Stop suing elderly people whose only asset is Social Security or Disability!

I am Being Sued! I don't Understand this paperwork.

I am Being Sued in Rhode Island! I don’t understand this paperwork. What do I do?

It is so damn frustrating to see the number of collection lawsuits filed by creditors in Rhode Island against an elderly person that has no assets and lives on meager social security or disability income.  Based on my 26 plus years of experience, most elderly folks that become delinquent on their debts inevitably notify the creditor about their limited resources and inability to pay the outstanding debt.  In fact, most creditors do a credit report check to verify information before a lawsuit is commenced.  The credit report will identify the address of the elderly consumer which usually matches locations specifically identified as elderly housing.  The credit reports reveal the date of birth of the person, so the age of the consumer is readily known before the decision to file suit is made.  Yet every single year hundreds of lawsuits are filed against the elderly in the Rhode Island state court system. Small claims actions are the preferred course of action chosen by creditors.  This is not surprising because the court costs associated with the small claims process are substantially less than the traditional more formal district court procedures. Every year many elderly receive collection lawsuit documentation in the mail that is confusing and often overwhelming for our senior citizens to comprehend. Many turn to the Rhode island Volunteer Lawyer Program for assistance.  In the past 5 years, I have participated in several free legal clinics sponsored by this program to help educate the elderly about the collection legal system.So I speak from experience relative to the unquestionable confusion and anxiety that the collection process inflicts upon our elderly citizens. Most times, the filing of a collection lawsuit against an elderly person is a colossal waste of time because most elderly persons, especially those with limited resources and assets, are totally judgment proof under the law. Yes they owe the money, but they have absolutely no realistic ability to pay, hence the judicial system will not force them to pay. Therefore the creditor gets NO benefit from filing its lawsuit.  So the bottom line, the creditor wasted time and money filing an unnecessary lawsuit and during the process inflicted grief and aggravation upon our elderly population that is probably least capable and able to handle it. Unfortunately, this merry go round is not unique to Rhode Island. It happens in many courts throughout the country.

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