I would like to thank my colleague Tony Buchignani for this week’s legal portion.
Will a judgment be worth the paper it’s printed on? This is a question that every creditor should ask itself before filing a collection lawsuit against a debtor that is not paying its bills. Lawsuits can be time consuming and expensive ventures, and clients are often frustrated when they find out that their hard earned judgments cannot be converted to money because they cannot locate any debtor assets to garnish or levy. Accordingly, an experienced attorney will always perform a comprehensive pre-lawsuit investigation of the debtor’s collectable assets as well as significant liabilities before advising a client to pursue a collection lawsuit. In some cases, such an investigation may cause the creditor to simply write off a bad debt, rather than “throwing good money after bad” obtaining a judgment that will not result in a collection.
Everyone: beginning this week, I will be making two changes to the blog. First, you will be receiving it in this format rather than by complete email, as I have had a lot of distribution issues. Second, you will now be receiving it every other week instead of every week as I do not want to overburden anyone.
I want to thank my colleague, Anthony “Tony” Witteman, for this week’s legal portion.
Whether it is personal or business, if you have just been served with a lawsuit seeking damages one of the first things you should do is examine your insurance policies to determine whether there is a “potential” for coverage of the claims asserted in the lawsuit. Even better, for this exercise you may want to utilize the services of an attorney who specializes in representing policy holders so as to maximize the chances that the insurance company will respond positively and promptly.
Certain people have been somewhat bothered by the absence of an identifiable relationship between the legal and baseball portions of my blog. I have thought about trying to link them together, but I have concluded that to do so would be contrived or trying to force a square peg into a round hole. So since it is my blog, and I can do what I want, I am not going to do that, although I might try on occasion. Here is one of those occasions – 9 things not to do when you switch jobs unless you want you and your new employer to end up getting sued for misappropriation of trade secrets/confidential information, improper solicitation or unfair competition (all from recent cases I handled) – one for each inning (alright, a bit contrived-I agree)
Thanks to my colleague David Mead for this week’s legal portion.
Dealing With Being Sued
Did you know that approximately 1.4 million lawsuits are filed in California every year? That is a rather large number of lawsuits and California is usually up there as one of the most litigious states in the United States. Despite the large number of actions filed annually in California, most individuals and businesses have fortunately never been named as a defendant or cross-defendant in a lawsuit. As such, you may not be familiar with the legal process and do not know what to do when you have been sued.
When a plaintiff files a lawsuit, there are generally two main documents that are submitted to the court. One is the complaint, which is a document that details the claims that the plaintiff is making against the various defendants. Such claims could be, for example, breach of contract, unfair competition, misappropriation of trade secrets, personal injury, wrongful death, etc. The complaint is usually unverified, meaning that the statements contained therein are merely allegations set forth by the plaintiff and not sworn to be the truth. In limited circumstances, the plaintiff may filed a verified complaint in which the plaintiff swears under penalty of perjury that the facts contained in the complaint are the truth. The other document that is submitted with the complaint is a summons, which is a written order to somebody to appear in court to answer the complaint. The summons is the document that requires you to respond to the complaint in court. Once the court has issued the summons and accepted the complaint for filing, the plaintiff must then have the summons and a copy of the complaint served on you. This is called service of process.