Is it legal to be sued without prior notice of any court dates or paperwork? 35 Answers as of June 28, 2013

i didnt get any notification of me being sued. No paperwork, phone call, nothing. And ive been sued? on the paperwork it states nothing of what ive been sued for. All 3 papers of the notice are stapled together with the date of 7/23/12? how do i fight this?

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Burnett Evans Banks
Burnett Evans Banks | Paul Evans
Anyone may file a legal action against you, but they cannot obtain a judgment against you without due process. You must be notified of the action and afforded an opportunity to give your side of the story. Once you have been given proper notice of the action, in most cases you are considered in default if you do not respond within thirty days. Proper notice is to be personally served with a copy of the Summons to Court and Petition seeking damages from you. Proper notice can also be leaving those documents with any family member at your residence who is at least 16 years old. If you believe you were improperly served, you should consult a lawyer to enter a limited appearance for the sole purpose of objecting to service. There are other rules that apply to Service of Summons (also called Service of Process). You should consult with an experienced attorney to be adequately advised about your rights.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 8/22/2012
DEAN T. JENNINGS, P.C. | Dean T Jennings
You clearly don't know what has happened. You have been sued, you have 20 days from when you were served with the papers to get a lawyer file and answer or you can be in default.
Answer Applies to: Iowa
Replied: 8/22/2012
Graves Law Firm
Graves Law Firm | Steve Graves
It sounds like the papers you're reading are probably the notice of the suit. Do they say "You have been sued?" Call whoever signed the certification that you were served and ask for the suit papers, or go to the clerk of the court where the papers say you were sued and get a copy. Somewhere there's a Petition that sets out the basis for the lawsuit. But nobody is required to call you or write you before filing a lawsuit against you.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 8/22/2012
Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
Generally when you get sued you are served with a summons and complaint. There are usually no dates, just a duty to answer within 20 days of service. If you did not get those papers you should check with the court to see what was filed. You need to know that to determine what you need to do.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 8/22/2012
Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
It is not clear from the question as to exactly what happened. You should bring that paperwork, together with anything else you have regarding this matter, to an attorney in your area. It will be worth the consultation fee. I have had clients honestly declare that they were never sued but then it turns out they were, but just did not realize what was happening. I have also brought successful counter-suits against lawyers who filed judgments that were not valid. But we really can't answer you until we actually see what you have.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 8/22/2012
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm | Thomas Bulman
    Deny, deny, deny each allegation and file your response in the Court today.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    Hynum Law Office, LLC
    Hynum Law Office, LLC | G. Wayne Hynum
    You say you didn't get any notification of being sued, but you have the paperwork? Did someone hand you those papers? If so, sounds like you were served which is your official notification of the lawsuit. The papers should either tell you to be in Court on a certain date, or that you have 30 days from the date you were served to file a written response to the Complaint. I advise you to take the papers to a lawyer for proper advice on how to proceed.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    No one has to give you notice of anything before suit. The summons and complaint served on you is notice. See a lawyer about your paper work. Do it now.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator | Bernard Huff
    Retain a defense attorney to assist you.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    Lombardi Law Firm
    Lombardi Law Firm | Steve Lombardi
    This sounds unusual in that due process requires notice.
    Answer Applies to: Iowa
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    Law Offices of Mark L. Smith
    Law Offices of Mark L. Smith | Mark L. Smith
    You answer the paper work and show up in court when required, otherwise you will be defaulted.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    Havens & Lichtenberg PLLC
    Havens & Lichtenberg PLLC | Michael Lichtenberg
    Consult an attorney. If the suit against you was improperly filed, or if the papers were improperly served, the case can be dismissed. But it takes knowledge and experience; and most attempts to fight a lawsuit without professional representation result in fiascoes.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    Lapin Law Offices
    Lapin Law Offices | Jeffrey Lapin
    It is hard to provide you any specific guidance without more information. I will try to provide some general information that may be useful. There is generally, especially in personal injury cases, no duty to notify someone that they are going to be sued. When a lawsuit is filed, a copy of the complaint and a summons must be served upon the defendant (the person being sued). Usually this is done by the sheriff, constable or by certified mail. If the defendant cannot be found, the person suing (the plaintiff) can ask the court for permission to file a notice in a newspaper about the lawsuit. The "summons" indicates the date by which a defendant has to file an answer or other legal document. The "complaint" would list the basic facts for why you are being sued and what the person suing you wants. In certain types of cases, such as evictions, the summons does indicate the date the defendant must appear in court. The papers you received should have been a summons and the complaint. I cannot comment what the "7/23/12" date means without knowing what document it was on. It could be the date the lawsuit was filed against you, it could be the date you have to file an answer or many other things. You should consider talking to an attorney to get more information about what the papers you received mean and what you need to do to defend yourself.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo | Mark Leonardo
    No it is NOT legal to be sued without notice. When someone is sued, they have to be served with the Summons and Complaint. The first thing you want to do is get to the court, pull the file, and look at the proof of service that states, when, how and to whom the Summons was served upon. If it was your spouse or agent or at work, etc., it might be valid service. If for example, you moved, and they tried to serve you at the old address and you were not there, they may have gotten an order to publish notice of the lawsuit in a newspaper. The law allows for this, but very few people ever read those notices and realize they have been served and run to the court to file a response. So if you were served by publication, you need to get to a lawyer to help you here. There may be a good chance of you undoing the judgment. Even if not served by publication, if you can prove you were not served (e.g., you were out of state on the date they claim they personally served you), you can get the judgment set aside. You need to move quickly. There are 2 time frames on this: (1) a 6 month deadline from the entry of your default or (2) possibly 2 years from the default, particularly if it was by publication. It runs from default, not the date of judgment which I suspect is 7/23/12. I strongly urge you to get legal representation as you will not very likely figure out how to undo the damage here on your own.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    Law Offices of David M. Blain
    Law Offices of David M. Blain | David Blain
    The only notice requirement when you are sued is the process of service of the summons and complaint. There are a few ways this can be accomplished such as personal service, substitute service or by publication. Also, different types of legal proceedings allow for additional service methods such as the unlawful detainer process, which allows for service to be processed by posting of the summons and complaint. Personal service means you were personally delivered the summons and complaint. Substitute service means a person of appropriate age was left the summons and complaint to turn over to you (i.e., your spouse that resides with you can be served; or an employee who is in charge can be served for the employer); and service by publication means the notice of the lawsuit was published in the newspaper and in the local paper that is most likely to provide actual notice. Service by publication is only permitted where the Plaintiff has made diligent, good faith and reasonable efforts to first serve the defendant personally or by substitution. If you were dodging service, and service ultimately was processed by publication and you were never aware of the notice in the paper, then it's likely that the case proceeded against you and a default judgment was entered in the Plaintiff's favor. But it appears you do have paperwork letting you know you have been sued. You have a very limited time to file a responsive pleading (usually 30 days, but less in certain types of cases such as an unlawful detainer). So don't procrastinate. Get moving on it.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    Notice is a requirement of any suit. However, there are ways that a person suing can effectuate service without you being aware. Sometimes leaving a summons at your last and usual place of living or work is sufficient for service. Other things may require in-hand service. It is something that you will need to challenge. Speak to your own lawyer. You will need counsel if being sued or charged.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    When you are sued, you must be served with a Summons and Complaint for the suit to commence. This is also how you are notified that you are being sued. This may be the papers you received. On the other hand, if you have been served with notice of a hearing that was held 7/23/2012, or a judgment from the suit, then it is possible you got served earlier and didn't know it. The rules allow you to be served by leaving the papers with someone who lives in your household. I have seen cases where the papers were left with a family member or roommate who never gave the papers to the Defendant in the suit. How you defend it depends on what the suit is about. If you have insurance to cover your liability , such as auto insurance for a car accident, or homeowners insurance for an accident in your home, turn it over to your insurer. IF there is no insurance coverage it is best to retain an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C.
    R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C. | Robert Kelly
    Basic civil procedure requires giving notice and an opportunity to be heard to all litigants.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    Selik Law Offices
    Selik Law Offices | JOEL SELIK
    If you have been sued and a default judgment has been entered against you, you can file a motion to set aside the judgment. But you must move quickly, there are short and strict time deadlines.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    Law Office of Pho Ethan Tran PLLC
    Law Office of Pho Ethan Tran PLLC | Pho Ethan Tran
    The papers that you received or were served with will probably serve as legal notice that you are being sued. You have a limited time time in which to answer the complaint, usually no more than 20-30 days, and should reply immediately.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    Mike Yeksavich | Mike Yeksavich
    A person can be sued without being told they are being sued. It sounds like you have been served. If so, consult a lawyer without delay.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    James M. Osak, P.C.
    James M. Osak, P.C. | James M. Osak
    Contact the court. Also, contact the other side. Seek out and retain an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    Law Offices of David W. Hibbert
    Law Offices of David W. Hibbert | David W. Hibbert
    This is a technical area. Someone has apparently sworn that you have been properly served with summons and legal process. In some states and some matter merely taking it to your door may suffice to evict. If you've evaded service, a judge could have allowed service by publishing a notice in your official county newspaper.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    Law Office of James J. Rosenberger | James Joseph Rosenberger
    It is a fundamental principle of the legal system that you be served properly with notice of a lawsuit against you. Given the referenced timeline, I would be willing to consult with you free of charge and walk you through the necessary steps you need to take.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    Adler Law Group, LLC
    Adler Law Group, LLC | Lawrence Adler
    Yes you can be sued without notice. To determine the sufficiency, an attorney must review the documents and analyze sufficiently of the service.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    Ezim Law Firm | Dean Esposito
    If you have not been served, the court cannot go forward with the hearing. If you have been sued but have not been served yet, you can go to the clerk of court and get a copy of the petition or lawsuit file against you.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    Abom & Kutulakis, L.L.P,.
    Abom & Kutulakis, L.L.P,. | Jason P. Kutulakis
    In PA, a plaintitff has 30 days to perfect service of a civil complaint. You should consult with and retain an attorney!
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    Downriver Injury and Auto Law | Michael Heilmann
    A summons and complaint must be served on you and answered to the Court. If you do nothing, a judgment will be served on you.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C.
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C. | Stuart M. Nachbar
    I would urge you to bet to counsel. I can not tell you how to defend because you have not told us what you ae being sued for. If it was for a Car accident, I will tell you to give it to your insurance company.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/20/2012
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    No need to call a person and say you are filing suit.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/28/2013
    The Law Offices of Barry Regar | Barry Regar
    Yes it is legal. The complaint is the legal document that has your name in the caption as the defendant and then has a name of the person suing you as the plaintiff. If you read the complaint you will find why you are being sued and perhaps the amount they are seeking. You need to file an answer to the complaint within 30 days of being served with the summons and complaint or else the plaintiff can take your default. I strongly recommend that you seek legal counsel immediately.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/20/2012
    Frank Law Group, P.C.
    Frank Law Group, P.C. | Brett E. Rosenthal
    You are required to be served with service of the summons by personal service. Would suggest you look at the court file and determine how they claim to have served you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/20/2012
    Timiney Law Firm
    Timiney Law Firm | Leigh Anne Timiney
    I would need to know a lot more information about the documents you received to answer any of your questions. In Arizona, you cannot have any type of judgment entered against you in a court if you have not properly been "served" or provided notice of a lawsuit. This means you must be personally served with a copy of the lawsuit by a process server or a copy of the lawsuit can be mailed to your last known address and you have to agree in writing to accept the lawsuit by mail. Paperwork which does not state the reasons you are being sued or the factual basis for the lawsuit is not valid and will not stand up in a court. I would suggest you take all of your documents to an attorney in your area and have a review so you know where to go and what action to take. Without actually seeing the documents, I cannot give you any advice.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 8/22/2012
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