Sheppard Law Offices

Columbus, Ohio Bankruptcy Attorney Kenneth L. Sheppard, Jr.

FREE Debt Relief & Bankruptcy Consultation

(614) 523-3106

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Stop Lawsuits and Judgments



Bankruptcy Ends Collection Activities From Lawsuits


If you have ever been sued, the fear of the unknown upon receipt of the Summons and Complaint can be quite chilling. Will the creditor be here tomorrow to kick me out of my house? Will my employer be notified? Will I have my wages garnished, and if so, when and for how much? Is the money in my bank accounts safe? Will a lien be placed on my house? Can I lose my job? The questions are endless. Understanding the process of a lawsuit and how lawsuits are treated in a bankruptcy will help alleviate these uncertainties.


Collection by Creditor Through Civil Lawsuit

When a creditor seeks to collect on a debt owed to it, the creditor must file a civil lawsuit.  Ohio is a "general pleading state" and this means that the creditor-plaintiff only needs to provide a general allegation of the dispute to start a legal proceeding.  In the Complaint, the creditor-plaintiff will allege that the defendant is in default and the creditor will request a judgment in an amount that it believes it is owed by the debtor-defendant.  The plaintiff is obligated to serve a copy of the summons and complaint on the defendant.  This is usually done by certified mail to the defendant at the defendant's last known address. Upon receipt of the summons and complaint, the defendant has 28 days to respond with an Answer.  At Sheppard Law Offices we can assist you in filing your Answer and help you identify any affirmative defenses you may have.  By filing the Answer, the court will issue a schedule of events that must take place in the case, such as a Pre-Trial, Status Conference, a date that dispositive motions must be filed by (e.g. a Motion for Summary Judgment), etc.  A typical civil case may be ongoing for several months before a final judgment entry is issued by the court.


After a judgment has been entered by the Court, then the creditor may pursue collection efforts.  The most common collection efforts are wage garnishments and bank levies. The creditor could also seek to place a lien on real property. Further, the debtor also needs to understand the ramifications of a judicial lien (e.g. certificate of judgment).


Filing for Bankruptcy in Ohio Will Stop Pending Lawsuits and Current Collection Efforts

A pending lawsuit that has not reached a final judgment can be stopped in the same way that current collection efforts by a creditor can be stopped, that is, by filing bankruptcy. The actual filing of a bankruptcy petition, whether it be a chapter 7 or chapter 13, commences the "automatic stay" provision of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. This means that immediately upon filing the bankruptcy petition no creditor can collect or seek to collect against the debtor.  As soon as you file for bankruptcy your bank account and wages cannot be garnished. No lien can be placed on your house. The creditor cannot repossess your vehicle or other personal property. During the bankruptcy proceeding, all pending lawsuits are stayed. At Sheppard Law Offices, we file a document called a Suggestion of Stay for each existing civil lawsuit with the Clerk of Court where the civil lawsuit had been filed. We also notify the creditor's attorney in writing as well. The Suggestion of Stay provides notice to the court that a bankruptcy case has been filed by the debtor. The debt that was at issue in the civil lawsuit will now be handled by federal bankruptcy laws. If a creditor would garnish your wages or otherwise collect or attempt to collect from you while your bankruptcy case is pending, your bankruptcy attorney must be notified immediately.  Federal Bankruptcy Judges take violations of the automatic stay provision very seriously and may impose sanctions upon creditors who fail to adhere to these rules.


If you are facing a lawsuit or already have a judgment against you from a lawsuit, now is the time to contact the Columbus Ohio bankruptcy attorneys at Sheppard Law Offices to get help today. Your Columbus, Ohio bankruptcy attorney will discuss with you your debt relief and bankruptcy options, and if filing for bankruptcy is right for your situation. Call (614) 523-3106 today to speak with a Columbus, Ohio Bankruptcy Attorney.

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Sheppard Law Offices - Columbus

Sheppard Law Offices

The Columbus, Ohio bankruptcy debt relief and taxation law office of Sheppard Law Offices, LPA is conveniently located just inside I-270 off of Cleveland Ave. Our offices provide a short drive from throughout Central Ohio including counties of Franklin, Delaware, Knox, Marion, Licking, & Fairfield. We regularly serve  Debt  & Tax needs of clients from  Columbus, Westerville, Bexley, Dublin, Sunbury, Delaware, Fredericktown, Johnstown, Centerberg, New Albany, Gahanna, Pickerington, Grandview, Upper Arlington, Clintonville, Groveport, Pickerington, Pataskala, Reynoldsburg, Groveport, Lewis Center, Worthington, Granville, the Short North, Hilliard, Plain City, Grove City, Newark, Mt. Vernon, Canal Winchester, and Lancaster.

Columbus Ohio Office

2600 Tiller Lane, Suite A

Columbus, Ohio 43231

Telephone: (614) 523-3106

Newark, Ohio Office

843 N. 21st Street, Suite 108

Newark, Ohio 43055

Telephone: (740) 345-7138

Akron-Canton Office

Belden Village Tower, 200

Canton, Ohio 44718

Telephone: (330) 409-2876

Mt. Vernon, Ohio Office

11 West Gambier Street

Mt. Vernon, Ohio 43050

Telephone: (740) 392-0404

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