CHICAGO -- The Illinois Supreme Court has adopted new pleading requirements for credit card and debt collection cases, which will result in additional protection for debtors, but also has the potential to lengthen the process, according to one Chicago attorney.
“I think to some extent these changes may have the potential to lengthen the time period to go to judgment,” said Paul Orenic, an attorney with Weltman, Weinbert & Reis in Chicago. This is due, he said, to debtors and their attorneys filing motions to dismiss because the affidavits do not conform with the new Supreme Court rulings.
“I believe that most attorneys will quickly adapt their practices to comply with the affidavit requests,” Orenic said in a telephone interview with the Cook County Record. “We will have to take certain steps pre-suit to make sure the suits we are filing are valid. What it all comes down to from a creditor’s perspective is to make sure that we are conforming with the new Supreme Court rules."
The new pleading requirements, which become effective Oct. 1, include two “big” procedural changes, according to Orenic.
One change requires a new form of affidavit to be attached to a complaint, requiring additional information. This information includes the name of the consumer, the creditor’s full name, charge-off information, the last four digits of the account, the nature of the debt, and a copy of the written contract. Without the affidavit, the court cannot give a default judgment and a case can be dismissed.
The second change is that a party will not be able to appear and move to dismiss a case unless a written motion has been filed to continue or dismiss. Orenic said both debt collectors and debtors will no longer be able to show up on the day of trial and request a continuance.
“From now on, we have to do it in writing, and if it is not in writing or it is not timely filed, then the court under the new rule will deny the motion,” Orenic said. The courts, however, can give a continuation if both parties give consent.
According to the attorney these changes also will provide debtors more information about the nature of the debt, who owns the debt and more account information. It will provide debtors more protection at trial, as well as provide additional protection in the way that ID theft claims are handled and filed.
These newly adopted Rules 280 through 280.5 apply to both credit card debt collections by original creditors and defaulted or charged-off consumer debts purchased by debt buyers.
The new rules were installed in June, Orenic suggests, to bring some systemic changes to the ways that the courts deal with these debts.
Although he said he couldn’t speak “authoritatively” to why the state Supreme Court made these changes, Orenic suspects they were made to “bring certain standardization” to how the debts are handled so that judges have sufficient information about the nature of the debt, the default and the chain of title.