5 Steps to Handling a Lawsuit by Zwicker & Associates, PC
If you have been sued by the law firm Zwicker & Associates, PC, you are not alone.
Who is Zwicker & Associates
Zwicker & Associates, PC is one of the largest collection law firms in Florida. Zwicker maintains several offices in Florida, including Jacksonville, FL and Boca Raton, FL. In addition, they maintain several offices in numerous other states. Paul Zwicker is listed as the firm’s president according to the Florida Department of Corporations. The firm opened in 1991.
Zwicker & Associates is not BBB accredited; however, they are given an “A+” rating by the BBB in spite of 18 complaints in the last 3 years (as of 6/21/2021).
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau complaint database reflects 141 complaints (as of 6/21/2021 – with a 3 year lookback).
Why have I been sued by Zwicker & Associates
Zwicker & Associates often represent creditors and debt collection in collection lawsuits to try to secure payment for their clients. Their firm focuses on legal collection on consumer debt. In particular, we see them often representing Discover and other big lenders. Therefore, if Zwicker & Associates has sued you, it is most likely that they are represent a creditor who claims you owe them a debt.
Is there a class action lawsuit against Zwicker & Associates
Consumers have sued Zwicker & Associates a number of times for claims of improper collection practices. A search of the federal court “PACER” system reflects 457 cases in federal court where Zwicker & Associates were listed as a defendant (as of 6/21/2021).
Consumers have sued Zwicker & Associates in class actions. For example, in a 2018 class action filed in New York, the Plaintiff claimed that collection notices sent by Zwicker & Associates were confusing, and violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) because they were unclear as to whether the amount requested included interest and other amounts.
In 2017, the Eleventh Circuit (which supervises Florida federal courts, as well as other states), upheld the dismissal of a class action against Zwicker & Associates. In Leonard v. Zwicker & Associates, the appellate court found that Zwicker had made appropriate disclosures under the FDCPA.
What can I do about my lawsuit by Zwicker & Associates?
1. Show Up
First, do not sit on your hands! In Florida, any claims up to $8,000 are in Small Claims, up to $30,000 are in county court, and anything more is in circuit court. In small claims cases, a defendant is required to attend a hearing early on called a “case management conference”; whereas in county court and circuit court, the defendant has 20-days to file a written response from the day the lawsuit papers are served. If a defendant doesn’t appear (in small claims) or they fail to respond (in county court or circuit court), the court will likely enter a default judgment against them. Make sure to respond (or hire someone to do so) so you don’t lose off the bat!
2. Review the claim
Next, review the records from the case. When a lawsuit is based on the records of another company, it may be that the records are inaccurate. Review the claim and don’t assume it is correct just because they have written it. See if the claim and the amount are accurate.
3. Consider your options
Evaluate the alleged debt from the lawsuit, along with your other debt and your income. Is there a defense to the claim? Can you realistically afford settlement, or does it make more sense to consider bankruptcy? Here is where you may want to have a free consultation with a debt resolution professional who can help you to objectively review your options.
Assuming bankruptcy is not your best option and depending on the merits of your case, negotiation may be the next best step. If you hire a debt settlement attorney to assist you with the lawsuit, your attorney will negotiate for you. However, if you are determined to go it alone, you are generally better talking to the opposing firm than doing nothing (*this is a generalization; each situation is different). Just keep in mind, they are not looking out for your best interest. They are likely not going to tell you about your defenses to the lawsuit or your protections from collection. Their job is to get you to pay.
5. Any Settlement Agreement Should be in Writing
Finally, if you reach a settlement agreement, even if you are representing yourself, your agreement should be in writing.
Questions on Your Zwicker & Associates Lawsuit?
We offer a complimentary consultation with our experienced attorneys. We’ll evaluate your case and review your options with you.
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Clearwater: (727) 538-4188 | Tampa: (813) 225-3111