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Old 08-04-2005, 08:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Promissory Note, pending judgement need help

In 1999 me and my live in girlfriend took a loan from her mother and each signed a promissory note. We paid half off until we split in 2001 and I took all of our debt and she said she would repay her mother the remaining amount. Three years later I am served with a lawsuit from her mother wanting me to payoff the remaining balance plus late fees and attorney costs, and she included a copy of the promissory I signed, not the one her daughter signed (I am sure this one doesn't exist anymore). I don't have a copy of the one my ex girlfriend signed...all I have is an email from the mother saying WE (she and I) never paid her back and copies of the checks my girlfriend signed from our joint checking acct. to her mother for payment. Do I have a defense here? I don't owe her mother the full amount only half at best.
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Old 08-05-2005, 02:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Cool Talk to a lawyer, you have options!

Quote:
Originally Posted by akersdallas
In 1999 me and my live in girlfriend took a loan from her mother and each signed a promissory note. We paid half off until we split in 2001 and I took all of our debt and she said she would repay her mother the remaining amount. Three years later I am served with a lawsuit from her mother wanting me to payoff the remaining balance plus late fees and attorney costs, and she included a copy of the promissory I signed, not the one her daughter signed (I am sure this one doesn't exist anymore). I don't have a copy of the one my ex girlfriend signed...all I have is an email from the mother saying WE (she and I) never paid her back and copies of the checks my girlfriend signed from our joint checking acct. to her mother for payment. Do I have a defense here? I don't owe her mother the full amount only half at best.

In civil litigation a defendant has rights of discovery. This means you can do things like, demand that they send you all their paperwork, demand that they answer about the existence of the second promissory note, the existence of verbal agreements, etc… You can “depose” them, meaning you can get them into a room and force them to answer relevant questions about the facts of the case.

You can also counter sue for debts you paid off after you broke up.

There is a lot you can do through the litigation process; the question is always, is it worth it?

Usually in business, these types of cases are settled at some point before trial. Trial is expensive and can take over a year to go all the way through the process and get a judgment. Even with a judgment, they still need to enforce the judgment and collect against you.

If they actually served a law suit against you already, speak to a civil litigation lawyer immediately! You have a deadline to respond that is usually about 30 days. If you don’t, you may loose your rights. If they just sent you a letter, called a “demand letter”, asking you to pay, you have a bit more time. Regardless, the process is the same. Evaluate with your lawyer the merits of their case and whether it’s worth fighting. Have the lawyer call them and try to negotiate a settlement or resolve this issue. (Having the lawyer do this instead of you protects your rights and shows them that you plan to defend yourself and not just roll over and play dead.) Always be prepared to make rational decisions, fight the case all the way if it makes the most sense, or settle if that makes more sense for you in your situation. Only you can decide, with the advice of counsel.

As I said, most (over 90%) of cases business cases like this settle. There are reasons why. Your lawyer can explain better.

Finally, I’m not sure they can sue you for “attorney’s fees” in a case like this. This makes a big difference because it will determine their costs of recovery against you, and if they can sue for attorney’s fees, you can ask for attorney’s fees if they loose. Check with your business lawyer!
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