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Thread: Cause of action: demand-letter vs. summons

  1. #1
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    Default Cause of action: demand-letter vs. summons

    On 13 Sep 2003, [email protected] wrote:
    Let's analyse: * * * [ During a dispute between a customer and a municipal utility services provider about the customer's assertion that he was being overcharged, the lawyers for the utility wrote: ]
    I'll try to adopt your/this writing style.
    ". . . we hereby on behalf of <the utility> demand . . . payment in the sum of <$5x> in respect of <goods & services - most importantly no date mentioned!>. If [you have not paid] said amount [plus the other] costs stated [hereinbelow] . . . not later than 1 August <year> summons will be issued without any further notice." [The customer did pay as/when demanded and there <--NOT ! followed a] "Summons commencing action" [dated] 5 August <year> with the following alleged claim: ] Plaintiff's claim against defendant is for payment of the sum of <$5x> [i.e., the sum stated in the demand letter] <costs etc. added to give a total - as would be expected>
    Earthlink @ Mindspring.com wrote:
    Note first that the letter is not an admission that the customer owes less <$5x> or an agreement that the utilty would not sue for more than that sum.
    Yes, but don't lose focus of the essentials by drifting off to secondary
    consequences.
    -[snip]-
    [I contend it is relevant to consider] the following 3 documents arranged in chronological order of their creation/delivery: 21 May <year> Suppliers demand letter for $5x 1 August <year> [above quoted letter for $5x] 5 August <year> [above quoted lawsuit $5x] My contention is that the date of cause of action . . . . . . as originally sued upon . . .
    . . . was before the 'Suppliers demand letter' of 21 May . . . [a]nd that consequently the amount owed (under dispute) . . .
    . . . as of 5 Aug <year> . . .
    . . . concerns only supplies before 21 May <year>.
    On the facts as you here state them, this contention is correct PROVIDING (but only if) that you futher understand that the "as originally sued upon" and "as of 5 Aug. <year>" qualifications make it correct.
    No I don't understand. I'm guessing that "as originally sued upon"
    is some vital concept like "cause of action" ?
    Nor do I understand the significance of : "as of 5 Aug <year>".

    Is this lay-persons understanding correct:
    when a judgement is given, there must be a specific time when
    all the evidence is 'in'. I.e. the door is closed; the race has started;
    no more new bets !
    And that consequently the amount owed (under dispute) concerns only supplies before 21 May. What you try to suggest by "consequently" -- [snip]
    Try to restict your analyses to the written words.
    Resist the temptation to double guess.
    If you can follow the words you are doing well.
    -[snip]-
    Any supplies consumed after 21 May are chargable to a separate matter.
    This is correct, too, providing that you understand that -[snip]-
    Apparently the demand letter stage can be skipped, but once it has happened, it can't be wished away. Your "apparently" is correct, as a general matter, -[snip] - But your "wished away" rhetoric is moot, since it presumes that the creditor in your case "wished away" its letter whereas, in actuality, it fully acknowledged the letter -[snip] -
    How would I claim/prove that he " fully acknowledged the letter"?
    Below you will see the absurd attempt to wish it away, being the
    core of his argument.
    ---

    The deciding point (which you need not appreciate yet - when you
    ask the time, the answerer need not know why you ask, lest this
    knowledge bias his answer) is that the creditor's lawyer wrote
    [in his heads of argument and managed to fool the judge]:
    " 12. It is quiet clear that the amounts claimed include the amounts
    up until August of <year>. See Record page 1 line 30."

    [ where page 1 is the summons and line 30 is the 02/08/99 date
    of start of interest running (and since you like to digress: the 18%
    maximum chargeable interest was repeated {ie. charge again on the
    same amount by the creditor} - which is usury, but is NOT a
    defence for the debt IMO, since it occured after the cause of action).


    --- Here's the punch line:-

    If the claim being the amount claimed in the 21 May <year>
    demand letter "included the amounts up until August of <year>",
    then:
    1. who the hell is going to pay for the June and July costs ?
    2. Why did the creditor's bills continue marching on (with the usual errors
    and [double charging - usury] the maximum interest rate which is
    already charged in the summons) without reflecting the 2 months
    "free" consumption ?

    --- Here's where the false punch line was needed:-

    In order to claim that the admitted amount exceeded the
    claim, they had to wait until the calculated admitted amount
    caught up to and exceeded the claim. Actually this was not
    planned, since the calculation/spreadsheet was made only after the
    the summons: on 22 December <year>. So the lawyer was happy
    that (as he illogically thought) an admission had fallen into his hands.

    Ie. the claim was set at 21 May <year>, and by 5 August <year>
    the time of the summons issue, the (yet to be) admitted/calculated
    amount owing exceeded the claim.
    [It's all these time sequences which the 'verbal' mentality
    legal-people can't handle ?]

    --- Here's WHY the false punch line was needed:-
    If the debtor admitts that he owes more than the claim, he clearly
    has no bona fide defence for an application for rescission of a default
    judgement.

    --- Here's an extra little twist:-
    The lawer's demand letter and summons were in fact less than the
    supplier's demand letter by exactly the amount of the deposit.
    But no mention of how, or corresponding to what date the claim
    was based, was given. (I included the exact words of these
    documents, which you inappropriately edited). By reducing the
    claim of the summons by the amount of the deposit, the lawyer
    was more likely to have the claim be less than the calculated
    admitted amount. But since the caculation/admission only
    happened after the summons and (unknown to the debtor) default
    judgment, this claiming 'down' could not have been intentional.

    --- Here's a twist to the twist:-
    Applicable legislation allows a summons to be void if it is
    'vague and embarrassing'. A legal opinion has it that the summons
    which gave no details of up to what date the consumption applied,
    was indeed vague.
    NB. the supplier's demand letter corresponded (as expected) to
    their (faulty) billing and consequently was NOT vague.
    ------------------------

    In the case of a running account, what is the correct format of the
    demand letter and/or summons to indicate up to which date the
    (present) claim applies to ?

    I guess some would say that by default it includes up to the
    date of issue (of the summons) ?

    But then how can you 'wish away' the preceding demand letter,
    which cannot apply the charges happening in it's future ?

    What might be good 'key words' to do a google search to find
    some of many cases which have handled similar circumstances ?

    I've tried stuff like: "running account"+"cause of action".

    Thanks for any pointers,

    == Chris Glur.






  2. #2
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    Default Cause of action: demand-letter vs. summons

    On 14 Sep 2003, [email protected] wrote:
    [ [email protected] wrote: ]
    My contention is that the date of cause of action [as originally sued upon was before the 'Suppliers demand letter' of 21 May . . . [a]nd that consequently the amount owed (under dispute) [as of 5 Aug <year>] concerns only supplies before 21 May <year>.
    [[email protected] said that o]n the facts as you here state them, this contention is correct PROVIDING (but only if) that you futher understand that the "as originally sued upon" and "as of 5 Aug. <year>" qualifications make it correct.
    No I don't understand. I'm guessing that "as originally sued upon" is some vital concept like "cause of action" . . . [n]or do do I understand the significance of"as of 5 Aug <year>".
    The second avowed misunderstanding (that you do not "understand the
    significance of '5 Aug <year>'") is borders on the bizarre, since it
    is you who supplied that date, i.e., you seemed to say, the date of
    the summons (and, therefore, absent your reporting more facts about
    how and when plaintiff contends the lawsuit was actually commenced
    [though you've more than once alluded to a dispute about whatever that
    contention may be], the date one one may presume the lawsuit was
    commenced).

    Your more important misunderstanding here, however, is the one you
    first state, although that avowal, too, is even more odd, since
    numerous respondents to your many newsgroup postings about your
    lawsuit have explained, mostly correctly, how and why your nonetheless
    adamantly on-going denials in this connection are (SERIOUSLY)
    erroneous.

    Anyway, though so doing ought be superfluous I'll here and as relevant
    in response to your separate contemporaneous posting try for your sake
    just one more (i.e., for the last) time:

    _ALL_ your postings/'plaints about your lawsuit conflate (among
    others) two (VERY) different (themselves differing) sets of
    issues/questions -- namely,

    FIRST:
    What ought be and are the rights/remedies of
    - a defendant served (even if arguably by an
    improper method) with a summons and who there-
    upon (timely) "appears" in the lawsuit by serving
    and filing an answer (whether or not just making
    simple denials of plaintiff's allegations or with
    "affirmative defenses" or "counterclaims" or
    "cross-claims" against other named or to be
    later joined parties, etc) then who continues
    (also in timely fashion) to defend (or who does
    some version of this by whatever may be other
    jurisdiction/court-appropriate pre-judgment
    defensive steps [e.g., as in U.S. courts, making
    a "motion to dismiss" or a "motion for summary
    judgment"])
    compared with
    - a defendant against whom a default judgment
    was entered and who seeks to vacate ("set aside"
    or, if you prefer, "rescind") such a judgment
    (bearing in mind that, in your country, a rule stating
    in its title and text the word "recission" means, in
    effect, "recission in whole or in part" IF and (only)
    to the extent granted by the court depending on the
    nature/content of defendant's motion and of the
    opposition if any thereto).

    For both legislatively-presecribed and also generally good policy
    reasons, it is important (if you genuinely want to understand what has
    occurred) for you to make the above distinction, especially (but not)
    only because they bear on you other even more (in the context of your
    misunderstandings about your lawsuit) basic failure to _allow_yourself
    to "understand" the more important (somewhat) related but also
    separate distinction summarized and further (again) explained
    immediately below.

    (One reason this is important, for you, is that, though you have
    repeatedly used the word "apparently" to precede you saying you
    understand that a default judgment is enforceable by its terms in the
    jurisdiction in which it was granted unless/until it is "rescinded" or
    somehow "modified" or its enforcement at least stayed [as your court's
    rules explicitly say may, but need not, occur], you do not seem
    adequately to understand that a defaulted defendant's _method_ of
    making such a motion may, and in your case, you did, explicitly or in
    effect waive rights the defendant otherwise might have.)

    SECOND:
    A "cause of action" as you just generally (but persistently
    incorrectly) use that term is no more than the allegation by a
    claiming party (usually, the plaintiff, but it can also be, among
    other alternatives, a defendant, by way of "counterclaim") of what the
    court will agree is a grouping of (claimed) facts which, if later
    proven by whatever may be the jurisdiction/case-sepecific degree of
    evidence, entitle that party to court-granted relief -- in other
    words, allegations of facts (sometimes in some places referred to as
    "transactions and occurrences") which, if later proven (to the degree
    the particular case requires proof compared with, f'rinstance, those
    allegations being admitted explicitly or by way of some sort of
    wavier/default) will induce the court to rule, "Yes - this lawsuit
    presents a (law-redressable) 'wrong' suffient to entitle the claiming
    party to the here-awarded redress" -- no less but, also, no more.

    You would be also correct if you were to note that for some
    categories of "cause of action" there are (depending on the
    jurisidiction) special rules of pleading (e.g., that, in the U.S. and
    in Gt. Britain, a plaintiff generally is required to allege the
    specific words complained of in a libel case, or that, in the U.S.
    [and to a somewhat lesser extent in Gt. Britain], a plaintiff seeking
    to recover damages or other relief by reason of defendant's fraud is
    generally required to allege the that "fraud" in detail, e.g., "with
    particularity").

    But glossing the wheres?/hows?/whens? of all these qualifications
    is unnecessary to your lawsuit, and for a very basic reason: it is
    just a slight variation on a classic/simple breach of contract
    litigation so that all that is necessary for the plaintiff in the
    first instance to allege (as a "cause of action") is (something like),
    "plaintiff provided municipal utility services at defendant's request
    for which defendant agreed to pay, but defendant has not paid, and
    defendant presently owes # for which plaintiff hereby demands
    judgment" -- perhaps even less, but not necessarily any more.

    Your notion, however, that a simple pre-suit demand which does
    not make an admission it is not an agreement that plaintiff will not
    later sue for more than the sum stated in the demand constitutes the
    "cause of action" is just plain wrong (although, as noted earlier, but
    as is not relevant here, in particular cases, such demand might
    make/constitute admissions damaging to plaintiff).

    It is not that the plaintiff (or the court) will "wish away" such
    a demand, especially not (in your case) that the creditor's or the
    laywer's letter constituted the "cause of action" but, instead, that
    such letter(s) are just one fact to be considered by the court to the
    extent (if at all) that the parties explain why they ought be
    considered.

    But your actually quite fundamental misunderstanding about the
    nature/purposes of the need to allege, and what constitutes, a "cause
    of action" has induced you to attribute to the (elementary and also
    neutrally- stated) demand in your lawsuit talsmanic/magical powers
    that it does not have and cannot support -- namely, that you
    PRESUPPOSE (but without citation, ever, to any supporting authority)
    that such a demand "fixes" the plaintiff-to-be's claim for all time
    as, correspondingly, you then ignore the fact that, in YOUR case, your
    obligations to the plaintiff were not, in fact, "fixed" and, instead,
    were on-going and that, in addition, you joined issue on with
    plaintiff about this very point by litigating the very merits of those
    later-accruing indebtednesses.

    Your only response to these facts -- again, just conclusorily
    stated without any citation by you to any legal authority -- has been
    that these later accruing charges and your related defaults in paying
    those sums is a "separate matter" (or some like phrase), a claim you
    make as a shorthand way to say that plaintiff/utility ought sue you
    "separately" in another lawsuit.

    The (BASIC) problem with such a position (besides its lack of
    support in law), however, is that it substitutes focus on presumed
    magic (the presumed Signficance of a piece of paper) for the PRACTICAL
    (and, indeed, justice-related) reality why a plaintiff is required in
    the first instance to serve a summons and a complaint or some other
    sort of jurisdiction specific operative pleading (e.g., referred to in
    some cases by some courts as a "petition" or as a "statement of the
    claim"), although it quite simply (but of course very importantly)
    this:

    To give the defendant reasonable notice that defendant
    is being sued, of the basic nature of the claim plaintiff
    alleges entitles plaintiff to relief and, in so doing, to
    tell defendant of defendant's opportunity (if defen-
    dant acts within the time required) to be heard in
    opposition including by defendant alleging and trying
    to prove whatever facts/matters defendant believes
    in good faith ought be considered by the court to
    defeat the claim in whole or in part -- no less, but also
    no more.

    Suppose for the moment that in your case you had served and filed
    an answer a week or so after the summons was claimed to have been
    served/filed (i.e., when no would would or could claim that it was too
    late for you to so) in which you first denied whichever of the l
    awsuit's operative allegations you were advised to deny (e.g., that
    you did not owe whatever portion of its lawsuit-alleged claim you
    chose to deny) then alleged something like, "plaintiff may not sue for
    more than the sum demanded in plaintiff's pre-suit letter" (whether or
    not you wanted to add your asserted "reason" for such an allegation
    that plaintiff's claim had become "fixed" by reason of its pre-suit
    demand) and that, as ore-trial proceedings in the lawsuit progressed,
    but before the court ruled on the merits or not of your or of
    plaintiff's allegations, you continued to accept but refused to pay
    for utility services from defendant; and suppose further that, perhaps
    having first asked you but you having declined to stipulate to its
    supplementing its claim at suit to add (subject to whatever if any
    defenses you might want to allege in response) what plaintiff then
    contended were since accrued past due indebtenesses, defendant moved
    the court for leave to "amend" or to "supplement" its complaint by
    adding to its lawsuit allegations to the effect that you owed this
    post-lawsuit-commencement sums but that you opposed such a motion on
    the asserted ground that the later accruing claim is a "separate
    matter" which ought be the subject to a "separate" lawsuit.

    What the court then would do (besides perhaps imposing sanctions
    on you for such a patently frivolous claim) is, first, read the
    legislation/rules that apply to breach of contract lawsuits and answer
    for itself the question, "May/should the court grant plaintiff's
    request to amend/supplement and, if so, with what (if any)
    conditions?" -- an exercise (reading the applicable legislation/rules
    addressed to this issue), you will recall, you have continued to
    refrain from undertaking yourself.

    If, however, you were to do so, you would find that your court's
    rules/procedures in this respect are very similar (indeed: almost
    identical to) the rules which apply in almost all U.S. (and British)
    courts -- namely, that such motions are to be (more or less)
    "liberally" granted, subject to providing defendant a reasonable
    opportunity to do the very things defendant would be entitled to do if
    plaintiff had sued upon the after accruing claims "separately" (e.g.,
    obtaining particulariztion, if needed, discovery, etc., etc., to the
    extent the rules otherwise permit) and of course defendant having an
    opportunity to contest the merits by submission of countervailing [if
    relevant/admissible] evidence (including, if defendant were so advised
    to claim, about whether this-or-that pre-lawsuit letter or other
    demand by plaintiff ought be contrued/applied to preclude plaintiff's
    claim in whole or in part) .

    And, of course (and yet: obviously), if the court were to grant
    such a motion, the PRACTICAL result, of its so doing would be to treat
    the supplemented/amended lawsuit precisely as a "separate" one which,
    however, it would thereupon try/decide along with the first one.
    This is also why, correlatively, if the plaintiff did chose to
    file/serve what is actually a new "separate" plenary lawsuit rather
    than to make such a motion, another thing the court might (and in such
    cases commonly does) do is to direct the "consolidation" or, at least,
    "joint trial" (and, often, joint administration in all other respects)
    of that new (initially/once) "separate" suit along with the
    first-commenced lawsuit, providing that the new (and, if you prefer,
    [once] "separate") lawsuit arises out of pretty much the same (BUT:
    not necessarily actually identical) underlying "transactions and
    occurrences" in terms of being between the same (or basically the
    same) parties arising from the same (or basically the same) underlying
    agreements/relationships.

    The legal "buzz-words" for this sort of thing is "being fair" to
    all parties and "doing justice" while "being practical" and
    "efficient" (and the like).

    And so another way to put this (as, in fact, any number of
    respondents to your postings about your lawsuit have put it) is that
    the court would want to know your fact-specific answer to the
    question, in response to your "its 'fixed'!" and "its gotta be a
    'separate matter'!" assertions,

    What (IF any) ACTUAL PREJUDICE will you suffer,
    and how (exactly), if the court were to allow the amend-
    ment/supplement or achieve basically the same thing by
    consolidating or at least jointly administering including by
    jointly trying as if (more or less) one lawsuit, perhaps also
    to be terminated with just one judgment?

    (And, of course, your insistence on a "separate" judgment for the
    "separate matter" -- unless there are particular facts requiring
    concluding otherwise [and in some cases there are such facts], still
    another example of your elevating form ver substance -- one commonly
    used device in such cases is for the court to render a judgement in
    one of the "separate" cases, which will spell out the substantive
    result to the extent appropriate, and render/docket a jugment in the
    other [nominally "separate"] lawsuit ruling [in substance], "case
    decided in accordance with the here incorporated by reference judgment
    in [caseName].")

    Not merely have you not (in ANY of your postings!) ever tried
    seriously to anser the question immediately above but, instead, you
    have (as noted) persistently elevated form over substance; you use
    vague terms like "separate matter" but without support in law; and you
    meanwhile have never explained (except by resort to unilaterally
    stated fiat) why doing something of the sort summarized above is (in
    ANY way) unfair.

    Worse, you exacerbate these (intellectual) defaults by having
    reported that rather than seek to set aside the default judgment on
    your case on the ground that the court lacked jurisidiction over you
    because no summons was ever served upon you in any way, you CHOSE to
    respond to plaintiff's contention that the judgment ought not be
    rescinded because you had since the lawsuit's commencement become even
    more in default than you were originally by (YOU said!!!) ADMITTING
    that you then owed more than had been sued for and by your further
    CHOOSING to submit to the court a (YOU said) very detailed multi-page
    "spreadsheet" in which you laid out for the court all sums to that
    date you acknowledged.

    True, you have also suggested (you've never in any of your many
    postings made explicit) that plaintiff's lawyers "misled" or
    "confused" the court and said that the court was mistaken in making
    the calculations which found their way into the modfified judgement
    (although you have never said in any of your postings, no do you say
    now, how substantial the disparty was, i.e., what sum, exactly, was
    the difference between the judgment amount and the amount you
    acknowledged you then owed, and so you've prevented readers of your
    postings who are not otherwise familiar with the facts in your lawsuit
    from evaluating whether you are complaining about anything of
    substance compared with trivia).

    What you suggest in this latter connection (and, alas!, painfully
    demonstrate further below) instead is that you did not make a
    suffiently clear factual showing in support of your contentions on the
    merits then further aggravated this defect by failing to serve/file
    your reply affidavit in a suffiently timely fashion or otherwise
    insure that it was actually delivered to the court (or, at least, that
    you speculate that this occurred). In other words, you did not follow
    the rules then (you seemed to say) made the situation worse by not
    arriving on time in court to verify that all the papers you wanted the
    judge(s) to consider were in order
    Is this lay-persons understanding correct: when a judgement is given, there must be a specific time when all the evidence is 'in' i.e. the door is closed; the race has started; no more new bets !
    Not always.

    The fundamentally determinative issues in this connection are those
    summarized above -- basically, what (if any) legislation/rule would be
    violated and, if you cannot (or do not) cite any such
    rule/legislation, what anyway would be UNFAIR ("unjust") and why
    (exactly) if the court were to take into account acts by and between
    the very same parties already before the court if (as you have
    repeatedly acknowledged was so for you) those acts arise out of and
    relate to the very same agreements/relationship also already in
    dispute before court in ways very similar to the first-alleged claim
    (i.e., whether defendant continued to request and accept but fail to
    pay for basically the same sorts of services, whether aggrement- or
    legislation-required bills were rendered at all or on on time, whether
    the bills as rendered were suffiently detailed as required by the
    underlying agreement or applicable legislation/regulations, whether
    the interest charged was provided for in the undelrying agreement or
    in the applicable legislation/regulations, etc.)
    The deciding point . . . is that the creditor's lawyer wrote [in his submission to the court], "It is quite clear that the amounts claimed include the amount up until August of <year>" [i.e., a date after the pre-suit demand letter].
    This is not the "deciding point". That "point" is whether you
    answered to the court's satisfaction all the questions/issues
    asked/summarized above.
    Here's the punch line: If the claim being the amount claimed in the . . . May <year> [pre-suit] demand letter"included the amounts up until August of<year>" . . .
    . . . except that it was NOT "the amount claimed in the [demand
    letter]" and, instead, the amount claimed by plaintiff in its
    _lawsuit_ when the lawywer made that statement/submission (i.e., in an
    affidavit or brief or other document submitted in opposition to your
    motion to rescind or modify the default judgment) in light of
    statements of asserted fact by YOU in your "spreadsheet" you CHOSE to
    submit to the court about the sums YOU CLAIMED said you owed after May
    <year>.
    [Why] then. . . . did the creditor's bills continue marching on (with the usual errors and [double charging - usury] the maximum interest rate which is already charged in the summons) without reflecting the 2 months "free" consumption ?
    Well, you've (repeatedly) answered a material part of that "why?" by
    you having said that you continued to request and also accept but did
    not pay for utility serves as/when the bills therefor were due. But I
    don't know the full "why" because you've chosen never (in your
    newsgroup postings and, apparently, in the "spreadsheet" and other
    documents you've submitted to the court) to explain what is incorrect
    about this claim (other than conclusorily to claim that the interest
    charge is "usury").

    I do confess, however, that I guess (on the basis of what you've too
    freqently said and also how you've said it in your newsgroup postings)
    that a combination of vagueness and confusion if not outright
    incoherence in your motion and related documents exacerbated by your
    (as the court may have perceived it) not just peremptory but also
    arrogant tone helps further answer why.

    And (unless, as is possible, I've misunderstood what you've said in
    earlier postings about these subjects) you may have made this all
    worse by your having screwed up in seeing to it that all the documents
    you wanted the court to consider were delivered to the right place at
    the right time.
    [T]he false punch line was needed [because]: In order to claim that the admitted amount exceeded the claim, they had to wait until the calculated admitted amount caught up to and exceeded the claim. Actually this was not planned, since the calculation/spreadsheet was made only after the the summons: on 22 December <year>. So the lawyer was happy that (as he illogically thought) an admission had fallen into his hands. Ie. the claim was set at 21 May <year>, and by 5 August <year> the time of the summons issue, the (yet to be) admitted/calculated amount owing exceeded the claim. [It's all these time sequences which the 'verbal' mentality legal-people can't handle ?]
    I quote this in full in the hope (for your sake, not mine) that you
    will re-read but this time actually think about what you attempt to
    say immediately above with a view in so doing to your answering this
    question:

    To what extent might what "legal-people" do
    not want to (not that the "can't") "handle" be
    that (except for your concluding bracketed
    question, which is just vague, though not irrational)
    ALL the text immeidately above is almost complete
    gibberish (an almost utterly incoherent mish-mash
    of verbal slush)?
    --- Here's an extra little twist:- The lawer's [pre-suit] demand letter and summons were in fact less than the supplier's demand letter by exactly the amount of the deposit.
    You stil have not answered (besides not addressing whether the
    debtor's agreements with the utilty entitled the customer to make the
    argument you here attempt vaguely to imply) how this prejudiced you in
    any way, although you appear to acknowledge that you could have called
    this discrepancy to the court's attention then explained its
    signficance (alhough you do not explain its signficance in your
    present or in any other newsgoup posting).
    --- Here's a twist . . . . Applicable legislation allows a summons to be [ruled to be] void if [on its face or found by the court based on the respective parties' submissions in this connection] it is 'vague and embarrassing'.
    This is correct.

    It is just that it is also irrelvant (to your lawsuit).

    The summons, as you quoted it, and the pre-suit demands from the
    creditor and from the creditor's lawyer are not vague nor
    "embarrassing" in the sense that latter term is used in the law.

    You could have, and, if you wanted, should have, demonstrated to the
    court how any discrepancies between/among the two pre-suit demands and
    the lawsuit were factually incorred or otherwise prejudiced you.
    Apparently, you tried to do this but, if you did so in language
    similar to that quoted above, it is no wonder that the court did not
    understand (or understood and rejected) what you said.
    A legal opinion has it that the summons which gave no details of up to what date the consumption applied, was indeed vague.
    A summons which includes a statement of the purported/alleged claim or
    a summons accompanied by a complaint or like operative pleading which,
    however, "gave no details" of the claim sued upon would not just be
    "indeed vague" but also "vague" in the "void" (in law sense).

    Such documents which alleged (purported) such "details" but in a
    factually incorrect manner (whether "incorrect" by reason of mistake
    or of outright falsehoods) would not be "void" in the sense of "vague"
    but, rather, because the "details" as stated are substantively
    incorrect (assuming that the defendant acted in a suffiently timely
    manner so as not to default or, if defendant was deprived by plaintiff
    of an ability to act in timely manner because plaintiff did not cause
    a summons to be served in any way on defendant despite plaintiff's
    claim otherwise, if defendant made such a showing in his motion to
    rescind the default judgment).
    NB. the supplier's demand letter corresponded (as expected) to their (faulty) billing and conse- quently was NOT vague.
    Exactly. That is why you might want to answer for yourself:

    So/but why, then, do you nonetheless introduce a "legal opinion" about
    a matter which, however, you here say is irrelevant?
    In the case of a running account, what is the correct format of the demand letter and/or summons to indicate up to which date the (present) claim applies to ?
    This depends on whether the parties' underlying agreement or, for
    public utilities, applicable legislation/regulations prescribe what a
    demand letter shall say (although you've never answered this question
    in any of your newsgroup postings either).

    Absent such contractual or other provisions in law, the demand letters
    you've previously quoted are o.k. for this purpose (even if in part
    mistaken as a matter of fact). Yet also absent contractual or
    statutory/regulatory provisions requiring otherwise, among your
    persistently stated misconceptions have been your failure to
    understand that the function of a demand letter (whether from the
    creditor or creditor's attorney) is to achieve simply this: put you on
    notice of the demand.

    But once having been given such (especially if: assertedly erroneous)
    notice, it is open to the demand's recipient to sue, if s/he believes
    (or ought believe) there is a jural controversy that warrants
    immediate judicial interverntion (you've also never explained why you
    did not do this) or (unless and to the extent that the nature/contents
    of such notice requires more) explain to the court in a lawsuit by the
    creditor why the notice ought bar the claims sued for in whole or in
    part.

    (ONe legal "buzz-word" summarizing these principles is that previously
    noted -- namely, "DUH!")

    The probably more important question (for you), given the apparently
    still on-going yet by you still disputed "open account" nature of your
    relationshp with the utility, is that suggested to you long ago by one
    of the responses to your earlier postings -- namely, whether your
    agreement with or the legislation/regulating your relationship with
    plaintiff utility company contains some sort of "account stated"
    provision (e.g., in effect even if not in this exactly language, "the
    customer shall object in/by a writing mailed or otherwise delivered
    within __days for the date of a bill stating in detail what the
    customer claims to be the mistake/error and, if s/he or it fails to do
    so as/when herein stated, this bill shall be deemed, and shall become,
    final and conclusive through the date it states).

    (Though you've also never made suffiently clear in any of your
    postings whether plaintiff utility company sought to make an issue of
    this, a related principle in your country [as in Gt Britain and in
    most places in the U.S.] might be whether, even if there was not such
    language, you retained this-or-that bill/statement for a suffiently
    long time but without correction or objection so as to create, in
    effect, the very "account stated" consequence that such an agreement
    could provide.)
    I guess some would say that by default it includes up to the date of issue (of the summons) ?
    The default by you as claimed by plaintiff (and, initially, the court)
    in your lawsuit was in defending and so related to (and "includes")
    whatever was claimed/in by the lawsuit itself.
    But then how can you 'wish away' the preceding demand letter, which cannot apply the charges happening in it's future ?
    As noted, correctly, it isn't a question of "wishing it away" as much
    as, in the first instance, you not having appeared in suffiently
    timely fashion to defend before a judgment was entered against you
    and, in your motion to rescind that judgment, that you did not explain
    to the court's satisfaction why it ought be concerned in any way (much
    less be bound by) what you here (sort of) claim in this connection.
    [I'd like to know more about the law in So. Africa and in countries which have arguably comparable legal systems "running account" relationships]
    You already know about the existence and also availability to you of
    law libraries.

    What you have not made made clear in any of your postings is why you
    again pose this question now if (as you seem to have implied) the
    court has ruled against you and your appeal from that ruling has been
    denied and yet that further appeal either is barred or, even if
    otherwise (theoretically) available, not well advised if (as you most
    certainly have suggested) your submissions to the court as they appear
    in the record consist mostly of admissions or outright gibberish of
    the sort quoted above.

    Though (as I note above) this is almost certainly the last of my
    responses to your postings (at least to the exent that the issues here
    covered are sought to be again raised by you) and, anyway, not that I
    am asking, but you might want to note again that you have also been
    vague (I daresay: evasive) about how/why you defaulted in the first
    instance.

    In particular, you have avoided addressing whether you claim you were
    not served in any fashion with the summons (not even by some sort of
    publication or public posting?) or whether you were furnished the
    summons suffiently before the rendering/entry of the default judgment
    against you but chose not to do anything to try to defend or whether
    plaintiff has shown that you were (formally) "served" in some manner
    provided by law but that you did not actually know and, in fact, could
    not have known about the lawsuit until after the default judgment was
    made/filed. That you have avoided answering which of these
    alternatives is closest to what occurred in your case perhaps tells
    one something about your intellectual honesty, but it certainly has
    interefered with evaluating what might have been (if it were not not
    too late) options for you. Thus, regardless what you motive may have
    been in avoiding these issues in your newsgroup posting, your
    omissions in this respect tend to support, they most certainly do not
    contravene, what you seem to have suggested (also vaguely) the court
    eventually (and finally?) ruled in your lawsuit (although one might
    also note that IF you had demonstrated to the court that there really
    was not any service of process upon you of any nature, "rescinded" for
    that reason alone).

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