MN Supreme Court amends summons language

May 5, 2010 by Todd Murray · Leave a Comment 

The Minnesota Supreme Court just approved changes to Minnesota’s summons, which go into effect on July 1, 2010. The summons, of course, is the notice that comes with a lawsuit that notifies defendants that they’ve been sued. I’ve been critical of the old summons language because it’s confusing and filled with incomprehensible legalese.

I’m happy to report that the new summons is written in plain, clear English. It has 6 bold-faced notices, each followed by a brief explanation. It very clearly explains that: (1) you’ve been sued; (2) you must reply within 20 days; (3) you must respond to every allegation in the lawsuit; (4) you will lose your case if you don’t respond to each allegation within 20 days; and (5) you should talk to a lawyer if you don’t understand how to help. The new summons is much clearer and should allow consumers to better understand what they need to do to protect their rights.

You can read the new summons in its entirety here.

If you live in Minnesota and want help answering a debt collection lawsuit, feel free to contact me by using the contact form in the upper right corner of this page. I offer a number of flexible representation options, so even if you can only afford to pay a few hundred dollars, I might be able to help you.

What is a summons?

October 26, 2009 by Todd Murray · Leave a Comment 

A summons is a notice that comes with a lawsuit. The purpose of a summons is to notify you of the lawsuit and to let you know how long you have to respond to it. In Minnesota, this is what it says on a summons:

YOU ARE HEREBY SUMMONED and required to serve upon plaintiff’s attorney an Answer to the Complaint which is herewith served upon you within Twenty (20) days after the service of this Summons upon you, exclusive of the day of such service. If you fail to do so, judgment by default will be taken against you for the relief demanded in the Complaint.

That’s about as clear as mud. What it really means is this:

YOU HAVE BEEN SUED. The papers in your hands are a lawsuit. You must answer the lawsuit within 20 days. The day you were served does not count toward the 20 days. If you don’t answer the complaint within 20 days, the other side will win automatically without a judge ever seeing the case.

If it were up to me, the summons would also explain that an answer is a formal document that admits or denies the allegations in the complaint. And that an answer must be in writing and merely calling the plaintiff’s attorney is not an answer. And if you don’t know how to answer a complaint, you should talk to a lawyer right away. Unfortunately, though, I’m not in charge. So this article will have to suffice.

If you live in Minnesota and want help answering a debt collection lawsuit, feel free to contact me by using the contact form in the upper right corner of this page. I offer a number of flexible representation options, so even if you can only afford to pay a few hundred dollars, I might be able to help you.