Don't Go to Court Without a Lawyer

I am continually confounded at the attempts of some of the debt buyers' attorneys to bamboozle judges into thinking that they can prove their case. I just won a case against such a zealous attorney. Although, her arguments fell on deaf ears, I found myself complimenting her to the judge for trying so hard to win a loser case. Most of the debt collection lawyers know me. In debt buyer cases, I've had several occasions where the debt collection lawyer concedes to me that they're not going to win the case because they know that I will make them prove something that they can't prove.

Debt buyers are usually companies that buy credit card debt accounts from the original credit card companies such as Chase, Citicard, Discover, Capitol One, etc. They buy these accounts so inexpensively, that they are given very few account statements and other documents needed to prove the accuracy of the information provided to them. Higher court decisions in our state have helped to bolster our defense of these cases because the debt buyers must prove that there is a contract between my client and the original credit card company. This is problematic for the debt buyers' lawyers, who are rarely provided with sufficient documentation to win their case. Wouldn't it make sense that if you are claiming that my client breached the terms of a contract with your client or its' predescessor, that you show the Court the actual contract which contains the terms that my client allegedly breached? Or have a sufficient number of account statements showing that the debits, credits and interest were correctly applied by the previous owner of the account?

Instead of going to court with competent evidence, these lawyers count on the unsuspecting defendant to either not defend their cases or to appear in court without legal counsel and be manipulated into an agreement for a judgment to be entered against them with a repayment plan or, if no agreement is reached, to admit to the judge that they owe the money, despite having no clue as to what they may or may not know and, whether or not this is even their account.

In this particular case, the debt buyer's attorney did not know me and because of that, assumed I did not know what I was doing. She promptly began trying to test me. She first admonished me because my client was not coming to court to testify. I told her that, absent a subpoena, my client did not have to appear and she should know that is the law. She kept insisting I was wrong and told me that she would bring this to the Judge's attention and get a default judgment. In other words, ask the judge to find in her client's favor because my client was not there.

She said she would tell the judge that I deprived her of the opportunity to call my client as a witness so that she could try to get my client to admit that he owes the money she claims he owes her client. Even if she were able to do that, it would be quite ironic, given that her client wasn't there either. Since the Rules of Court allow her to submit certain documents into evidence with or without her client's physical presence and allow me to appear in place of my client, her position had no merit whatsoever.

Once we got over that little tiff, she quickly found out that I knew how to try this type of case. Although, she made several impassioned attempts to circumvent the rules of evidence, the judge wasn't buying any of her arguments. At one point, she told the judge that she could call her client and get the documents that she needed to prove her case. Being that we were in the middle of trial and that other cases were waiting to be heard, the judge quickly dismissed that request. We won the case and she told me that they would appeal. I often hear this threat from disgruntled, debt buyers' attorneys, however, unless they actually appeal, telling me means nothing. If you are going to appeal, just do it.

One final note. Due to large discrepancies in the amounts claimed by the debt buyer in the documents provided to my client, I will be preparing a lawsuit against this debt buyer and its law firm for engaging in deceptive trade practices in their attempts to collect a debt against my client.

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