QUESTION: Dear Legal Wiz
I got a summons because someone who loan me money ($80,000), is taking me to Court for its return. The thing is I mislaid the summons and didnt know the date. I recently found it and realised the date has passed. The date was almost a year ago. What will happen? Can I go to jail?
RESPONSE: Dear Barry Walsh,
Firstly you cannot go to jail. The onus is upon you however to find out what happened on the date in question in Court, as varied actions would have been possible. The possibility of another date being set up is one result. Another is that the case might have been thrown out if the person who started the case was absent.
On the other hand there ae times when several follow up dates are given and default judgement is awarded where the Defendant, which is you is repeatedly absent without any reason offered. If default judgement is entered against you, the Claimant (person starting the suit against you) can make certain applications to take physical action for their money. This may include having bailiffs seize items from you for sale.
The best step for you to take, is to take the summons to the Courthouse for discussion with a Clerk. There you can request a history of the case, and get some advice. If the case is still open and another date has been set up that hasn’t yet passed, you will need to prepare a defense. At which point you may need to speak to an attorney.