Civil/Commercial Litigation (Lawsuits)/Judgement


QUESTION: Hello and Thank You for your time volunteering.
I went to court 3 years ago for a delinquent credit card, The collection agency rep and I sat down and came to an agreement of 50 dollars a month, he then brought the paperwork in for the judge to sign, so a judgement was made against me.    If I had known about SOL , it might have ended differently, but I did not know about SOL then.  I paid for 2 years faithfully and then I stopped sending in the 50 dollars, it has been 1 and 1/2  years since I last paid,   WHY?      because I am stupid, and I do not have a true valid reason, yes expenses changed but I knew better then to just stop. I should have asked for a reduction ?      I am on limited income. I know I am in contempt of court and that is exactly what is happening now. I think , but I Am not sure if it is the same collection agency as I know they do sell debts, but that doesnt play into this I am sure.      So I have a summons to appear in court and it says to show cause why I should not be held in contempt of court.  I was told by a law student , that it is unlikely I will go to jail, and the best outcome would be to resume  the 50 dollars a month repayment.    How ever, my expenses are higher and my financial statement will show that 50 dollars a month will be hard for me to pay, I am hoping that he debt collector and I will sit down as we did before and make an agreement , BUT what if we can not agree?    Should I let the judge decide? I realize I made this mess.      I dont know what to do? I am at fault, I agree to that. I dont know if I should just agree to the debt collector as long as it is not over 50 , which honestly will be hard now that expenses have changed or should I let the judge decide if I can make lower payments, but then I risk the judge ordering higher?
Any thoughts on this, besides telling how dumb I was to stop the payments.  I dont even know who the original creditor is or how much I owe.  I wish I knew back then about the SOL , but too late now. Thank your for your time.

ANSWER: Hello Roy,

Before I respond further to your question, I must make clear that I do not represent you, and cannot give you individual particularized legal advice. No attorney client relationship is created by this email. For legal advice, you should hire your own attorney, and follow their advice. My role with AllExperts is limited to providing general information and suggestions for educational or general knowledge purposes. Before you take any action, consult with your own attorney.

Anytime you receive a summons, you should respond and go to court.

The decision to settle a case is always a client decision in my state, so if your state rules are like mine, you and the creditor can settle your case if you both agree.  There is no legal magic to settling a case; rather if the two parties can agree you can form a settlement.  I do not have an optimistic perspective that you'll settle your case again, given that you've violated your past agreement.

I'm not certain what you're being held in contempt of, but I concur with the student and do not anticipate that you would be ordered to jail for failing to make payments on a settlement agreement or a judgment.  I imagine you will have an opportunity to be heard and the judge will enter an appropriate order concerning your past judgment and/or agreement.

Given your level of financial hardship, I also suggest that you confer with a bankruptcy attorney and seek that protection.

I hope this helps, good luck to you.

Morgan Smith
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Conciliation Court * Civil Litigation * Forfeitures * Construction * Family Law

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for your reply.
Contempt of Court for violation of the court ordered payment agreement.    I cannot remember the exact wording as I am not presently at home.
What happens when a case can not be "settled"  due to violation of the past agreement.
What does that mean for the person being summoned? Does that mean the debt collector will not settle and demand full payment?
What if the debt collector threatens the person who has been summoned?
Last time the person (me)and the debt collector went in a room and he was very nice and we came to the amount that I would pay and he left the room and had the judge sign it. I suppose on court day I will see what the debt collector has to say and if we can`t come to a settlement, I will be at the judges mercy, but I am bringing someone with me, because I do know that debt collectors can become mean. Thank You for volunteering your time.

Hello again Roy,

The same provisions of my first response apply to this follow up.

If a case is not settled, there will be an outcome depending on the rules, evidence presented and decisions made by the judge or jury.  In your case, it sounds like there will be a hearing and the judge will decide what to do and issue an order.

A summons is a document commanding a person to show up for a trial or other court matter.  Failure to obey a summons can result in substantial penalties.

If a person is unlawfully threatening you with some kind of criminal behavior, call the police.

I hope this helps, good luck to you.

Morgan Smith
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Conciliation Court * Civil Litigation * Forfeitures * Construction * Family Law

Civil/Commercial Litigation (Lawsuits)

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Morgan Smith


Civil litigation (contract claims, landlord-tenant actions, forfeiture suits, residential construction defect matters), Family law (divorce, custody modifications, child support modifications, and pre-nuptial agreement), new business start-ups, civil forfeiture, asset forfeiture. Please do not submit your question as Private. It is my policy not to answer Private questions from members of the public here on AllExperts; I reserve that function to my private clients. Although AllExperts permits me to change your questions from Private to Public, it is my policy not to do that. I encourage you to resubmit your question as a public question. Your public question has the potential to help others with similar concerns. I suggest that you use a pretend name and otherwise alter sensitive facts that make you inclined to treat your question as Private, and submit your question to me Publicly.


I've been practicing law in the State of Minnesota since 1995. I've worked in skyscraper firms, and now my own small firm in Minneapolis. Past answers from my earlier participation on AllExperts is posted at:

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