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QUESTION: I am so distraught that I have shingles. I am a woman age 53 on SSI disability and living in HUD apts.  I have bad credit BUT I do not recall owing a 2006 Citibank USA, NA credit card that Midland Funding bought and is having an ALabama atty to sue me;I have been served;I did respond, court is mid February AND crazy as it sounds, I have panic disorder and other physical pains that make me a nervous wreck and I just plain cannot face the thought of court, judge,;no matter why I amn there. I always avoid court-BUT the suit is 5.5 yrs old and I may owe it but I just don't know.  I have NEVER heard a word from Midland Funding about this debt.  When I pulled just one credit rept I seen that one PLUS 2 more Midland bought from T mobile back in 2010 and a TRIBUTE Mastercard from 2009 that I do not recognize(I do the Tmobile) bothe on the rept have discrepancies on dates and amounts vs what Midland says.  I hear Alabama statutes on cred card is 3 years-can u verify that-I dunno if websites are accurate and that is my source. WORST thing is my 96 yr old Mom lives at what was her house till last year when she deeded me part and my 3 kids the other part-so there are 4 people on the deed but mom lives there and reserved herself a life estate when she deeded me her 25% last year...could MF have found that out and that is why they seems determined to go to court? Mama is crying, she is old, it is her house and she is declining mentally and physically and just going down fast and this has set her back a country mile afraid she will lose her home over this with a judgment or lien or whatever. Can u check and see if this is possible since 4 of us are on the deed not just me.  And can I give my part away to one of my sons;I was going to anyway--then they cant bother mamas house which aint even worth $40,000...this is so pitiful.  ANd what do I do about the 2 other charge offs they bought that they may hurl at me next?/ I asked about Ch 7 bkruptcy and was told I cant cause I part own a paid for house, humble as it is. Anything on my credit is past 5 yrs old except that Tmo and I am so nervous over my Mom that I cannot think right.  I cannot afford to pay the suit ($1050.80) to Midland for CITIBANK USA. PLEASE offer me advice. I can say the 3 Midland Fundings on my report are the lawsuit onbe and TMO that has bloomed to $950.00 and that TRIBUTE Mastercard at $800.00. I have no extra $ BUT maybe God will send me a helper IF u think a offer to settle will save the house from Midland and keeo me from having to go in court in mid Feb.. THANK YOU

ANSWER: Good morning:     I just read your question and wanted to send you a response so you and your mother might have some hope in dealing with this.    You asked several questions and I am going to respond to each part by retyping your entire question and then commenting on each individual issue you raise.     Then I will explain how you can take the steps to avoid having to go to court and avoid having any action taken against the home.


I am so distraught that I have shingles. I am a woman age 53 on SSI disability and living in HUD apts.  I have bad credit BUT I do not recall owing a 2006 Citibank USA, NA credit card that Midland Funding bought and is having an ALabama atty to sue me;I have been served;I did respond, court is mid February

I am not sure how you responded in your paperwork, but given that the statute of limitations is going to be an issue (perhaps the most important issue), your response needs to specifically raise limitations as an affirmative defense.    Whether you have a valid defense (and can therefore get the case dismissed) depends on some facts that you did not fully state in your question.    For example, when did you last make a purchase on the card, and what was the exact date that the lawsuit was filed.    Again, as stated, most importantly, you have to raise limitations (and other affirmative defenses that I can explain to you on the phone) in your answering paperwork.   It is possible that you may have to amend the papers you already filed.    From a timing standpoint, since the case is set to be heard in the very near future (in this case – February 2013), the quicker you take action the better.


AND crazy as it sounds, I have panic disorder and other physical pains that make me a nervous wreck and I just plain cannot face the thought of court, judge,;
I am thinking that you may indeed be able to avoid having to see a court or a judge, and I can explain that to you on the phone.     

If you file for bankruptcy, you will NOT have to talk to a judge in a routine bankruptcy case like yours.   All that you would have to do is to appear once before the bankruptcy trustee (a lawyer, not a judge, that is appointed by the government to look at your papers), and that hearing before the trustee almost always takes only a minute or so and it is over.   You would have to go to this hearing with the trustee, but it is nothing to worry about.    In some places, they might do about 40 – 50 hearings in one hour.     



no matter why I amn there. I always avoid court-BUT the suit is 5.5 yrs old and I may owe it but I just don't know.  I have NEVER heard a word from Midland Funding about this debt.  When I pulled just one credit rept I seen that one PLUS 2 more Midland bought from T mobile back in 2010 and a TRIBUTE Mastercard from 2009 that I do not recognize(I do the Tmobile) bothe on the rept have discrepancies on dates and amounts vs what Midland says.  I hear Alabama statutes on cred card is 3 years-can u verify that-I dunno

In Alabama the statute of limitations for a written contract is 6 years on a written contract, and it is 3 years on an open account (like a typical credit card agreement).     Chances are that you can get the case dismissed on statute of limitations grounds, but to say for sure I would need to know more specifics which we can go over if you decide to call me on the phone.   However, as you say, even if this case is dismissed, you still have several other potential creditors and lawsuits that may be lurking in the background.    Bankruptcy may be the best option all the way around.



if websites are accurate and that is my source. WORST thing is my 96 yr old Mom lives at what was her house till last year when she deeded me part and my 3 kids the other part-so there are 4 people on the deed but mom lives there and reserved herself a life estate when she deeded me her 25% last year...could MF have found that out and that is why they seems determined to go to court?

When I read what you wrote here, it made me think that perhaps the attorney you spoke to did not know about the life estate issue.   It does not happen all of the time, but in the past 30 years or so since I graduated from law school I have seen this issue come up in the context of a bankruptcy proceeding several times.   Even if you explained the life estate issue to the attorney that you talked to, he or she may or may not know how to handle a life estate in a bankruptcy.    He probably should have told you that he didn’t know rather than just flatly telling you that you couldn’t file without losing the house.    I would have to talk to you first to say for sure, but it is likely that you could file this bankruptcy without you or your mother losing anything.



Mama is crying, she is old, it is her house and she is declining mentally and physically and just going down fast and this has set her back a country mile afraid she will lose her home over this with a judgment or lien or whatever. Can u check and see if this is possible since 4 of us are on the deed not just me.  And can I give my part away to one of my sons;I was going to anyway--then they cant bother mamas house which aint even worth $40,000...

You could file for bankruptcy without having to transfer anything around to someone else.    Besides, any such transfer would not be effective.    You don’t have to do that right now (i.e., deed the property to your children).   



this is so pitiful.  ANd what do I do about the 2 other charge offs they bought that they may hurl at me next?/ I asked about Ch 7 bkruptcy and was told I cant cause I part own a paid for house, humble as it is. Anything on my credit is past 5 yrs old except that Tmo and I am so nervous over my Mom that I cannot think right.  I cannot afford to pay the suit ($1050.80) to Midland for CITIBANK USA.

It is a legitimate concern to think that they may come after you on the other accounts.   However, if indeed you are able to file for bankruptcy protection, this will take care of all of the debts you described (including this lawsuit, the other credit cards, etc.), AND ALSO any other credit card or medical debts that you may not even recall.    Bankruptcy is a fresh start for people just like you.    That is the whole purpose of the bankruptcy laws, for people just like you so that you will not have to worry so much.



PLEASE offer me advice. I can say the 3 Midland Fundings on my report are the lawsuit onbe and TMO that has bloomed to $950.00 and that TRIBUTE Mastercard at $800.00. I have no extra $ BUT maybe God will send me a helper IF u think a offer to settle will save the house from Midland and keeo me from having to go in court in mid Feb.. THANK YOU

The good news is that bankruptcy will solve the entire problem.   The possible bad news is that most attorneys will charge you over a thousand dollars for attorney fees to do so – plus there is a court filing fee of $306.       However, if you call me and we discuss this further, I suspect that you will be able to avoid paying that amount of attorney fees and also will be able to get the filing fee completely waived.   

If you call me on the phone, and you are welcome to do so any time, you can call me at this number.    915  261-3893     I will not charge you just to talk on the phone.     Don’t worry so much.   This is going to work out ok, but you have to act fast because of the immediately impending court date (which can be stopped immediately).    I look forward to hearing from you.


Jack Hall, J.D.
Hall Bankruptcy Services
jhfx@live.com
915  261- 3893


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

QUESTION: thanks and I will call you. Right now I can answer your above questions inn paragraps one and two.  They tell me the alleged debt to citibank usa wss opened in early 2006 and that 11/07 was date of closing. I do not recall this debt and midland never has called or mailed me anything. I did file the Alabama SOL in my anser to the court as my defense. So, do I still need an amended answer? PLUS the atty from Birmingham AL is stating in this suit that it is a contract (breech) and an account stated-which in Alabama is 6 yrs and that oficially is up 11/13...thus the worry it may fly (though I do not recall it) in court and a judgment resulting on moms home mentioned in above email to you.  I see u say since she has a life estete that should make a difference in Ch 7 bankruptcy. I told the atty thst and she still said it did not matter becasue tho Mom has a life estate, tyhat this is the iussue: Mom in 2004 changed gher deed from just her name to her name plus us 3 siblings...then last yr my brother died, and a deed was found and filed as he left me his 25% then momma went last year and deeded me her 25% reserving herself a life estate; then , lol, my sister who had the other 25% gave it in increments of 8.33% to each of my 3 adult kids, and all was files: SO as of now it is me majority, kids (3 of them) 8.33% and mom (life estate).  As I understand thou mom has a life estate on her 25% that since she deeded to me last year and gave me the deed and I filed it--that is the issue with the Ch 7 bankruptcy resulting in taking the house to sell for my bills...plus it is the issue for the concern for a judgment/lien...2 local attys that just graduated law school (maybe just misinformed) that are friends with my son are the onesw saying that it does not matter how many are on the deed that Midland can get a judgment/lien if so desired. And Midand does state that in the summons. WHEW now that ws a mouthful.  I just wanted to inform u more; I appreciate your help. Soes any of this new info I just provided make anything u already informed me of different??? Please reply back tho I will call u if u are open on Monday (holiday) or Tuesday...

ANSWER: If it was a credit card, it is an open account, assuming that the SOL of Alabama is even the one that is applicable in the first place).   That is 3 years, not from the date that they say it was closed, but from the last date that you made any payment on the debt.

Insofar as the life estate issue goes, if you file for bankruptcy that does NOT unnecessarily mean that the trustee can or would sell the house to pay the creditors.    I am sure that the recent graduates mean well, but as you say, perhaps they are misinformed - and this happens so rarely I really doubt that a recent graduate would have had any real experience with this.    

I am going to be working over the weekend (Saturday to Monday) and you can call me anytime if you don't want to wait until Tuesday.

Jack Hall, J.D.
Hall Bankruptcy Services
jhfx@live.com
915  261- 3893

  

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

QUESTION: ok I see you have an out of state number.  Can u even help me in ALabama??? How would that work if so?

Answer
You are correct.    I am in Texas.    However, there is a provision of the United States Bankruptcy Code (11 U.S.C. section 110 et seq.) that allows people to get help preparing their paperwork -   That provision of the Bankruptcy Code allows people to help other people whether the person doing the helping has a law degree or not (which I do, that is what the J.D. is after my name), even if they are not licensed to practice law in that other jurisdiciton (in this case, Alabama).   Technicallly speaking, you wouuld  be representing yourself,  I would prepare the paperwork for you and send it to you, and all you would have to do is sign the paperwork and take it to the courthouse (I will let you know specifically where you file, etc.)   There will be one brief hearing before the bankruptcy trustee (not a judge, just a local attorney that is appointed by the court to look at your papers to see if everything is in order).    This one brief hearing will usually only last about a minute or so, but you absolutely have to go to it, but it is not a trial and sometimes is usually not even held in the courtroom.    It is called a creditor's meeting, but creditors rarely show up for these things because it doesn't do them any good.    All the trustee will ask you is whether everything on your paperwork is correct and whether you are expecting to receive any large sums of miney in the near future.   That is usually pretty much it.     I have seen trustee's do 30 or 40 of these hearings in an hour in big cities.    More specifically, in the past I have helped people with bankruptcy cases  in Alabama and have had no problems.  You would then receive your bankruptcy discharge no sooner than 60 days after you have your hearing and it will be done.     However, you get the benefit of the bankruptcy immediately because as soon as you file the court order stopping all debt collection goes into effect.    That would include stopping this trial that is immediately pending where you have been sued.   As soon as they know about the bankruptcy filing, that credit card case  against you will come to an immediate stop.  

As I stated in my last message, you can call me today (Sunday) if you wish to talk about this further.  

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