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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008

    Question Discover Card Threatening Legal Action

    My question involves collection proceedings in the State of: West Virginia.

    I'm a graduate student in West Virginia. I'm unemployed, and have been for two years now. I live off of a small scholarship that my University awarded me, and the excess monies from student loans.

    When I lost my job two years ago, it became impossible to continue to make payments on my Discover Card. For nearly a year now, I have been continuously receiving bills from Discover, and though I have repeatedly informed them that I have no income, they have continued to send bills unabated.

    Yesterday, I received a notice via priority mail that my account would be sent to an attorney who would proceed to file a lawsuit if I did not immediately pay the balance of $1800 and change.

    Anyway, what I would like to know is whether or not this is simple bluster on account of Discover. I have never heard of an account with such a low balance being subject to a lawsuit.

    Also, as I have no income, hiring an attorney is out of the question. Are there any free legal services of which I may be able to avail myself, should the need arise?

    Finally, in the worst-case scenario that Discover proceeds with legal action against me, which personal property is exempt from collection?

    I don't own a vehicle, I rent, and aside from two very old computers, an ancient window unit air conditioner, and one equally old television, I have no salable assets.

    Would I be able to keep my clothing, and the books that I need to continue my education? For that matter, the books (novels, etc.) in my personal collection? My pots and pans?

    What is a creditor allowed to seize in my state of West Virginia?

    I would greatly appreciate any help or advice that anybody has to offer.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Il.(near StL,Mo.)

    Default Re: Discover Card Threatening Legal Action

    Yes, they might very well still sue you (even for the small amt. of your balance) & get a judgment against you. They can then seize all non-exempt assets in your state. Even if you have no assets at this time, in West Virginia a judgment is good for a total of 20 years - so even if you haven't anything to seize at this time, you might in the future.

    West Virginia Post-Judgment Asset Exemptions

    Homestead: Real or personal property, including co-op, used as residence, up to $15,000.

    Pensions and Retirement Benefits: ERISA-qualified plans. Funds exempt for public employees. IRA exemptions for conventional, Roth, SEP and SIMPLE plans. IRAs limited to amounts that are necessary for the support of the debtor and his dependents. Warning: No protection for IRAs that are established by an "insider" of the debtor. This provision could eliminate the protection otherwise offered to small business owners by SEP and SIMPLE plans.

    Insurance: Life insurance payments from policy of person who supported debtor, needed for support. Unmatured life insurance if debtor owns policy and insured is debtor or person who supports debtor. Group life insurance policy or proceeds. Health or disability benefits. Fraternal society benefits.

    Personal Property: Animals, crops, clothing, appliances, books, furnishings, musical instruments up to $400 per item, $8,000 total. Burial plot to $7,500, in lieu homestead. Payment for lost earnings. Motor vehicle up to $2,400. Jewelry up to $1,000. Personal injury recoveries up to $7,500 (excluding pain and suffering). Wrongful death recoveries needed for support.

    Tools of Trade: Tools and implements up to $1,500.

    Miscellaneous: Business partnership property. Alimony. Child support.

    Wages: Greater of 80% of wages or 30 times federal minimum hourly wage.

    Public Benefits: Unemployment compensation. Workers' compensation. Social Security. Veteran's benefits. Aid to blind, aged and disabled. AFDC. General assistance. Crime victim's compensation.

    Wild Card: $800 of any property. Unused portion of homestead or burial exemption for any property.

    Re your question about maybe needing a lawyer but you don't have the money for one, you might try a local law school, or local bar association & see what they might be able to do for you for no fee or a small fee.

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