Texas provides various means with which to aid in the collection of debts during the pendency of a lawsuit. These are generally referred to as prejudgment remedies. The most common of these include sequestration, attachment and garnishment (add hyperlinks to each). Click on the links to learn more about these prejudgment collection remedies.
Other common prejudgment remedies often used by creditors include default judgments, motions for summary judgment, discovery and settlement.
Default Judgments. After a lawsuit is served on a defendant , which is call service of process in which a copy of the petition along with a citation is given to a defendant, an answer must be filed by 10:00 a.m. on the Monday following the expiration of 20 days after the date of service. See Tex.R.Civ.P. 45. If no answer is filed, a plaintiff may request a default judgment be entered against the defendant. Once the default judgment is signed by the court, the plaintiff may immediately begin to utilize certain post judgment remedies
Motions For Summary Judgment. Defendants often file answers to lawsuits to delay the process and negotiate a settlement with the plaintiff. A motion for summary judgment is a procedural remedy to obtain a judgment from a defendant when no genuine issue of fact exists and the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. Many collections cases are resolved by summary judgment as defendants often have no real defense to the claims asserted against them.
Discovery. Our law firm usually serves discovery with the original petition in a collections case. This serves multiple purposes. It requires the defendant to disclose more specific information about any defenses it may be asserting, it serves to limit the issues ultimately presented to the trier of the case and further directs us to the existence of any evidence that might be used at trial. The most common forms of permissible discovery include written interrogatories, requests for admission, oral and written depositions and requests for production of documents.
Settlement. Our number one goal is to recover debt. When circumstances require, which may include valid defense or simply maintaining business relationships, settlement for a lesser amount than what is owed may be a good option. Settlement can also mean a reduction in attorneys fees or a payment plan. Settlement can be achieved at any stage of a collections lawsuit or after a judgment is obtained. In certain circumstances, mediation is a preferred method to achieve settlement. Mediation is a fairly informal process in which both sides are brought together to present their sides of a controversy to a mediator who attempts to effect a settlement on behalf of the parties.
Temporary restraining orders/injunctions. Another pre-judgment collections tool available to creditors in texas is the temporary restraining order (tro). The tro can be used in circumstances when a plaintiff, who otherwise does not have an adequate remedy at law, will suffer immediate and irreparable injury, loss or damage if certain conduct of the defendant is allowed to continue. In a commercial debt collections context, a writ of injunction or temporary restraining order may be granted to prevent a defendant from taking actions that would tend to render the judgment in that litigation ineffectual. An example would be the situation where a debtor begins to sell or transfer assets during the pendency of litigation in anticipation of an adverse judgment.
To speak to a knowledgeable, dedicated and aggressive Dallas-Fort Worth Texas collection attorney at Bristol & Dubiel LLP please call our office at (214) 880-9988, or if you prefer, contact us through this Web site and a lawyer from our office will contact you promptly.