What Does An Appeal To Circuit Court In My Collection Case Mean?

What Does An Appeal To Circuit Court In My Collection Case Mean?

circuit courtMost collection cases in Alabama start off in District Court which includes Small Claims Court. The losing party, however, has the option to appeal to Circuit Court within 14 days as a general rule.

So where does the case go after an appeal

When the appeal occurs, the case starts over in Circuit Court.

It is as if what happened in the lower court (District or Small Claims Court) doesn’t matter.

Why do things start over in Circuit Court?

In Circuit Court, you have the right to demand a jury.  Because in any case you have a constitutional right to have a jury trial. But in District Court there is no trial by jury. And in Small Claims there is no right to a jury trial.

So you have the right to appeal to Circuit Court and start your case over from scratch.

So, is this good or bad?

It depends (good lawyer answer, huh?).

But it is true. If you lost, then the right to appeal is a wonderful thing. You get a second chance.

But if you won your collection case and the other side appeals, then you have to win again.

Just recognize and understand about the absolute right to appeal. If you win your collection case understand the debt buyer could appeal. If you happen to lose your collection case then you do have a “restart” or “do-over” button if you are willing to pay the price to appeal your case.

Why are there so few appeals in collection cases?

Several reasons.

First, usually the way the District or Small Claims Court judge ruled is the same way the Circuit Court judge will rule.

Second, there are expenses to appealing a case and trying the case over.

Third, for a collector who did not provide evidence to the judge in the lower court, if they don’t offer evidence in Circuit Court, they have just violated the law even more.  When we sue them for violating the FDPCA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) and Alabama state law, then it gets worse for them if they have filed a bogus suit and then appealed a bogus suit to Circuit Court.

What should you do if you are sued in a debt collection case?

A couple of things:

First, figure out your five options.

Second, understand the process if you are in Small Claims or District Court.

Third, call us at 205-879-2447 if you would like to have some one on one advice about your suit.  This is also true if your case has been appealed to Circuit Court or if you were sued in Circuit Court to begin with.

(You can also reach us here and we’ll be glad to get in touch with you immediately).

Look forward to chatting with you soon!

John Watts

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