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Sophia's Story

When Sophia* was faced with a lawsuit in Fairborn Municipal Court over a credit card debt totaling $1,144.70, plus interest and costs, she felt overwhelmed and scared, leading her to contact Legal Aid of Western Ohio for help. Sophia’s only income was from Social Security, and since she owned the home she lived in, her housing security could have been at risk of a lien if a judgment went against her.

During a conversation between Sophia and her Legal Aid attorney, it emerged that she had taken out a credit card years ago but hadn't made payments since before 2013. Moreover, she claimed there was no contract.

Considering the passage of time, her lawyer explained that the statute of limitations might have expired, which typically restricts the time within which a creditor can sue for a debt. In this case, the statute of limitations for consumer debt was six years.

To protect Sophia’s interests, her attorney prepared a comprehensive response, citing affirmative defenses including the statute of limitations and laches. Her lawyer also initiated written discovery requests to gather more evidence, particularly focusing on the expiration of the statute of limitations.

Instead of responding to these discovery requests, the creditor opted for a dismissal without prejudice, a legal maneuver that allows them to potentially refile the lawsuit in the future.

LAWO made sure the client understood the implications of this dismissal and advised her to retain all documents related to the case in case of future legal action. Additionally, Sophia’s lawyer informed her about potential recourse under the Federal Fair Debtor Protection Act.

In the end, Sophia was pleased with the outcome of the case, relieved from immediate legal pressure and armed with knowledge and preparation for any future challenges.

*Name changed for privacy.


About the author

Legal Aid of Western Ohio, Inc.

Legal Aid of Western Ohio, Inc.

Legal Aid of Western Ohio, Inc. (LAWO) is a non-profit regional law firm that provide high quality legal assistance in civil matters to help eligible low-income individuals and groups in western Ohio achieve self reliance, and equal justice and economic opportunity.