Recently, I was hired to defend a student loan lawsuit filed by Jefferson Capital Systems, LLC. They filed the case in Vernon County Missouri, which is about a 4 hour drive from my office in St Louis.
Jefferson Capital sued my client for a private student loan originated by Sallie Mae. In its petition, Jefferson Capital said it attached a copy of the promissory note as an exhibit. But when I looked at the exhibits, there was no promissory note.
While there was no promissory note, there was a bill of sale and assignment. And that bill of assignment purported to show that Sallie Mae had assigned Jefferson Capital a portfolio of charged off student loans. It did not, however, show that my client’s specific loan was in that portfolio.
Jefferson Capital also attached an affidavit from its employee. In his affidavit, the employee swears:
- Sallie Mae had assigned Jefferson Capital the private student loan
- Jefferson Capital has business records kept in the ordinary course of business and
- Those business records show my client owes them about $11 thousand
He ended the affidavit by affirming his statements were “true to the best of [his] knowledge and belief.”
These documents and statements were all that Jefferson Capital filed.
They thought that was enough to win.
And you know what, they’re usually right.
That information typically is enough to win because most of their cases end without a fight. Jefferson Capital wins many of its private student loan lawsuit cases by default. That is, Jefferson Capital wins because the defendant never goes to court to defend herself.
So let me share with you 4 rules for you can follow to avoid that outcome.
Rule no. 1: Speak with a student loan lawyer after you’re served with a student loan lawsuit from Jefferson Capital
Look, I get it: a good student loan lawyer is expensive. Just look at my fees for defending student loan lawsuits.
But here’s the thing:
The high cost of a lawyer will likely be way less than the cost of you losing the lawsuit.
Think about it. If you lose, you’ll owe Jefferson Capital several thousand dollars. Plus, after the judgment is entered, Jefferson Capital may start getting annual interest on that judgment amount. So by the time you’re able to pay off the judgment, you may end up paying thousands more in interest.
Here’s what to do if you can’t afford a student loan lawyer
First, ask for a payment plan. In my experience, many Missouri lawyers offer clients payment plans. I know I do. My clients usually pay about $1 thousand to get started. From there, they make monthly payments.
Second, even if you know you can’t afford a lawyer to defend you, you may be able to hire them to teach you how to defend yourself. Doing that should save you a lot of money while making you better preparing you in your DIY quest.
Finally, consider hiring a lawyer to draft your answers to the lawsuit and prepare any other documents you may need. Basically, you can hire a lawyer to be your ghost thinker and ghost writer. That way you’re not worrying about saying the wrong thing.
Rule no. 2: Go to court
If you can’t hire a lawyer, go to court.
The last thing you want to do is to allow Jefferson Capital to win simply because you decided not to go to court.
Don’t let them win by default.
Show up. Let the court know you’re ready to defend yourself.
Rule no. 3: Answer the petition
Going to court is not enough to defend yourself. You also need to answer the lawsuit.
Missouri’s rules of civil procedure give you 30 days to from the time you’re served to answer.
So make sure you get that done within that time. And if you can’t, go to court and ask the court for an extension.
Rule no. 4.: Attack Jefferson Capital’s evidence
In courts throughout Missouri, it’s not enough that Jefferson Capital says they’ve been asssigned a portfolio of private student loans.
They’re not supposed to win if that’s all they say.
Not by a long shot.
They’re supposed to say and prove much more.
For instance, they’re supposed to show that your loan was included in the portfolio. They’re also supposed to show a complete copy of the student loan they say you executed. And they’re supposed to produce evidence showing how much you owe and why owe it.
It’s hard to show and produce all those things as the assignee of the private student loan.
Who do they have that can produce competent, admissible evidence of those things?
The person who made the affidavit (i.e., the affiant)?
He typically can’t do that. That person usually doesn’t have personal knowledge of the loan, the assignments, or the account history.
That’s why it’s super important to go to court and attack the evidence.
Make Jefferson Capital prove every step of their burden.
I defend private student loan lawsuits across Missouri.
I’d love to defend you.