CREDITORS AND DEBT COLLECTORS ARE ONLY ALLOWED TO SUE YOU IN THE COUNTY AND STATE WHERE YOU LIVE OR WHERE YOU SIGNED THE CONTRACT
Has a creditor or debt collector sued you in a county or state where you do not live or where the contract was not signed?
Under the Rules of Civil Procedure, a Plaintiff wishing to sue must do so in the proper jurisdiction and venue, or county and state court. This helps ensure that Defendants are physically and financially able to attend court hearings and that Plaintiffs cannot “forum shop” or choose the state where the law most favors them and then file their lawsuit there. The proper place to sue is either the county and state where the defendant lives or the county and state where the incident leading to the lawsuit occurred. Not only do the Rules of Civil Procedure apply to creditors and debt collectors who are filing a lawsuit, but the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (RFDCPA) also require that lawsuits against debtors be filed in the county and state where the debtor lives or where the contract leading to the debt was signed. For example, if you see a doctor in San Diego, California, the county and state where you live, the doctor, or anyone collecting on behalf of the doctor, must sue you in San Diego County, California. Even if the collection agency is headquartered outside of California.
Oftentimes, a debt collector or creditor will have an outdated address and will file suit in the county where the old address is located. The FDCPA however is very specific in that a debt collector can only sue in the county and state where the contract was signed or the county and state where the defendant currently resides. Original debtors may also turn accounts over to debt collectors located in another state, who will then file suit in the state where they are located instead of the county and state where the original debt occurred or where the debtor currently lives. This is a violation of the FDCPA, as it does not matter where the debt collection agency is located when determining the proper jurisdiction and venue to bring a lawsuit against a debtor.
Have you been sued by a creditor or debt collector in a county or state where you did not sign the contract incurring the debt or where you do not currently reside? If so, please contact our office for a free, no obligation consultation at 1-800-219-3577.