Coffee with Casey Recap: Filing Suit to Judgment in Illinois

So, you have a loan that recently went into default. Now what?
The next steps aren’t always clear, especially if your contract requires pre-suit notices or you don’t have valid contact information for the debtor. You also may not be aware of the ideal time to seek legal counsel. Fortunately, our consumer collections experts can help you navigate these complex circumstances. 
In the sixth episode of our hit webinar series Coffee with Casey, shareholder and Chicago office managing attorney Casey Hicks was joined by attorney Jason Ruggerio. Jason joined the firm’s Consumer Collections Group earlier this year. These two highly experienced attorneys discussed filing suit to judgment over their morning cup of joe. Key topics discussed during the webinar included:
  • Documents needed for filing suit
  • Issues with service and locating defendants
  • Judgment entry 
Here’s a quick recap of some important questions answered by our experts:

Question: What does your attorney need to file suit against the debtor?

It’s important that your attorney obtain information such as the judgment date (date of final court judgment), the charge-off date (date the debt was charged off), the last payment date, the last statement date (date of last periodic statement or written statement or invoice provided to the customer), and the transaction date (when the goods/services were provided to the debtor). It’s also helpful to have a copy of the contract, as well as any and all assignments or bills of sale, credit card statements, payment history, and payoff information. 

Question: What does your attorney do when they receive a referral?

Once you contact your attorney, you work with them to decide if you’re going to directly file a suit or work with them to seek collection from the debtor. Upon making a determination, your attorney will draft the complaint and then you will review it and sign the verification. If it is a credit card default case, the attorney will reference the original creditor, charge-off date, and amount of the last payment.

Question: What is the process when you go to file your complaint with the court?

While every county has different timelines and procedures, it’s typical for a 30-day summons to be issued to the debtor with a return date. If the attorney/law firm is having difficulty locating the debtor or conducting service, the attorney can issue an alias summons or request Section 2-203.1 service, which is a special service by mailing, but must be granted and certified by the county. 
It’s important to remember that each county has their own stipulations around service. It’s also critical to work with an attorney that understands the particular regulations of each county. 

Question: What is service by special means?

Recently, on April 24, 2023, there was an amendment to Section 2-203.1 which allows service by special means such as social media. Despite this new update, service must be pursued in a manner that is in line with due process. 
In regards to service by social media, the amendment states that your attorney can send a direct message to the defendant/respondent on a social media platform on which the defendant has an active profile. You can attach a copy of the summons, complaint/petition, and any other required documents to the direct message. 
In the body of the message, it’s important to state something to the effect of: “Important information: You have been sued. Read all of the documents attached to this message. To participate in the case, you must follow the instructions listed in the attached summons. If you do not, the court may decide the case without hearing from you, and you could lose the case.”
To learn more about the service-related amendment and other important insights related to filing suit in the state of Illinois, watch the full Coffee with Casey Episode Six: Filing Suit to Judgment webinar at any time.

Our team is constantly monitoring the world of consumer collections and is happy to connect with you to tackle your additional questions. You can contact Casey and/or Jason at any time.
This blog is not a solicitation for business, and it is not intended to constitute legal advice on specific matters, create an attorney-client relationship or be legally binding in any way.

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Casey B. Hicks


Jason K. Ruggerio


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