LEGAL SMARTS POINTER #5: AVOID THE BOGUS DEFAULT COMPLAINT TRICK

By Nancy Lucianna of Law Offices of Nancy E. Lucianna, P.C. on Tuesday, January 17, 2017.

Ever receive a Summons and Complaint served on you or a household member for something completely bogus?  Did you ever come home to find a Civil Complaint naming you for something you could not have possibly done? Well, if you do nothing or just throw it in your pile of mail to be forgotten, that bogus Complaint will become a reality in thirty-five days and in all likelihood, you will be forced to pay a debt that you believe is not your responsibility.

New Jersey law requires you to take action within thirty-five days of being served with a Civil Complaint.  The action you must take is to file an Answer with the court that the action is filed in.  If you fail to do so within the required time, the court will enter default judgement against you and the “bogus” Complaint will be enforced, and you will be required to pay whatever amount the Complaint asked for.  This applies even if you were not served personally with the Complaint, but rather it was left with any household member over the age of fourteen.

So don’t avoid your mail!  Don’t look at something and say “that’s ridiculous!” You must respond to these civil suits and come in to see us so that an Answer can be filed with the court in order to protect your rights.

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