More often than not, a lawsuit will be necessary. Demand letters are generally not taken as seriously as they should be by the debtor business. Prior to contacting us for representation, the creditor business has made multiple attempts to collect the debt through phone calls, letters and emails, all to no avail. The debtor business will typically not pay or get on an acceptable payment plan until faced with an immediate negative consequence in the form of the legal process of collections. The subject debt is often only one of many that is being juggled and the debtor business will seek to put out the immediate fire or grease the wheel squeaking the loudest. That usually translates to a lawsuit though we will make every effort to avoid that and resolve the case amicably all the while moving forward and not allowing the business debtor to engage in more delay tactics.
In Texas state court, the initial pleading in a lawsuit is called a petition while in Federal court it is called a complaint. The petition, or complaint, sets forth the plaintiff’s factual allegations and causes of action and requests appropriate relief. The clerk of the state court then issues a citation (in federal court the clerk issues a summons). The citation and summons give notice to the defendant that it has been sued and has a certain amount of time to file an answer, after which a default judgment may be entered against it. The citation or summons will then be forwarded to a private process server, constable or sheriff who will personally deliver it to the appropriate defendant representative.
We have filed many lawsuits in which the defendant was served and immediately entered into acceptable payment arrangements with our client. Businesses cannot represent themselves in Texas pro se, they must have an attorney file an answer on their behalf. Hopefully, when they meet with that attorney, they realize the importance and economic benefit of attempting to resolve the lawsuit as quickly as possible and avoid paying an attorney to delay the ultimate outcome in the form of a judgment against them.
If the defendant fails to file an answer within the time limit imposed by law, we will move for a default judgment and begin the post judgment collections process. Some courts require a motion and a hearing before a default judgment will be granted but most will grant the judgment if a request for it is accompanied with the appropriate paperwork required under the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure or Federal Rules of Civil Procedure as well as supporting affidavits. We will seek all relief requested in the petition or complaint including attorneys’ fees and court costs.
If the defendant files an answer, we will contact its attorney and continue to try and resolve the case without the need for incurring further time and expense but we will continue to move the litigation process forward to always keep pressure on the defendant to come to acceptable payment arrangements with our client.