Have You Been Sued in Arizona for an Old Debt?
A huge number of people that end up with a default judgment against them don’t recall ever knowing there was a lawsuit filed. If you’ve been sued or you think you might have been, or even if you think you might be in the future, it’s good know how to look up your case.
You see, the lawsuit itself gets filed before you even learn about it usually. The debt buyer or creditor files a “Complaint” with the Court and the Court issues a “Summons”. That summons, along with the complaint is what eventually gets served on you.
But sometimes days, weeks, or months can go by between the day the lawsuit was filed and the day you are served. Getting a heads up can be helpful and allow you to avoid a default judgment. And if you’re applying for a home loan or car loan, it might be good to know if there are any issues.
How to Look Up an Arizona Lawsuit
The vast majority of debt cases in Arizona will be filed in Justice Court or Superior Court. Many counties in Arizona have very good websites that make it relatively easy to look up your case. Even if they don’t, there is a statewide site that allows you to look up the basic details of the lawsuit for each county.
We serve all of Arizona, but we’re based in Maricopa County. So we’ll use that as an example. Below are links to the court’s websites.
- Maricopa County Justice Court Case Lookup
- Maricopa County Superior Court Case Lookup
- Arizona Courts Case Lookup
When you click on these links, it’s pretty clear what to do next. But here are some tips to make the most of your search:
- Be sure to enter the exact spelling of your name or business name as it likely appeared on the loan/credit paperwork (i.e. if you go by “Jim” be sure to search for “James”)
- Try searching for other versions of your name
- Try entering the least amount of details necessary to pull up a focused search result. For example, if you have a very unusual last name, you could just search for that and not enter a first name so that it will pull up all versions of that name.
- Keep in mind that the online search options are not always 100% accurate and up to date, but are typically pretty good. If you have doubts or questions, you can always contact the court directly or go there and request a manual case lookup.
- If you have a very common name, be sure to use other search factors like date of birth, to verify or rule out.
- Make sure you are searching the right county. If you live in Queen Creek, you’ll have to search Pinal County, not Maricopa County.
- If you live in a less populated area of Arizona, the local county website may not offer good search options. In that case, use the statewide link mentioned above (3rd link).
Another thing to keep in mind is that just because you’ve been sued, it doesn’t mean you will necessarily be served with the lawsuit. The lawsuit being served on you is what triggers your obligation to respond in order to avoid a default judgment. But occasionally, the debt buyer doesn’t get around to serving you and the case gets dismissed. You can monitor the case progress by searching frequently.