If you are an Indiana resident and have been sued by an entity called the National Collegiate Student Loan Trust then you are not alone. There is more than one trust, so you will likely see a number that is a year after the name, but for all intensive purposes you are being sued for nonpayment of a private student loan that is alleged to be in default. At Halcomb Singler, LLP, we are seeing a growing number of these lawsuits filed in Marion and Hamilton counties.
First, many of the people that call our office are confused as to who this is suing them. After all, they did not take a student loan from any company called National Collegiate Student Loan Trust. Second, they are concerned because they do not see a court date at which they need to appear. Finally, they are worried about a judgment being entered against them and being garnished. Lets address these issues one by one.
One of the most confusing things about being sued by the National Collegiate Student Loan Trust is trying to figure out if you actually owe them money or not. Most people take out several loans during college and since it was typically years ago they cannot recall the name of the entity that gave them the loan. The documents that are attached to the complaint normally show the original loan application, but they don’t show how or if the loan was actually assigned to National Collegiate Student Loan Trust. Our office can request the assignment documents to make sure that National Collegiate Student Loan Trust is entitled to attempt to collect on the loan, that the assignment occurred after the loan was taken and that the statute of limitations has not expired for its collection.
It is true that there is rarely a court date listed on a lawsuit filed by National Collegiate Student Loan Trust. This is because these lawsuits are not typically filed in small claims court. These lawsuits are filed in plenary court, which is the name for courts of general county jurisdiction in Indiana. In Indiana, you have 20 to 23 days to respond to a complaint (depending on how it was served) and if you do nothing a judgment will likely be entered against you by default. As a result, there is no court date set when the complaint is filed.
Finally, if the lawsuit is ignored and National Collegiate Student Loan Trust gets a judgment then it would be correct to fear collection methods. In Indiana once a judgment has been entered it may be possible for the creditor to garnish 25% of net wages, freeze a bank account, seize personal property and, depending on how a home is owned, the creditor may receive a judgment lien on a home that is located in the same county as where the lawsuit was filed. A judgment debtor is allowed to protect a limited amount of their personal property and funds such as social security, pensions and IRA/401(k) are outside the reach of creditors.
If it turns out that the debt is owed and collectible Halcomb Singler can attempt to negotiate a payment arrangement that will work well for your budget and file the proper documents with the Court so that a default judgment is not entered. If, in addition to the National Collegiate Student Loan Trust lawsuit, you are being crushed by other debt, we can also discuss whether or not bankruptcy might help you receive a financial fresh start. If you are a resident of the Indianapolis area or surrounding counties and are being sued by National Collegiate Student Loan Trust and would like to meet with an attorney at Halcomb Singler, LLP, call us at (317) 575-8222 for an appointment at our Carmel, Indiana office.