“What is a notice of service of discovery by Zarzaur & Schwartz?”

“What is a notice of service of discovery by Zarzaur & Schwartz?”

"What is a notice of service of discovery by Zarzaur & Schwartz?"If you have been sued by the large Birmingham, Alabama, collection lawfirm of Zarzaur & Schwartz — and the lawsuit is in Circuit Court — then you will normally receive a legal document titled:

Notice of Service of Discovery

It will say:

Take notice that the undersigned has, this date, served on all parties the following:

(X)  Request for Production, Interrogatories, and Request for Admissions to Defendant.

So, what is this document?

This means whoever sued you (the Plaintiff) has, through its collection lawyers, sent you discovery requests.  The “Notice of Service of Discovery” is telling the court that you have been sent by mail the actual discovery requests.

You are getting a copy as anything filed in court must be sent to you.

What does this mean?

Zarzaur & Schwartz has served its standard package of discovery to you which includes the following:

  • Request for production of documents — this is where you are required to send to Zarzaur & Schwartz actual documents you have.  Whatever has been requested that is proper under the rules.  It may be copies of payment information, copies of credit card statements, etc.
  • Interrogatories — these are questions you have to answer in writing.  It is like an “interrogation” — that’s why they are called interrogatories.
  • Request for admissions — you either “admit” or “deny” whatever the question or statement is — for example “Admit that the Plaintiff [one who sued you] was assigned the debt from the original creditor” or that “Admit that the Plaintiff now owns the debt you have been sued on.”

What else will I get?

You will get, in the mail, the actual discovery questions.  Normally this will be about 10 pages or so.

It will have instructions, the actual questions, and then the date it was served on you by placing it in the mail.

What are my deadlines?

When you receive the documents, you normally have about 30 days to answer.

How important is it to answer these discovery requests?

Very important.

If you don’t answer, then you waive your “objections” to any improper questions.

Most importantly, if you don’t respond to the “Request for Admissions” then you automatically “Admit” every request.  This can be fatal to your case.

Can I handle this on my own?

Yes but you will need to spend a lot of time to make sure you understand the law and the rules on what can be asked, how you can answer, when you object, and to make sure that you are answering everything accurately under the law.

This is hard to do without a lawyer but it can be done — you simply must spend a lot of time handling this.  Don’t wait till the last moment — instead start now if you are going to do this on your own.

I’ll point this out — often consumers tell me this is unfair for Zarzaur & Schwartz to do this as the consumer doesn’t understand how to respond to these questions.

If you are acting as your own lawyer — which you are if you don’t have one — then understand serving discovery is allowable in Circuit Court.  There is nothing wrong or unfair about it.

The collection lawyers don’t have to (and really can’t) explain the law to you.

The court can’t explain the law to you.

You have to figure it out if you are acting as your own lawyer.  You can do this but make sure you have the time and determination to do this on your own.

Should I hire a lawyer to help me now?

Normally this is the best approach as once discovery is served, the complexity of the case goes way up.

A lawyer who handles these types of cases can advise you on how to answer these questions and will know which questions are improper and don’t have to be answered but instead will be objected to….

You do need to know the costs — all the costs involved.  Here’s what I mean:

  • What is the actual fee?
  • Is it a flat fee so you know exactly what the cost is or is it by the hour, or the month?
  • Does the lawyer have experience with this lawfirm and the plaintiff who sued you?
  • Has the lawyer tried collection cases in circuit court?
  • If you are not confident about the lawyer’s ability, then what is the additional cost beyond the legal fee?

It does not always make sense to hire a lawyer.

Not all lawyers are going to be the right lawyer for you.

Find a lawyer that makes you confident in the lawyer and that you feel comfortable with as this can be a long journey so you want to feel good about whoever is going to be your guide in this journey.

What should I do right now?

Find out exactly where you are right now:

  • Have you received the actual discovery requests?
  • Have you figured out your time limit to respond?
  • Or, have you thought about whether you want to handle this on your own?
  • Do you want to have an experienced lawyer help you?
  • If you do, who will you contact and how quickly do you need to make a decision?

Make sure you don’t “do nothing” — that is the biggest problem we see with folks who have been sued and then discovery is served on them.  Make sure that you do take action.

If you would like us to help you evaluate your options so you can discover which option is best for you, call us at 205-879-2447 or fill out our online contact form and we will get right back with you.  We normally will set up a call with you or we can do an in person meeting or a video call — whichever is most convenient to you.

Make sure you take action today and let us know how we can help you.

John Watts


ps — if you want to watch our 24 minute in depth video on your 5 options when sued, you can do that at our article which also contains the video.

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