Retail & Commercial Collections
Michael R. Cogan, P.C. maintains a high volume retail and commercial collections practice throughout Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia. The firm is engaged in the recovery of commercial and retail accounts including, but not limited to, credit card accounts, consumer loans, DDA/charge-off accounts, fraud and auto deficiency accounts. Michael R. Cogan, P.C. maintains direct placement representation of some of the largest creditors and banking entities. The legal services provided by Michael R. Cogan, P.C. encompass all phases of the collections process, from pre-suit dunning through post-judgment execution.
Legal Action Overview: Timeline, Client Cost & Reporting:
Upon receipt of a new account, Michael R. Cogan, P.C. will forward a case acknowledgement report to the client. A demand letter will be forwarded to the debtor on the same date that our file is opened. Should the debtor fail to respond within the 30 day period provided for under the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the firm will let the clients option move forward with litigation.
District Court/SMall Claims Cases:
In the District of Columbia small claims, an initial return day is scheduled within approximately 30 days from the date action is filed. If the defendant fails to appear on the return day, a judgment will be entered based upon the affidavits. If the matter is contested, the court will reset the case for hearing. A contested case will be set for mediation approximately 30 days after the first return day. If the case cannot be resolved through mediation, a trial date will be set approximately 30 days after the mediation date.
In Maryland, there are no return days. The Courts do, however, provide for the entry of an affidavit judgment on the initial court date if the defendant fails to answer the complaint within 15 days of service. If the defendant files a Notice of Intention to Defend, the Court will set the matter for trial. Depending on the county in which suit is filed, this trial date can be anywhere from 30 to 120 days after the lawsuit is filed.
In Virginia, an initial return day is scheduled within approximately 45 days from the date the action is filed. If the defendant does not appear, a judgment will be entered at that time. As a general rule, all original documents and/or contracts must be submitted to the Court to support the request for entry of judgment. If the defendant appears and contests the case, the matter is generally scheduled for a trial within 45 days to 90 days thereafter; timing is dependent upon the particular jurisdiction and the caseload of the court. In general, mediation is not available, except when provided by the Court (Fairfax County, the City of Alexandria and Loudoun County) and mutually agreed upon by the parties.
Circuit Court Cases in Maryland and Virginia
Civil Action Cases in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia
In the District of Columbia, a complaint is filed and the court assigns the case to a “calendar”. The nature and particular rules of the respective “calendar” will govern the nature of the procedure throughout the case. These rules are ascertained when the parties appear at the initial status conference ordered by the court. As the proceedings of the litigation and the governing rules will vary based upon the “calendar” to which the case is assigned, our office will advise you of the litigation timeline and rules upon completion of the initial status conference.
In Maryland, a complaint is filed and the court issues a summons within approximately 30 days. Service is effected upon the defendant via private process. Once served, the defendant must file a written answer within 30 days. If the defendant fails to answer the complaint timely, a motion for entry of a default judgment will be filed with the court. In the event an answer is filed, the court will set the matter for an initial scheduling conference within approximately 60 to 90 days.
In Virginia, a motion for judgment is filed with the court and the defendant is served once the court prepares the requisite notices. Once served, the defendant must file a written answer within 21 days. If the defendant fails to answer, a motion for entry of a default judgment must be filed with the court. An attorney from our office shall personally appear before the court, to obtain the final order. Each circuit court within Virginia, however, has very different local procedures with respect to litigating the case through trial if the matter is contested. Due to the disparate procedures, our office will advise you of the governing timeline and court procedures on a case-by-case basis.
II: Legal Costs
The costs of filing an action in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia are all quite different. Please contact our office to receive a schedule of fees for all courts discussed herein.
In addition to the foregoing court costs, there will be costs for service of process with respect to most all pleadings filed in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. Once again, you may contact our office to ascertain the price of service within each of the jurisdictions and respective counties/cites therein.
The District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia have disparate laws and procedures. Furthermore, the specific procedures utilized in many counties within the jurisdictions are extremely varied. Based on Michael R. Cogan, P.C. our extensive experience in all three jurisdictions, we are confident that our clients will experience a rapid and successful resolution of their claims.
The foregoing overview explains the general timeline for legal action in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, the associated costs and the nature of the monthly reporting provided to each client of Michael R. Cogan, P.C. Please be aware, however, that when dealing with the court system, all time schedules are approximate. While we have attempted to provide you with a fairly comprehensive overview of the legal proceedings in our practice jurisdictions, we understand that additional questions may arise. As such, please feel free to contact us if you should require any additional information.