What are my son’s options if he was summoned to appear in court for the repossession of his automobile? 19 Answers as of May 16, 2014

My son lost his auto by repossession. He was summoned to appear in court in July 2014. He lost this due to his illness (melanoma cancer) has no job or any income at this time, however he is trying to get disability. What are his options?

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Joseph Lehn, Esq
Joseph Lehn, Esq | Lehn Law, PA
An answer to the Complaint must be filed to avoid a default judgment. You must file an answer to protect your rights.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 5/16/2014
The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
He can file bankruptcy to get rid of the debt but he may also be un-collectable if he has no income or assets.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 5/14/2014
KEYL ADR Services, LLC | Mark D. Keyl
He has lost his car. He really cannot do much except focus on his health.
Answer Applies to: Mississippi
Replied: 5/12/2014
James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C.
James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C. | James T. Weiner
Talk to a bankruptcy attorney.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 5/12/2014
Fox & Fox, S.C. | Richard F. Rice
Immediately contact an attorney.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 5/12/2014
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    It sounds to me what they are doing is trying to establish a deficiency judgment. What this means is: Say your son owes $10,000.00 on the auto loan. They repossess the car because he can't pay and they re-sell the car but can only get $7,000.00 for the vehicle. This means that your son would owe the difference = $3,000.00. Depending upon what his other finances look like, he may want to consider a bankruptcy filing.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/12/2014
    Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
    File an answer or let them get a default against him. He is essentially judgment proof in any event. He could also file bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 5/12/2014
    Law Office of Peter M. Lively
    Law Office of Peter M. Lively | Peter M. Lively
    The facts are not clear. Do you mean that he was served with a summons and complaint? If so, then he should consult with a bankruptcy lawyer who also handles civil defense cases to determine his best options.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/12/2014
    S. Joseph Schramm | Joseph Schramm
    I am sorry to hear about your son's serious illness. He definitely has more on his mind than the loss of his car. Generally, if a person defaults on their car payments, the financing contract permits the lending company to seize the car and to sell it at a public auction. These auctions are often attended by used car dealers and others looking to obtain a car at a cheap price. Consequently, the cars often sell for much less than the outstanding balance of the car loan. To try to recoup this difference the lender then files a suit against the borrower/former owner of the car. It appears that this is what has happened in your son's case. Your son should have also received a copy of a complaint filed by the lender which will allege that your son breached a contract with the company by not making the payments. Usually there is no defense on the merits that the former owner can make because their failure to make the payments is the basis of the suit. Generally, the defendant can appear to challenge the amount of money received for the car at auction, especially if they know that the car sold for more than is being alleged by the lending company. Once the lender obtains a judgment he is free to use the court system to enforce that judgment . This is usually done by sending out the county sheriff to seize any assets the defendant may own and to sell them at a sheriff's sale to try to satisfy the judgment . If the defendant has no assets the judgment will be unenforceable. Under Pennsylvania law the sheriff is not permitted to attach any money that is social security benefits, whether old age retirement or disability. Your son should worry about taking care of his health first and getting his disability benefits if he can. If he fails to answer the complaint which probably came with the summons the lender will eventually enter a judgment against him by default for failure to file a responsive pleading. If your son has no assets such as a bank account, stocks & bonds or ownership of a house that is mortgage free then he probably will not have to worry about any enforcement of the judgment against him during the course of his treatment. However, the judgment will remain on the books, gathering interest and when your son recovers, the judgment could still pose a long-term problem if he wishes to purchase another car or a house. However, for the short-term, he should focus on getting well. He should also check to see what the selling price of the car was at auction and compare it with the amount claimed on the complaint.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 5/12/2014
    Stacy Joel Safion, Esq.
    Stacy Joel Safion, Esq. | Stacy Joel Safion
    Bankruptcy or a payment plan.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/12/2014
    WILLIAM L SANDERS, ATTORNEY AT LAW | William L. Sanders
    if that is a criminal summons, he must appear. if that is a civil summons, related to a law suit, the date is likely the deadline to file a written response, known as an "answer" I suggest you show the document to a lawyer. As to his inability to pay, the only option I would know is for him to file bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/12/2014
    Law Office of James E. Smith
    Law Office of James E. Smith | James Smith
    He needs to go to court and just be examined about his assets and income under oath.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 5/12/2014
    Law Office of Linda K. Frieder
    Law Office of Linda K. Frieder | Linda K. Frieder, Esq.
    He needs to appear in court as a summons and/subpoena is a court order to appear. The failure to appear could result in fines and/ or contempt.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/12/2014
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    Sadly, his illness, like a job and income can I change the fact that he owes a balance for the repossessed automobile. He will most likely suffer a judgment for the deficiency which will end up to be uncollectible. He might also look at the financing contract for the automobile to determine if his current circumstances might relieve him of some or all of the obligations, but that would be extremely unlikely.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/12/2014
    Edelman, Combs, Latturner & Goodwin, LLC | Daniel A. Edelman
    An attorney needs to review this. Likely defenses in a repossession case are lack of a commercially reasonable sale, improper notice, and statute of limitations (4 years from breach or last payment). If he has no assets he may not be collectible, but it is still desirable to avoid a judgment so that he doesn't have to come in and answer questions about his assets and income.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 5/12/2014
    Kirby G. Moss PC | Kirby G. Moss
    He should go to court or they will simply take a default judgment against him. Depending on the amount he owes for the car and his other debts, he might want to consult a lawyer about whether bankruptcy would be a good option.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 5/12/2014
    John Ceci PLLC
    John Ceci PLLC | John Ceci
    If he is required to appear in court then he should appear in court. I really can't offer anything more than that without knowing why he being summoned to court. He should consult with an attorney to discuss his situation further.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/12/2014
    Law Offices of Linda Rose Fessler | Linda Fessler
    He could file bankruptcy to get rid of the deficiency judgement.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/12/2014
    Coane and Associates
    Coane and Associates | Bruce Coane
    If someone receives a summons or subpoena for court, they should appear. Of course, it's never wise to appear in court without a lawyer, but if he is poor, maybe he can get a pro bono lawyer through the local bar association.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 5/12/2014
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