Helping your lawyer help you. Tip 1 of 10.

When you receive a legal document unexpectedly in the mail, call your lawyer or drop it at his/her office the same day. MCR 2.108 et seq has strict time periods during which responsive pleadings must be prepared, filed, and served. Missing these deadlines can haunt you in the future should your attorney be unable to set aside a default or default judgment.

There is no enjoyment in having to tell an individual that they should have sought legal assistance when they first received notice of a legal proceeding instead of waiting until they “have the time” to meet with an attorney. We are all presumed to have a complete understanding of the applicable laws and procedures, even if you do not have a “J.D.” behind your name.

The common error I have encountered is that people assume that law suits take time and that when life has “calmed down” six months to a year later a lawyer will be able to sort things out. We’re lawyers, not magicians. Court rules mandate that parties (parties are the plaintiffs: people suing and defendants: people being sued) must take certain steps and file certain pleadings in accordance with strict deadlines. Typically these deadlines are 21 to 28 days from receipt, depending on the type of “service” used.

Frequently, when a person comes into my office after missing a deadline to answer a complaint, there is nothing that can be done to reverse the default and judgment that has followed. Too often there was notice provided of the legal proceedings and proof that can be offered to show that an individual was aware of the suit. That is not to say that I can never work to fight the case back to its beginning and reset the clock, but you are putting yourself in a difficult position by ignoring the looming case.

By taking prompt action, you secure the ability to have your case heard on its merits.

If you have received anything that appears to be a legal document, notice of foreclosure, action for eviction, or writ of garnishment, contact our office immediately for a free consultation.

1 (866) FIGHT 01 or 1 (248) 247-1123

2000 Town Center, Suite 1900

Southfield, Michigan 48076

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