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Junior Member
Tenneessee. My son received a civil summons on 6/16/06, actually he wasn't at home and the officer left it with his roomate. The court date is set for Mon 6/19/06 at 1pm. I thought you were given more time than this? Does he need an attorney? How is he supposed to get one when he was served on Fri and court is on Mon? It's for a credit card debt that he let his EX-girl friend max out in the amount of 8k. My son was told by a friend that if he went to court with out an attorney that he wouldn't be allowed to speak to the judge. Is there anyway we can stop this and work things out with the bank before it goes to court? I've tried calling and there is no answer with it being the weekend. I'm at a loss as what for my son to do. I know he must show up at court but what defense could he use to make payment arrangements with out having to get a judgement? Also, what percentage is allowed in TN for garishments?

Thanks for all your help!!

sorry for the duplicate post but I accidentally closed my other post. sorry.


Senior Member
Ok, that short a time between summons being served and the court date is much too short. In TN they generally give you at LEAST 10 days notice. You, or rather your son, can call the court first thing Monday AM and explain that the summons was only served on Friday and he needs more time to prepare/get an attorney and ask for an extension. If he's lucky they'll let him reschedule.

Whatever this 'friend' of him told him is incorrect. Assuming this is General Sessions Court, there usually are NO lawyers, though they are not prohibited. It will be your son and the bank's lawyer in front of the judge. What is likely to happen is the judge will ask if it's his debt. If he says ' yes' he's sunk, judgment for the Plaintiff. If he at least says "I'm not sure" there's a chance the judge will move the case for trial at a later date.

In TN they can take 25% of your disposable income. That means his gross less all required taxes - that's it. Deductions for benefits and such are NOT counted. In TN they have what they call 'slow pay" where you can ask the court to be allowed to pay the judgment in installments in lieu of garnishment. He must fill out a form for this. If the court approves it, and he will have to show financial records, income and expenses, then he will make his payments to the court and the judge decides what he pays. If he is ever late or misses a payment w/o notifying the court ahead of time with a valid reason, then he will be kicked off the payment plan and the creditor will be free to use all legal means to collect.

They can also sieze bank accounts and any non-exempt assets.

He will likely have the opportunity to negotiate a settlement and/or payment plan with the creditor's lawyer before he goes before the judge. He will probably be asked to sign a 'stipulation to judgment' if he does make arrangements with the lawyers.

Didn't your son receive collection letters long before this lawsuit ?? How old is this debt ? When was the last payment to the ORIGINAL creditor ?
Was this ex-girlfriend joint on this account ?? Was she an authorized user ??
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Junior Member
Time running out

The credit card was obtained back in 2002 and no the ex was not an autorized user. My son made the mistake of letting her use the card. I had made payments myseft on the card for him during the year of 2003 and then when he moved out on his own I turned the payments over to him. He made them for a bit until he was laid off from work so I'd say the payments stopped sometime in 2004. No one called or sent letters from the bank and my son being young and naive I guess just assumed it had "vanished". I didn't think anything about it I just assumed he was still making payments since no one called my home either. Then surprise out of the blue he comes to me freeking out over this summons. I personally have never seen one served with such short notice plus aren't they supposed to give it to the actual person and not just leave it at the residence?


Senior Member
In TN they do not have to personally serve the individual, it can be left at their place of residence, though they will generally try personal service at least twice before leaving it - I've seen it happen and I know a process server here.

It is VERY surprising that no collectors ever called or sent any dunning letters on the account, they rarely fail at that. Who is the attorney for the Plaintiff (I'm curious) ? Who is the original creditor ?? Does the summons include the mini-miranda "this is an attempt to collect a debt.. ' verbage ?? Is there any verbage on it that says anything about 30 days to dispute the validity of the debt ?? These are important details to know.


Junior Member
The plaintiffs attorney is Michael B. Menefee and the original creditor is BB&T Bank. The summons on it says Branch Banking and Trust Company c/o Stone & Hinds, P.C. I have serched everywhere on the summons and it doesn't say anything about collecting a debt or the 30 days to dispute. It just says that my son is to appear in General Sessions Court of Jefferson County, TN on Mon the 19th at 1pm.
Would it be better for him to settle with the lawyers before going before the judge or wait and let the judge maybe postpone it or decide himself what the payments should be?

Thanks for all your advice, it's really helped to calm my sons nerves.


Senior Member
Since his case isn't until 1PM, probably the best thing to do is call the courthouse 1st thing in the morning and see if the clerk will postpone the date and explain that he only got served on Friday and needs to seek legal help. That's all you have to say.

The reason I asked about the mini-miranda and the 30 days to dispute verbage is because if the lawsuit is the 1st contact they have with you, they MUST include that language with the Complaint per the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the FTC.

He can certainly try contacting the lawyer tomorrow, but unless he gets that court date changed, he's still going to have a problem. Some of these lawyers will tell you it's not 'necessary' for you to go to court and that allows them an uncontested win and you have ZERo chance at negotiations.

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