If you have received (been "served" with) a Plaintiff's Claim in Mississauga, you should contact a lawyer immediately. A Plaintiff's Claim is a document, known as an "originating process" that commences a lawsuit in Ontario's Small Claims Court. It is only used in cases that involve less than $25,000. It is not used for cases that involve more than $25,000, which are heard in the Superior Court of Justice (the equivalent document in Superior Court is called a Statement of Claim).
If you have been named as a Defendant, it means you have been sued. You can check if you've been named as a Defendant by reading the front page of the Plaintiff's Claim. If you live in Mississauga, then the relevant courthouse where your case will most likely be heard is the Brampton Small Claims Court.
In Ontario, Defendants have 20 days to give a Defence to the Plaintiff or the Plaintiff's lawyer, and file a copy of the Defence in Court. Giving a copy of a document to the other side is called "service", and giving a copy to the Court is called "filing". These are formal Court documents, and they must be prepared using the appropriate forms.
Do not attempt to prepare these documents yourself, as you will most likely prepare them incorrectly, which could result in financial consequences or losing your case.
If you fail to serve and file a Defence within the deadline, the Plaintiff can note you in "default" of the lawsuit, and you will lose your right to defend yourself. You will then be ordered to pay money to the Plaintiff, which can be enforced through the sheriff's office. The sheriff's office can enforce Court judgments by seizing your assets, such as your home, and freezing your bank accounts.
However, your lawyer can help you file a strong Defence and gather the relevant evidence. The Plaintiff must prove his or her case against you, and there are many rules that must be followed. If you and your lawyer successfully defend the case against you, the Plaintiff can be ordered to pay for some or possibly all of your legal costs.
The lawyers at KPA have experience representing both Plaintiffs and Defendants in Superior Court. Contact us for consultation to discuss your options.