What to do when someone dreams of you

What to do when someone dreams of you

When someone files a lawsuit against you, you first have to decide if you are going to respond to the lawsuit. If you decide to respond, be sure to do so before the due date, and you will need to decide how you are going to respond. It is a good idea to speak with a lawyer for legal advice on whether you should respond, and if so, how to best manage your case. Click if you need help finding a lawyer.


You have 30 days AFTER the date you received service to file an answer with the court. These 30 days include weekends and court holidays. If the last day falls on a court holiday, you have until the next day the court is open.

  • If you received substituted service, meaning someone else in your household was served with the Summons and Complaint and a second copy was mailed to you, you have 40 days from the date the papers were mailed to file your answer. But before you get these extra 10 days, check to make sure the plaintiff’s Proof of Service says delivery was substituted and not personal. You can find out by calling the plaintiff’s lawyer and asking what the Proof of Service says and what is the due date for filing your answer. Send a fax or letter to the law firm to confirm the information you received.

    How to Sue Someone?

How to decide if you want to respond to the lawsuit


Only you can decide whether or not to respond to the lawsuit. It can be very helpful to get the advice of a lawyer to decide if and how to respond. 

If you don’t answer

If you do not file an answer within 30 days of being served, the plaintiff can file a form called a “Request for Entry of Default,” which means they no longer will be able to respond to the lawsuit and defend themselves. If he disagrees with any part of the case, or with the amount of money he thinks he owes, he will not be able to tell the court once your default is declared.

After your default is entered, the plaintiff can ask the court to enter a default judgment against you. The plaintiff will have proven his case from him without you being able to dispute what he says, and you can receive the amount he requested when he sued you.

The plaintiff can then enforce the judgment against you. This means that he can collect the money from you by garnishing your wages or bank account, putting a lien on your house, or garnishing your car. A judgment against you may also go on your credit history.

You may want to respond when:

    • You have a defense against the lawsuit, such as if you think you owe less money than the plaintiff asks for. The only way to defend yourself is by filing a formal response. For example, if you tried to work out a payment plan with the creditor, but the creditor refused, and now you’re suing you for attorney fees and court costs, plus the principal amount you owe, the only way to tell the court that it is not your responsibility to pay for the judgment is by filing an answer and describing the defense in your answer. If you do not file an answer, the party suing you (the plaintiff) can get a judgment against you for the full amount requested in the lawsuit, and you will not be able to tell the court why you think you do not owe it.

      So, unless you owe all the money the plaintiff is asking for, and you don’t want to put up any defense, you should respond to the lawsuit because that’s the only way you can defend yourself and not get a default judgment against you.

    • Sometimes defendants file an answer even though they owe money because they want to negotiate a settlement with the plaintiff, and by filing an answer you will have more time and a chance to settle. This can work if you are prepared to respond to disclosure requests (in a timely manner) and if you are able to pay something to settle the case.
  • You may want to NOT respond when:

    You cannot pay and you have no defense to present. In those cases, filing an answer may end up costing you more money than the original debt. This is because:

    • When filing an answer, the plaintiff will usually make “disclosure” requests, which are legal tools to obtain information and evidence for trial. The disclosure may involve a series of questions, documents you must provide, or admissions that you owe money. If you do not respond to disclosure requests on time, the court may order you to pay money to the plaintiff as a penalty. This will be added to the amount of money you may be ordered to pay at the end of the lawsuit if you lose it.
    • Also, going ahead with the case when you have no defense may result in a judgment for more money against you, because court costs and the other party’s attorney fees may be added to the judgment against you. Sometimes defendants file an answer if they believe the plaintiff cannot prove the case. The plaintiff has the initial burden of proving that you owe the money. If the plaintiff cannot prove that there was a contract, or that he made certain charges on the credit card, he may be able to win the case because the plaintiff cannot prove what he is alleging in the lawsuit. This may be true in cases where a loan was transferred from one bank to another, then to a collection agency, and the documentation was lost. If you can’t get copies of the documents that support the plaintiff’s claim that you owe money, and you think the plaintiff doesn’t have proof, you can file an answer so you can ask the plaintiff to show proof to the court.

    As you can see, the decision to respond or not is very complicated. The only way to find out what is best for you in your particular situation is to consult an attorney. Some legal aid agencies or Bar Associations may have lawyers to help you negotiate with a credit card company or bank and avoid having to go to court. Click if you need help finding a lawyer.