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Collection Cases: Defense and Prosecution

Collection cases are one of the most frequent types of cases you’ll see in court — particularly in the associate circuit court dockets. The typical collection case involves a creditor, who claims to directly or indirectly be owed a debt, filing suit against the debtor for money which is allegedly past due. The typical claims which are involved in the suit are breach of contract, suit on account, restitution, etc.

From the creditor’s perspective, their ideal scenario (and the ideal scenario of any plaintiff for that matter) is that the defendant does not respond within the time provided and that they are able to motion for a default judgment. The court will immediately enter a default judgment, which means that the creditor is entitled to all of the money claimed solely (default judgments can be side aside by a defendant in Missouri if certain criteria are met). This usually is a sum that includes things like attorney fees, court costs, etc. One of the more problematic things that occur from the creditors perspective is that if the defendant vigorously contests the suit  it may become uneconomical for the creditor to pursue the alleged debt in litigation.

A debtor will be looking to do things to contest the debt to make it onerous on the creditor. As such, extensive discovery and motions to dismiss are usually part of the plan when contesting debts. Furthermore, there are those situations in which the alleged debt does not legitimately exist; in such circumstances, the discovery process will aid the debtor in disproving the existence of the debt.

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