Posted February 11, 2014 5:40am
Ignoring correspondence is never a good idea. Let me explain why:
If the letter is just a letter, then there's no way that not knowing what it says can help you more than knowing can. I suspect that what you're worried about, is the prospect that the letter might include a summons for a legal case - that you're being sued. If that is the case, then ignoring the letter will prevent you from being effectively served, which is an essential step in the lawsuit - but it will only prevent service for a short time. Once the plaintiff (person suing) determines that you can't be served by mail, they will try other ways. They may send a process server to your home or workplace. If you continue to try to dodge service, they can get permission to have you served 'by publication' - that is, by taking out an ad in a newspaper. After the ad runs for four weeks, you'll be deemed to have been served. Because you probably don't read every classified ad in every general-circulation paper in the area, you will probably not be aware of this; which means you can be served and not even know it. A judgment can be entered against you just the same.
All that said, if you've been having your bank account garnished, that means that some creditor already has a judgment against you. The letter might be involved in a totally different debt; or it might be something you can use to get some sort of relief.
So pick up your mail. If it's a letter with a demand from an attorney, you can take it to your own attorney for evaluation. If your debts are large enough,
you may want to consider filing for personal bankruptcy. This will stop all garnishment, and get rid of all debts. You should talk to an attorney in private about this.
As far as time limits: Oregon has a six-year statute of limitations for contracts and other debts. That means that, if it's been six years from the date of default on a debt - that is, from the last payment you made - then you can assert the statute of limitations ('SOL') as a defense. But this isn't always iron-clad. There are ways to 'toll' the statute - to stop that six-year clock from running. For example, if you incur a debt in Oregon and then move out of the state, the clock doesn't run during the period you reside out of the state. So while it seems unlikely that you can be successfully sued on a 15-year-old debt, it might be possible under certain circumstances. Still, don't admit or pay anything until you've had an attorney review the matter.
Please read the following notice: <br> <br> Jay Bodzin is licensed to practice law in the State of Oregon and the Federal District of Oregon, and cannot give advice about the laws of other jurisdictions. All comments on this site are intended for informational purposes only, and are not intended to constitute legal advice, create an attorney-client relationship, or solicit business. No posts or comments on this site are in any way confidential. Each case is unique. Information not contained in these posts may create significant exceptions to the advice provided in any response. You are advised to have counsel at all stages of any legal proceeding, and to speak with your own lawyer in private to get advice about your specific situation. <br> <br>