My question involves collection proceedings in the State of: Michigan
I'm trying to help my girlfriend figure out what to do next. She was sued by a law firm for medical debts in the amount of $700.00 dollars that should not be owed.
Small back story, few years ago she had a credit check done and found some debt on her credit for medical related stuff from Spectrum Health related to her autistic son. She had no idea why this was on her credit so she disputed it wth the credit bureos and said this is not owed, I have/had insurance. They disappears from her credit, found in her favor for some reason.
Fast forward a few years and she is now being sued by a law firm that has bought the debt. She was served and reached out to them and they say she never paid, she owes it. She tried to explain it to them but they tried to bully her into paying so she said "see you in court". A quick Google search tells me this is what this law firm does, they buy OLD debt and sue people to collect settlements.
She spent several weeks working on this, talking to the doctor's office, the insurance provider etc and what we found was that her child WAS insured at the time and that the doctor's office in question NEVER submitted these bills to the insurance company. The pulled her records for her and gave proof that she was covered and the girl from the insurance company provided a letter stating that the doctors office never attempted to submit those bills for payment.
She informed the lawyer suing her of this and he did not care. He told her she owed the debt because they had tried to contact her for years and she ignored it. Problem is, she has lived at the same location, worked for the same company and had the same phone number the doctors office has in file for years too. The doctors office themselves says the debt isn't even in there system. Someone from the health group told her it should have been charged off if they couldnt collect it. They don't seem to understand why she is being sued either but said they can't do anything because they no longer have said debt.
Other than the original paperwork she was served she has never received ANYTHING with follow up court dates, hell she had to call the court for the first one because she got nothing.
She contacted the court to find out where and when stuff was going on and apparently either got a day/time wrong or was given misinformation.
She got to court this morning an sat in an empty courtroom for almost 30 minutes before someone asked if they could help. When she told them why she was there they told her the case was heard almost 1 hour previously and the lawyer sueing won a default judgement.
She has all her proofs that the billing department at the health group failed to submit for billing and a letter supporting that from the insurance company she was pretty sure she would win, she had no reason not to go.
She went to legal aid and they told her the lawyer suing her should have provided times/dates of said lawsuit followups and she said I've NEVER received anything from the court or the lawyer. Looking at all of her paperwork she has nothing with todays date on it. When asked how she knew, she said she called the court and showed up a few minutes before the time they told her to be there.
She was told by legal aid to reach out the bar accosiation and find out how to proceed next, she did and they basically told her it's "tricky" and its only $700.00 dollars so no big deal but she has no money and barely can pay the rent and feed her child with his issues.
Can she appeal this? What does she do next? Does this mean the law firm can garneshee her paycheck now or do they have to take her back to court if she refuse to willingly pay it? I'm wondering is she is stuck paying this if she can request a low ammount like $10~20 dollars a pay period as to not cause her to not be able to pay rent or bills.