I know it’s scary being on the receiving end of a lawsuit, I’ve been there.

When you are served by the sheriff or process server there should be 2 documents:

  • Summons (instructions on what to do next)
  • Complaint (the lawsuit)

Couple struggling to get ahold of their debt.
The Summons has what looks like a court hearing date, called an Appearance Date or a Return Date, but it’s a deadline, not a court date. Below are a few helpful Appearance Date facts:

  • Most people think it’s a court date (it’s not)
  • Appearance Date is the same thing as a Return Date
  • Appearance Date is a deadline to file a form called an Appearance with the clerk of court
  • When you or an attorney files an Appearance they can also file a Jury Demand. At CCLC we always file jury demands.
  • An Appearance Fee is required to file an Appearance unless you qualify for a fee waiver
  • The Appearance basically tells the judge “Hey, I’m here, don’t enter a default judgment against me!”

*A default judgment is when you don’t file an Appearance on time and the collector or creditor suing you automatically wins. Keep an eye out for a blog post later this subject and options.
Debt Collection Lawsuit Law Firm Chicago

Filing an Appearance and Jury Demand properly and on or BEFORE the Appearance Date is VERY IMPORTANT, it will determine the course of your case. Once the Appearance and Jury Demand is on file you can avoid a default judgment for now.


Here at Chicago Consumer Law Center we focus on two things, suing debt collectors and defending collection lawsuits. If you want to know what we can do for you, give us a call at 312-858-3240.