While searching for information about myself online, I find out that I am being sued by a debit collection agency. I live in CA and have never received a formal complaint or summons from Livingston Financial LLC.
Can Livingston Financial LLC or any collection agency do this without proper notification. Based on the info I gathered online the suit was dismissed without prejudice. Does this mean this is over and done with? Please help and thanks.
It is not uncommon for a debt collector to file a lawsuit, only to later dismiss it. It is a bit odd to come across the fact you are being sued for collection of a debt when casually searching the web for stuff about yourself.
Did you use a collection targeted search? Did you start off with a search on your local courts website?
Debt collection lawsuits are filed in droves. Debt buyers like Livingston Financial LLC buy up non performing accounts with an expectation they will make a profit. Their willingness to pay court filing fees (that are fairly high in California), only to abandon the lawsuit by dismissing it before ever serving you, is not conducive with profit objectives. But there are reasons for debt collectors to do that.
5 reasons why debt collectors dismiss lawsuits
1. The debt collector was never able to locate you in order to affect proper service. They will dismiss the case after too long of an effort, or the court will if too much time passes from filing date, and there being no service of process.
Even when you are not hard to find, there can be errors and incorrect information with the data a collector passes on to, or that is used by, a licensed process server.
2. The court will dismiss cases of their own volition as part of their calendar and docket management efforts. This happens not just with cases where the lawsuit is filed and never gets served, but also with cases where the collection suit is contested, and several appearances made. In fact, courts dismissing stalled out collection lawsuits are more common than you may think. Dismissal for lack of service, or lack of prosecution, can range in time. You can call your court clerk and ask what their policy is.
3. Debt collectors regularly dismiss lawsuits when you negotiate a mutually agreeable settlement out of court.
4. Dismissals have been a normal occurrence, up to today, when the debtor is able to sufficiently show they understand their rights, the discovery process, and rules of evidence, and to the point where the debt collector is not willing to bring their case to trial. The odds of people successfully defending against a debt buyer are increased when working with an experienced debt defense attorney.
5. Debt buyers now suing in California have to adhere to the Fair Debt Buying Practices Act (FDBPA). Depending on the timing, Livingston may have dismissed your lawsuit as part of a house cleaning and compliance concern related to these new laws.
The dismissal without prejudice does not prevent Livingston from trying to collect from you in the future. They could file another lawsuit to collect in that very same court.
If that happens, post an update in the comments and lets go from there.
Anyone concerned with a dismissed collection lawsuit, or steps you can take to get a dismissal, is welcome to post in the comments below for feedback.
Michael Bovee founded CRN, a unique company offering debt negotiation education and services, in 2004. Bovee has been contributing articles and free reader feedback on this site for several years.
Michael is a debt industry professional who has volunteered his time to help answer reader questions.
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