Why Am I Being Sued So Far From Home?

Every year tens of thousands of Marylanders are sued in debt collection cases. Only about 20% of them enter defenses. There are a lot of reasons for that: some people think they don’t stand a chance, that the debt will go away if they ignore it or they simply don’t get notice of the lawsuit until it’s too late. Another reason is that sometime people are sued in the wrong place.

State and Federal law limit where you can be sued to a particular court, covering a particular area, called the “venue”. In Maryland, Baltimore City and each county is a venue. Maryland (and Federal) law limit the venues where debt collectors can sue you.

If You Live In Maryland

If you live in Maryland, and you’re being sued in Maryland, the venue has to be the county where:

  • You live, or
  • You work, or
  • You do business

So, if you live and work in Alleghany County, you shouldn’t have to defend yourself in a court in Cecil County.

In additional, the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act says that you can only be sued for a consumer debt in the county where:

  • You live, or
  • You signed the contract creating the debt

If you’re being sued in the wrong county, for a consumer debt, you should consult an attorney. You may have a right to have the case moved to the county where you live, or to sue the debt collector for breaking the law, or both.

If You Live Outside Maryland

If you don’t live in Maryland, and you’re being sued in Maryland, Maryland law says you can be sued in any Maryland county (it’s going to be inconvenient anyway!). However, the Fair Debt Collection Practices still applies: you must be sued either where

  • You live, or
  • You signed the contract creating the debt.

Again, if you think you’re being sued in the wrong place, talk to a consumer protection attorney about it: you may be able to file a suit of your own.

If You’re Being Sued Outside Maryland

Each state has it’s own laws about the proper venue, but the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act applies everywhere. If you’re being sued somewhere you don’t live and didn’t sign the contract being sued on, talk to a consumer rights lawyer.

CONTACT US.  If you are being sued in a debt collection lawsuit, feel free to contact us for a consultation.