Here's an example of just how rotten "bad debt" can be.

My client had been sued by some collection agency that he had never heard of about some credit card debt which he thought had been long since resolved. Years ago, he met with his banker friend who had issued that credit card to him. The account numbers had been stolen, so he had it closed. A new account was opened with a new card. Q.E.D.

Lo and behold! The account had not gone away. It resided as magnetic ink on some database. It was sold to a collection agency, which filed a suit against him. Click here to see a redacted copy of the complaint filed against him.

Well, with the passage of time, my client had thrown away any paperwork relating to that account. And, apparently, so did the bank which had sold the debt. Shockingly, the complaint gives three bogus reasons for not attaching the account information, a pleading requirement under the Ohio Civil Rules. Plaintiff's attorney ignored our contention that the account had been stolen. Yeah, heard that before.

In the course of the litigation, it was clear that plaintiff didn't have the account agreement or any information as to how it arrived at the balance due. Nothing. They had no witnesses. The only way that they were going to prevail was by default, or by somehow proving its case through the testimony of the defendant, which I was not going to let happen.

Without any account transactional information, plaintiff could not prove the amount due. So much for Count I of the complaint. And this Count II for "unjust enrichment," it is plain nonsense. It's black letter law that a court will not award in equity when a claim is based on a contract.

Last time I looked, a credit card account is based on a written agreement between the issuer and customer. The fact that a contract is lost does not afford plaintiff an equitable remedy. Plaintiff's attorney knew they were grasping for straws, and dismissed the case about a month prior to trial. Never to be heard from again.

I find it troubling that this complaint is a fill-in-the-blank, computer generated form. Who knows how many of these disingenuous (I'm being generous) lawsuits have been filed, but it has to be a substantial number. I want to say that this matter is an outlier, but I regret to say that this is all too common.

This entire episode has been removed from my client's credit reports.

Illegitimi non carborundum.