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Nobody likes to receive legal documents in the mail, but ignoring them and hoping the issue will go away can spell big trouble.

That’s the answer I gave in my most recent column in the Toledo Blade to a reader who had received what I suspect was a complaint and summons more than a year ago. The reader wondered whether she still had to respond because so much time had gone by and she hadn’t heard anything else.

The problem with that approach is that the opposing party’s attorney can ask the court for a default judgment – essentially an order that the party has won – and for money damages. So, you can lose the case and get a judgment for money damages against you if you don’t respond to the complaint.

If you receive court-related papers in the mail, contact an attorney to review them. It will be cheaper in the long run than just ignoring them.

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