Look carefully at the dates and times listed in the papers you receive. Normally, you are served with a summons and a complaint. Too many people that are served in this manner neglect to read the summons in total. There is customarily a time requirement listed in the summons ? a thirty day response time. That is, you have to respond to the summons and complaint with 30 calendar days. One exception would be if the subject involves an eviction, an unlawful detainer action. In this situation, the time requirement to respond is NOT 30 calendar days, but only FIVE days.
Within the complaint, there is yet another date of concern. It is called the settlement conference, which is the next step in the process after you answer the complaint. If you concentrate on this date as far too many people do, the date listed in the summons will have come and gone. The Plaintiff (the one who has issued and served you with the complaint) will have obtained a default judgment against you BEFORE the settlement conference date.
Secondly, and equally important, make sure that you answer ALL complaints that you receive. Do not ignore them. They will not go away by themselves.