My question involves collection proceedings in the State of:Texas
I am being sued by a lawfirm in small claims court for a debt that I do not owe. One day I received a summons to court from a lawfirm regarding a debt (credit card) I owed to a company I have never heard of. I have responded to the summons and even met in mediation with the lawyer who is filing the suit. The proof that they have as Exhibit "A" is what appears as a screen shot of some computer statement. There is not much on the statement other than my name, address, and social security number. There is an account number at the top but that means nothing to me. They also used this same computer screen to "validate" the debt.
Our court date was May 2 (Friday 9:00 a.m.) and I appeared in court to contest the suit. (I am disabled and cannot afford a lawyer.) The plaintiff's lawyer lives in San Antonio, about 90 minutes drive to Austin. I called the court the day before to make sure that the case was still on and was told it was. When I appeared in court, the plaintiff's lawyer had filed a request for an extension that morning at about 7:30 a.m - court was at 9:00 a.m.
The Judge was called me into the court and spoke privately to me from the bench, and said he had just received the request, the lawyer was not there, and he usually grants one extension to all his cases. He was annoyed at the circumstances and apologized to me and asked me if I would be willing to give the attorney's more time. I said yes, but only two weeks. He granted that. I could tell that this situation upset him.
My questions are:
1. If the attorney for the plaintiff does not appear in court for trial, can the judge rule in my favor? He said he could dismiss the suit, but they could just refile the suit against me again.
2. How can someone collect a debt on a credit card when all they have is a computer screen snapshot and nothing more.
3. It seems to me that to prove this debt (and all the interest and fees and other costs they state I owe) they need to show where I signed an agreement with the original creditor or at least where I made a purchase or some other documentation.
4. If the lawyer for the plaintiff does not show up again, can I ask that the judge to dismiss the case or rule that the plaintiff has not proved her case. I don't want to have to go through all this again.
It seems to me that it takes more than a few lines from a computer screen snapshot to prove that someone owes a debt. I do not know how they got my name and social number.
Is this how the justice system works? I go back to court in about ten days.