What is a summons and complaint in a collection lawsuit?

The summons and complaint are the legal papers that start a debt collection lawsuit.  The summons notifies you that a lawsuit is starting and to lets you know how long you have to respond to it. The complaint is the actual lawsuit that has the claims and allegations.

In Minnesota, the summons and complaint will usually not have a court file number. Don’t be fooled by this. Due to Minnesota’s unique pocket-filing rules, you still must answer the lawsuit within 20 days of being served. If you don’t, a default judgment will be entered against you and the debt collection will have the power to garnish your bank account and wages. While it’s important to respond to any summons and complaint within the required time, it’s particularly important to respond to a debt buyer lawsuit.

Before 2013, the summons was filled with legalese and was very difficult to understand. Thankfully, it’s been updated and most of the legal lingo has been taken out. The current summons form does a pretty good job of advising the recipient of their rights and obligations. If you receive a summons and complaint, be sure to read it carefully. You should also consider talking to a lawyer with experience in defending debt collection lawsuits to help you evaluate the claims and your options.