Thank you for the advice on Gringo's threads. Although a few years old, they are definitely full of good info. I also PM'ed him, so hopefully he'll have time to talk.
Reading another board, I was provided with some clarification on the AZ SOL timeframe change:
"As far as your 3-year vs. 6-year SOL dilemma, make the argument for the record, but your trial court will probably reject it. The change took effect in May 2011 under House Bill 2412. There are two cases from AZ Appeals Court, Div I from 2008 and 2009 where the courts found that credit cards were "open accounts" and subject to the 3-year SOL. When the bill was introduced in 2011, it was presented as a "clarification" (as opposed to "amendment", thus likely circumventing the prohibition of ex post facto changes in law) since there was confusion and courts were erroneously applying the 3-year SOL when it should have been 6 years all along. If a case goes to appeal in Div I on the 3-year SOL, the court will have to decide if it is going to agree with it's previous rulings on the matter or change it's mind now based on it's understanding for the changes to the law."
I've found my case on the court site, and all it states is that the initial case was filed and my answer was filed. It doesn't include an MSJ from them, though they stated in writing that they'd filed one....
I understand the cost for arbitration is low for me, but can't they stick me with attorneys' fees and all related costs, if they win there? That's how I read the cardmember agreement, unless I was misinterpreting the text....
As I understand it, if I do go with arbitration, I will just file a response to their disclosure with blanket objections to everything, citing "discovery scope will be set by arbitrator" as my reason. Or will that put me in a bad place, if discovery expires before there's a response to my motion? Does initiating arbitration reset the 40-day clock (or maybe pause it?) for when I have to respond to and submit my own disclosure?
I'm drafting an MTC arbitration right now. Will share when it's more complete. Thank you for the offers to proof it for me. Although I don't believe their case is in any way watertight, I've read enough about the AZ courts being attorney- and JDB-friendly that I'm scared of fighting in court. However, if I elect arbitration there isn't any going back.
Here is a more detailed description of what's in the disclosure:
1. A LETTER certifying that this was mailed to me on Feb 18th.
2. Their INITIAL DISCLOSURE STATEMENT, which is composed of:
1. Factual basis: Citibank provided financing to the Defendant(s) through CC purchases. Blah blah blah Defendant failed to pay. Unifund subsequently acquired debt and is now owner of past due debt.
2. Legal theory: Breach of contract.
3. Witnesses: a. Custodian of records for Unifund; b. Me; c. Any and all of my witnesses, "subject to Plaintiff's objection."
4. Repeat of 3.
5. People who have given statements: none
6. Expert witnesses: none
7. Computation of damages: see attached
8. Evidence: 6 of them. I'll list them below.
9. List of documents: All documents have been listed in response to #8 and supplied to Defendant(s) with this disclosure; will supplement. (Does that mean they'll send me more stuff?)
10. Date of last payment: 7/XX/2009.
3. AFFIDAVIT OF INDEBTEDNESS, a deposition from July 2013 by a Unifund employee swearing that the account was acquired from Citi and is now owned by Unifund; has been turned over to the attorney.
4. BILL OF SALE AND ASSIGNMENT, which is accompanied by a document titled ASSIGNMENT and EXHIBIT 1. Although they're right in a row, the first one contains zero personalized information and only document ID's and refers to "the Accounts described in Exhibit 1 and the final electronic file." It describes the sale of the account to PRM. Following this is the ASSIGNMENT, which is between PRM and Unifund. It lists Unifund as "Asignee," so I assume they're at least affiliated, if not the same company. Next is something that resembles an electronic file, but I don't see document numbers or anything identifying it as Citi creation. I could easily recreate it in MS Word. The file is confusing in structure and content; it's merely a bunch of lines with random amounts written in here and there. When I look closely, it seems that many rows were redacted (ostensibly to protect my privacy?). Here is what remains:
Account open date XX-Apr-2007
BK file amt $0
Charge off amt $5XX.XX
Charge off date XX-Mar-2010
Credit limit $0
Current balance $7XX.XX
Date of last name change XX-Jul-2012 (WTF.... I've never changed my name. Ever.)
Debtor birth date XX-XXX-XXXX
Debtor business phone number XXXXXXXXXX
Debtor name first XXXX
Debtor name last XXXX
Debtor name middle X
Debtor residence address 1 XXXXXXXXXXXX (I moved from this address in June of this year)
Debtor residence city XXXX
Debtor residence phone XXXXXXXXX
Debtor social security number XXXXXX (last four are provided)
Debtor state AZ
Debtor zip code XXXXXXXXX
High balance $0
IBS account cross-reference code XXX
IBS cris relationship count 1
IBS cris relationship key XXXXXXXXXX
IBS hos agency code XXXX
Joint indicator 0
Last cash advance amount $0
Last payment amount $1XX.XX
Last payment date XX-Jul-2009
Last purchase amt $0
Last purchase date XX-Jan-2009
Lot name/segment name BASE
Lot number/segment number 42
Original balance $7XX.XX
Post charge off fees $39.00
Post charge off interest $1XX.XX
Pre charge off interest $0
Product ID name XXXXXXXXX (credit card)
Product ID number XXX
Proof of claim amount/total principal $0
RMS lending level 1 BANK
RMS lending level 2 BANK
RMS referral amt $0
Sale amt $5XX.XX
Sale ID XXXXXXXXXX (Okay, now I see that this matches the numbers on that first sheet)
There are at least 100 blank fields in here that I didn't list. The document is 31 pages long, with one line of print on each page.
5. STATEMENT FROM CITI, dated Feb-Mar 2010. Shows a balance of $5XX.XX with zero charges, payments or fees. Interest is added, but nothing else changed on here (not even a late charge, which is weird to me).
6. LETTER TO ME FROM PLAINTIFF'S ATTORNEY, dated XX Sep, 2013. Was mailed to the address from which I moved (and changed my address with USPS) in June of 2013. I never received this letter, HOWEVER, I moved three times that summer (ridiculous, I know!) and I could easily see it having been delivered to one of the three flaky former roommates, who didn't pass it on to me. Either way, there is no CMRRR and I have plausible deniability for never having received this letter; I could argue very strongly that I would have written a DV letter and exercised my Arbitration Clause at THAT time, if the court tries to tell me it's too late to MTC arbitration.
Please advise. Every time I think I've made up my mind to go with arbitration, I look at this again and think it's a pile of worthless baloney that doesn't prove a thing. Then I reread that part saying "will supplement," and I get nervous about what other documents they might be sitting on. From what I've read, AAA is really not super consumer-friendly and my only hope with arbitration is that the plaintiff decides I'm not worth it. Otherwise, I'll be in the same position that I'm in now, and from what you're telling me the appeals process is not really an option after arbitration. If I was in the position of using JAMS, it'd be a no-brainer, but I'm not. Again, any advice is appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to read this!
A side question: if (crossing fingers so hard they might break) the case is dropped, can they come after me as debt collectors instead???