Have you been sued by one of the debt buyers, like Midland Funding our Portfolio Recovery in the Justice Court system in Arizona? Do you wanna know what happens next? In this video I’m gonna give you an overview of the Justice Court system in Arizona and what you can expect.

Hi. My name is John Skiba and I’m an attorney in Arizona, and I help people with their debt problems.

Approximately 95 percent of the debt buyer cases are filed in the Justice Court system in Arizona. The reason being is the Justice Courts, at least in Arizona, handle cases where the amount in dispute is less than ten thousand dollars, so if you’ve been sued by one of these debt buyers for an amount less than ten thousand dollars, it’s likely that your case is in the Justice Court system.

The typical process in Justice Court usually lasts less than a year, usually somewhere between four to eight months. The whole thing is kicked off when the Plaintiff files the Complaint with the Court, then they must serve that document on you. You probably experienced this when the person came to your house, knocked on the door, and dropped off the Summons and the Complaint.

From the date you received that Complaint you had 20 days to file a written Answer with the Court. From there, the next step is the parties have to exchange, what are called, Disclosure Statements. In Arizona, the parties are required to disclose all facts, all defenses, any witnesses that you may want to call at trial, you have to disclose any documents that you want to use at trial, essentially there can be no surprises when it comes time to present your case or your defense at trial. These are exchanged between the parties, like I said, approximately forty days after you file your Answer with the Justice Court.

Sometimes, in Justice Court cases, the parties will engage in what’s called Written Discovery. This is where the parties can send over written questions or requests for documents to the other side and they have forty days to respond to it. In many of these debt buyer cases, you don’t see a whole lot of Written Discovery, but it’s still possible. Sometimes, the Justice of the Peace, who presides over the Justice Court, will require that the parties participate in Mediation.

Mediation is where the Court will appoint an independent, third-party to come in and see if there’s some kind of a settlement agreement that can be reached between the parties. In debt buyer cases, essentially they’re saying, “Is there any amount of money you would be willing to pay to just make this case go away and not have to go to trial?” Some Courts won’t require Mediation, or if Mediation is not successful, the Court will set what’s called a Pre-Trial Conference.

The Pre-Trial Conference is really just about a five-minute hearing before the judge with the judge’s kind of sees where things are at. They’ll hear a report on Mediation, whether it was successful or not, or if there’s anything else that needs to be done before the case can be set for trial. Typically these meetings are about five minutes and then you’ll get a trial date mailed to you at a later time. Once you get the trial date, then it’s just a matter of preparing for the trial. In Justice Court, most trials last 1 to 2 hours. They’re not heard by juries, but a decision will be made by the Justice of the Peace It is possible that the Plaintiff in your case could file what’s called a Motion for Summary Judgment before you actually get to trial. If you see something like this, it’s very important that you respond to it. If you do not respond to a Motion for Summary Judgment, the court could grant Judgment in favor of the Plaintiff without you ever getting your day in court.

Essentially a Motion for Summary Judgment is the Plaintiff saying, “Judge, we don’t think the facts are really in dispute here. We think that as a matter of law were entitled to a Judgment. Tell us who wins.” If you put on an appropriate defense, these are rarely successful, but it’s vital that you file a response to that. So, that’s generally the process you can expect from a debt buyer case in Arizona’s Justice Courts. As I said, typically this process last anywhere from four to eight months, sometimes it’ll extend upwards of a year, but generally not. If you’ve been sued by one of the debt buyers and you have questions, give me a call. I’m happy to talk to you. I do these things all day long. I’m happy to help you. Again, my name is John Skiba. I’m an attorney here in Arizona and I help people their debt problems. Thanks for watching.