Author Topic: Tennessee General Sessions Court-OC-Medical Bill-The Journey So Far  (Read 528 times)

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This is going to be long, therapeutic for me, and hopefully informative and helpful to others.

Part I: Advertisement: You are Being Sued

It was a Friday like any other.  I had just come home from work and was getting ready to try and decompress from the long work week.  I noticed a pile of mail begging for attention and decided to go through it.  In that innocuous looking pile, I found several letters from several local lawyers informing me that I was being sued.  I did the natural thing: <Removed> Once I calmed down and my logical brain regained control, I wondered why more than one lawyer would be contacting me about this.  I carefully examined the letters again and noted the word ADVERTISEMENT located at the top of all of these letters in big, bold type.  Hoping these were some kind of scams, I consulted the Great Google Oracle.

Turns out, numerous law firms monitor the court system for newly filed suits, and then send out advertisements for their bankruptcy services.  While not illegal, it is considered unethical/scuzzy to send out these advertisements prior to the summons being served.

Upside to the scuzzy: I had some notice before being served to research and prepare AND being served wouldn't be a total shock.  I now saw the Mac truck coming.

Part II: Preparation and Research Usually Work...Unless you live in Tennessee!

I spent that weekend researching like mad: researching what to expect, how the summons would come, how to answer the summons, court rules and laws, etc.  I spent hours watching videos and reading numerous websites and forums.  Armed with all this new found knowledge, I was pumped and ready to go.  Let's do this!

Part III: Getting Served

Not even a week passed following the receipt of the advertisements before my summons arrived (four days to be exact).  It came with NOTHING attached: no complaint, no "affidavit of sworn account and evidence attached thereto"; seriously, nothing.  And the answer form that I would supposedly have 20 to 30 days to fill out and file  according to my research?  Nope.  Just a statement that I was being sued for X amount plus X amount in attorney fees and court costs for a total of X amount on Sworn Account on the summons.  I was to appear before the court to answer in....TWO WEEKS!  Okay, so that didn't go as planned....

Part IV: I file an answer anyway (Sworn Denial)

I wanted to file some kind of written statement to protect my rights and so I filled out and filed out a Sworn Denial based on the one from Justice for All Tennessee (just google "sworn denial Tennessee" and it will come up).  Since I had no specific charges from a complaint to address, I just did a general, graduated denial.

When I filed the sworn denial, I had to actually tell the clerk how to do it.  I played dumb so as not to be insulting: <me with big doe eyes> "Um, I think I have to sign this in front of you".  Her response: "You are right, we don't get many of these so I'm rusty". 

Part V: Recon aka I go to court before my hearing date.

I decided that I didn't want to be surprised again if I could help it, so the week before I was due to go to court, I showed up just to observe.  It was a truly eye opening experience.  The lawyer who is suing me is in this court room literally every Friday except holidays (along with a few other lawyers).  My opponent lawyer files 30-50 suits PER WEEK and based on my observations, the majority are either settled or defaulted because no one shows up to defend it.

The judge comes in, the docket is read, and then the judge leaves.  Wait, what?  Yep, the judge leaves and the lawyers call each person in to the hall or in the case of my opponent, sets up shop in the front of the court room what I assume to be the Plaintiff's table during trials. The few people who did show up admitted to the debt right away and signed a paper that I'm assuming was a settlement.  I saw people sign settlements after saying that their name was wrong on the summons, asking the attorney how much they owed (HINT: HE DOESN'T KNOW), etc.

The one person who seemed like they might put up a struggle was told this: "well, you didn't file a sworn denial to dispute the debt"...upon which that person gave up and signed the dotted line.  HINT 2: while a written sworn denial is best, you can verbally deny the debt on your hearing day (Tenn Code:24-5-107)

As a veteran who literally put my life on the line to fight for our rights, I was truly disgusted to see these people, mostly poor and not white, have their rights trampled on so blatantly.  I've decided to turn that disgust into fuel for the fight and I will be consulting an attorney regarding some of what I witnessed.

The judge does eventually come back in to hear anyone who wants to be heard by a judge.  On this day, two asked to see the judge, but had already admited to the debt, so she made quick work out of it.

FYI, I think the judges must rotate weekly because the judge I appeared before on hearing day was different from the judge on recon day just a week earlier.

Part VI: Hearing Day

One week after recon, it is my turn.  I show up, say "present" during docket call, watch the judge leave, and wait for my turn to be called over by opponent attorney (OA).  The OA asks me why I don't think I owe the debt.  I say "Before I make any statements, I would like to see the complaint, sworn account, and evidence attached thereto".  He states that he is not required to file a complaint in Tn GS court and says that he doesn't have the sworn account or any docs.  I ask if I can get them from the clerks office and he says no, that he hasn't filed them (I later went to the clerk's office to confirm this).  He also states that it looks like we aren't going to be able to come to an agreement, and we schedule a court date.

Aside:  I'm not sure if it is legal that I was summoned with no evidence being file with the court.  I will be attending a free legal clinic next week to ask this and more questions.  Tn GS court is very lax from what I understand so I won't be surprised if it's SP.

Part VII: I did Discovery anyway

I filed a Request for Production of Documents and asked for a response within 30 days.  I was pretty sure discovery is not allowed in General Sessions Court (it's not), but I wanted a written record for my request of documentation, especially since OA has filed literally nothing with the court.  I'm not sure what my recourse is, but I will be asking about this during legal clinic as well.

Thanks for reading, I'll probably keep posting until this is resolved.  Good luck to everyone!

Admin Note:  Inappropriate language removed.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2017 04:50:44 PM by Admin0248 »
If I can fight and bleed for my rights on the battlefield, I sure as heck can do it in court.  They won't be shooting at me in court!


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Re: Tennessee General Sessions Court-OC-Medical Bill-The Journey So Far
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2017 04:53:17 PM »
This sounds exactly like my story, except I (unwisely) filed a motion to dismiss for "failure to state blah blah blah" based on the fact that the debt is showing as paid. Apparently, Rule 12 has limited applicability in General Sessions Court. : (

Still, it gave me a preview of what I might be up against. The hearing is later this month. And yeah, this attorney is also from a lawsuit mill. I'm hoping the judge isn't too tired to look at the evidence.

Let us know how it goes!