In the North Seattle area, a woman found out the hard way why you should never ignore a lawsuit.
Her neighbor had filed a lawsuit against her claiming the sound of her barking dog was causing him “profound emotional distress.” He filed a 36 page complaint in which he states the dog’s bark reached 128 decibels — louder than an ambulance siren and almost as loud as a jet engine taking off.
The woman, believing the lawsuit to be completely frivolous, ignored it, even when she was served with official papers.
Unfortunately for her, however, because she never challenged her neighbor’s claims, the neighbor won the lawsuit by default.
The judgement? $500,000!
She learned just how real the suit was when she found sheriff’s papers affixed to her garage saying her house was soon to be put up for sale.
Now this woman is facing an uphill legal battle — the kind you need a lawyer to help you with — to get the decision reversed. The legal fees for this battle have eaten into her savings considerably.
The lesson? According to trial lawyer Doug Landau, “Never, ever ignore a lawsuit. If you are ever served with papers the first thing you do is say nothing. And the second thing you do is hire yourself a lawyer. It’s not something to mess around with, and this woman’s case in Seattle is proof of that.”