be if you started driving on the left side of the road here in the U.S. because your buddy in the U.K. (or Japan, or Australia) told you that this is the rule.

This is why whoever is being sued here needs a lawyer. (The original post made it sound like OP was the defendant. Glad to hear that is not the case.)

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Re: What Happens If You Ignore Being Served a Lawsuit?

Post by LadyGeek » Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:29 pm

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