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The regards an alleged AmEx cc debt of approx. $8k, with a default date in 2012.
Approx. one year still remains on the (6 year) SOL. Based on a recent letter from AmEx I'm expecting them to initiate litigation within a week. The point of this thread is to explore which options, strategies, and tactics are the most advantageous.


I need some help in understanding, a.) What options are available to me, b.)What the timelines are for implementing various tactics, and c.) How to choose the most effective defense or resolution. I'm trying to devise a flow chart of sorts in my head, which represents my options.
I'm under time pressure both because of AmEx's notification of their intent to sue, and the fact that I will be traveling out of the state and/or country in a month, so my windows for court appearances are restrictive.

About three weeks ago I received a letter from AmEx stating that they intended to sue me in 30 days if an alleged debt with them was not settled. Here's a link to a thread that discusses the letter and provides some background:

Letter from AmEx Stating Intention to Commence Legal Action Within 30 Days
http://www.debtorboards.com/index.php/topic,30083.0.html

“"Unless payment in full is made or you arrange for repayment of this debt in a manner acceptable to American Express, it is our intention to commence legal action against you within thirty (30) days to recover the balance due on the account. If you are represented by an attorney, your attorney may contact this office at xxx-xxx-xxxx."
“If your payment is less than the full account amount, we reserve the right to continue our collection efforts, which may include but is not limited to, telephone calls, e-mails, letters and/or the commencement of litigation, unless we have reached a payment arrangement with you. Again, we urge you to contact us to discuss what type of payment arrangement may work for you.”
-American Express Legal””

Based on AmEx’s letter, should I assume that they would initiate litigation by August 29th (or face the threat of a FCDPA violation for threatening to sue without following through)? Or do they have until the expiration of the SOL to sue?
7 days from the date of the letter is August 29th(!) and only leaves me 4 business days to act!!

Alleged Debts:
I have an alleged outstanding debt on a handful of credit cards delinquent since 2012 and totaling approx. $70k (almost the entire amount was legal fees in civil lawsuits which I ‘won’).

The SOL has expired on three of these debts, leaving approx. $25k still within the SOL, a breakdown of which follows:
-$8k of AmEx debt, the consideration off which is the content of this post.
-$10k of alleged debt is owed to State Farm and the SOL expires in a couple months. I have not heard from State Farm in at least a couple years.
-$7k is owned by Midland who purchased a cc debt from Citibank two years ago; at that time I DV’d Midland disputing the debt and electing JAMS arb to resolve any dispute. I’ve not heard from Midland since. The SOL on this alleged debt expires in one year.

I’ve been told that I can pretty much count on Midland not suing for the Citibank cc debt due to the expense of JAMS arb to collect on $7k. I’m crossing my fingers that the SOL on State Farm will silently expire in one month. Which leave only AmEx as an active threat.

Some AmEx Background:
Unfortunately, I miscalculated the AmEx SOL … I searched hi and low and asked questions but never got a clear answer, so I assumed the SOL was 4 years (which would have emanate it expired one year ago). Apparently I’m wording and the SOL is 6 years … so there’s still one year left on AmEx’s SOL.

Two years ago I received a dunning letter from Nationwide, on behalf of AmEx. I DV’d Nationwide disputing the debt and electing JAMS arb to resolve any dispute. I received a reply from AmEx that included a thick stack of copies of all cc statements. I have no doubt that AmEx sufficient evidence and records to prevail in any court action or arbitration. To the best of my knowledge I have no valid counterclaim(s) against AmEx and which could function as leverage in negotiations.
Q.) Does electing arb in a DV letter -then not following through and actually initiating arb - disqualify one from subsequently initiating arbitration at a later date?


My finances:
I'm in my mid-50s. For at least as long as I've had the alleged defaulted debt, I've not been employed. I've received foodstamps and Medicaid for the past few years. My only income is a fixed monthly stipend from a family member which covers my only covers my rent (I share an apartment with two others at an extremely reduced rate) and bare essentials. I have about $200 in savings. I have never owned any property, investments, stocks, bonds, etc. I do not have any retirement savings whatsoever and never have. I do not own a vehicle (the only vehicle I've owned was a motorcycle and that was over 20 years ago). The only credit activity shown over the past few years on my credit report is a $30-$40/month credit card charge paid off monthly.
I’ve never filed for bankruptcy and I would prefer not to, and especially not for a mere $8k of debt … I’d like to preserve the BK option for really desperate straights. Furthermore, all the Credit Agencies reporting of all of these bad debts will expire in just two more years. However, if I get a judgement from AmEx I'll file for bankruptcy ... there is no way they will ever collect on their debt.


Options
Off the top of my head here’s my options:
1) Talk Off
2) Settlement. In the past I’ve received letters from AmEx offering to settle for 60% of the debt (approx. $4,800).
There’s some possible that I could pay a settlement with AmEx for around 25%-33% of the debt = $2,000 - $2,630 if I borrowed the money. I could probably borrow this amount of money from family members, and would prefer this to bankruptcy, which is my absolute LAST resort.
3) File Preemptive Arb. The problem here is one of timing. I’ll be leaving town in one month. I will be back for about a week in November, then be gone until February 2018. I have roommates so a clever process server will easily outsmart them and complete service (not to mention the prospect of sewer service). I’m going under the assumption that I’ll be successfully served.
I’ve been told that arb is a possibility in this situation as one can do it remotely via email. The problem is I do not want to jump into the breech and initiate arb until it seems inevitable and my back is against the wall. (I was aggressively urged to do this a couple of years ago by the peanut gallery and was only saved by Flyingifr’s advice to lay low.
4) Wait to be sued in civil court and file a motion to compel arbitration. The problem with this is I do not know the timing when AmEx if/when AmEx will sue, nor do I know the timelines … which will be critical as I will be out of town … for filing an answer and defense, filing a motion to compel arbitration, having a hearing over the motion to compel, and subsequent initiation of arbitration.
5) Do nothing. With hopes AmEx never sues or sues at a more opportune time for me.
6) Other?

Due to the timing, this makes any planning and traveling out of town extremely problematic. I’m trying to find the best course of action.


Worst-case scenarios:
1) I’m sued in court and am not here to litigate it, and AmEx wins a default judgment.
Q. Can they get legal fees in a court judgment?
2.) I’m successful in compelling arbitration in a court case; but after a long arb case, including any appeals, I lose the arbitration and have a judgment against me.
Q. Can they get legal fees in an arb judgment?
3.) Bankruptcy to discharge any judgment.


Talk-Off
A 'talk off' seems the most desirable solution, but I'm skeptical it would be successful (maybe due to my age ... and the fact that AmEx seems perfectly comfortable expending untold tens of thousands of dollars in arb to recoup small debts sums of only a few thousand $$). It's certainly worth a try and there's nothing to lose.  I'm unclear how to go about doing this and who exactly to contact. I also only have four business days left before the ’30 day’ deadline.
I'm not an attorney and I'm cautious about having to conduct a conversation and sharing any info that might be end up being injurious to my situation, or worse, provide AmEx with more ammo for when they go to court. I don’t want to end up admitting to anything or spilling the beans ... especially to several people at AmEx because I'm not speaking with the actual individual who has the responsibility and authority to waive my debt, should a talk-off be a possibility.

Other Questions:
-Do Talk-Offs ever occur in court when opposing parties meet to discuss the dispute?
-If a settlement is to occur, when is the most advantageous time to pursue it?

Any help, insight, or suggestions are greatly appreciated.
Thanks a bunch!



2
The Government / Re: US Treasurary/Debt Collection on Reenlistment bonus DOD
« Last post by djr20121 on Yesterday at 09:34:03 PM »
Can this also prove true for AAFES debt?

Are there limitations/ reasons to fight against recoupment?
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Credit Related Scams to be aware of / Re: Unknown Inquires On Your Credit Report
« Last post by tye78 on Yesterday at 04:13:15 PM »
You can opt-out of promo inquires by asking CRAs to not share your info by calling this # 1-888-5-OPT OUT.
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Arbitration / Re: Summons in AZ by LVNV Funding & Guglielmo for Credit One
« Last post by TM97 on Yesterday at 08:46:23 AM »
That would be my guess of what will happen. But anything can happen in az justice court.

Better to do a little too much than too little.

I am discovering this fact.  I do agree though I would rather err on the side of too much than too little.  At least another one is done and now on the back burner for us to focus on work, saving, and BK in earnest. 
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General Credit Forum / Re: Delaying creditors from suing..
« Last post by Flyingifr on August 21, 2017 11:03:28 PM »
thanks.so you had house house in trust for 6 years? Was that when you went into default or when they started trying to collect? Is 3 years long enough to be safe. im in alabama.. i know that almost every state has ufta..but certain things must happen to claim that..I still dont trust these snakes in the grass..thanks

The principle is the same everywhere but the time that must run out so that the Trust is secure varies from State to State. Here in AZ it is 4 years.
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General Credit Forum / Re: Delaying creditors from suing..
« Last post by sticksandstones on August 21, 2017 08:22:28 PM »
thanks.so you had house house in trust for 6 years? Was that when you went into default or when they started trying to collect? Is 3 years long enough to be safe. im in alabama.. i know that almost every state has ufta..but certain things must happen to claim that..I still dont trust these snakes in the grass..thanks
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We'll see what happens...

If the Ninth Circuit's opinion is again appealed.

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Arbitration / Re: Summons in AZ by LVNV Funding & Guglielmo for Credit One
« Last post by Jane007 on August 21, 2017 07:12:52 PM »
So I am hopeful the judge will rule to stay the case while we proceed through arbitration and that the continuance will be a moot point by the time she gets to it anyway.
That would be my guess of what will happen. But anything can happen in az justice court.

Better to do a little too much than too little.


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The "usual suspect(s)" missed the entire point.

While the Supreme Court did sent the case back to the Ninth Circuit to decide, again...

The Supreme Court did so, not because it disagreed with with the basic tenants of the Ninth Circuit's Decision - but because it found that the Ninth Circuit's "analysis was incomplete".

The Supreme Court explained that standing requires a plaintiff to plead an injury-in-fact that is both “particularized” and “concrete.” The Ninth Circuit, however, addressed only the “particularized” nature of the alleged injury, and not whether the injury was “concrete”—i.e., “‘real’ and not ‘abstract.’”

The Court therefore remanded to the Ninth Circuit to address the “concreteness requirement.”

On remand, the Ninth Circuit determined that the plaintiff had sufficiently pled a concrete injury under the Supreme Court’s guidance in its Decision. The Court began by noting “that some statutory violations, alone, do establish concrete harm.” The Ninth Circuit endorsed the Second Circuit’s standard for determining concreteness in the context of a statutory violation: “an alleged procedural violation [of a statute] can by itself manifest concrete injury where Congress conferred the procedural right to protect a plaintiff’s concrete interests and where the procedural violation presents ‘a risk of real harm’ to that concrete interest.”

The Ninth Circuit determined that Congress established the FCRA provision at issue (§ 1681e(b)) to protect consumers’ concrete interests—i.e., to protect consumers from the transmission of inaccurate information in consumer reports. The Ninth Circuit found that the interests protected by the FCRA’s procedural requirements are “‘real,’ rather than purely legal creations,” and that the “dissemination of false information in consumer reports can itself constitute a concrete harm” and has “real-world implications.”

The concreteness determination “requires some examination of the nature of the specific alleged reporting inaccuracies to ensure that they raise a real risk of harm to the concrete interests that FCRA protects.” The Ninth Circuit found that the plaintiff had alleged facts “substantially more likely to harm his concrete interests than the Supreme Court’s example”. The alleged inaccuracies relate to the plaintiff’s age, marital status, employment, graduate degrees and wealth level. The plaintiff also alleges that the inaccurate report “‘caused actual harm to [his] employment prospects’ by misrepresenting facts that would be relevant to employers.”

The Ninth Circuit reasoned that such inaccuracies “can hurt an individual’s employment prospects as they may cause a prospective employer to question the applicant’s truthfulness or to determine that he is overqualified for the position sought.” In sum, the Ninth Circuit found that the alleged inaccuracies were not the sort of “‘mere technical violations’ which are too insignificant to present a sincere risk of harm to the real-world interests that Congress chose to protect with FCRA.” Therefore, the Ninth Circuit found that the plaintiff adequately alleged the elements necessary for standing and remanded the case to the district court.




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Arbitration / Re: Summons in AZ by LVNV Funding & Guglielmo for Credit One
« Last post by TM97 on August 21, 2017 05:26:33 PM »
I wouldn't submit anything that long or anything with much caselaw or exhibits for a motion to continue.

It needs to be really short, something that can be read in 10 or 20 seconds.  More like cancelling a dentist appointment (with a very brief reason) and less like the Magna Carta.

Search the web some. It would even be okay to use the fill-in form for a motion to continue that some precincts provide.

The beginning of what you posted is an okay start, shorten it down after the first couple of paragraphs.  Don't re-argue your motion to compel, just reference it.  No affidavits or exhibits.

Well darn, I just got your message after I returned to the court.  I did re-read your previous posts, shortened it some (removed much of arbitration references and case law, numerically bullet pointed the rest, but I did submit an affidavit and three exhibits (user agreement, MTC arbitration, and affidavit). 

Hopefully it won't be an issue.  The regular clerk, a nice older man, was there today.  I explained the docket error.  He looked it up, looked at my Motion, and said yes, the person covering made a mistake.  He asked what I was filing.  I said a Motion to Continue and/or Stay the mediation.  He said, I probably did not need it given the MTC arbitration will be heard within two weeks and ruled upon first before she even gets to the Continuance.  He checked my documents and date/time stamped them. 

So I am hopeful the judge will rule to stay the case while we proceed through arbitration and that the continuance will be a moot point by the time she gets to it anyway.
 At least I know now for the future if I need to do such a Continuance again how to keep it shorter and the lack of need for exhibits and affidavits. 

I will be back on this one in a few weeks once I find out the next steps.  I think I am about to be served another one given someone banged on the door yesterday while my partner was napping.  By the time she got up, they were gone.  I will start a new thread for that one.  It seems all these were default and into collection at the same time so over the year now, we keep getting served.  She is a step closer on BK though, and I am seeing where mine are and the settlement possibilities given they are much, much smaller debts. 

Thanks again, you were incredibly helpful on this.  :) 
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