Legal Eagle - Using the pink summons to bring an action
If someone owes you money, which does not exceed $1million and this debt is not to be assessed by the court but is a liquidated money demand, you have the option to commence action by issuing a summons in the ordinary form ['white summons' pursuant to Section 43 of the Parish Court Act] or by a summons in the form given in Schedule A pursuant to Section 146 of the Act ['pink summons'].
The summonses have acquired their distinct designation as 'white' and 'pink' based on the colour of the paper on which they are to be written. Sometimes, however, the court's office might not have the pink paper to be used in the preparation of a 'Section 146 summons' and so white paper could be used. The important distinction, therefore, lies in the section of the Parish Court Act pursuant to which the summons is being issued, that is to say, Section 143 as distinct from Section 146.
The first fundamental requirement that you, as the plaintiff, would have to satisfy is to ensure that the amount is liquidated money demand. A useful explanation of liquidated money demand is a demand for an amount which is specifically known to be due, as distinct from an amount which is to be ascertained by the court during the course of the action. For instance, if 'A' lends 'B' the sum of $500,000 to be repaid on or before 10 months with interest of 10 per cent per annum, the total amount owed after 10 months and continuing can be calculated without any assessment by the court and, as such, can be termed as liquidated money demand.
MUST BE PERSONALLY SERVED
Upon visiting the Parish Court, you will advise the clerk of the court that you wish to commence the action by 'pink summons' or pursuant to Section 146 of the Parish Court Act. When the papers are processed and ready for service, they must be personally served on the defendant at least 12 clear days before the return day, which is the date written on the summons for the matter to be called up in court for the first time.
The defendant, if having received the 'pink summons', wishes to defend the action, then he or his agent SHALL, at least six clear days before the return day, give notice in writing signed by him to the clerk that he intends to defend the action. If the intention to defend the action is properly given, the matter will be set for trial.
If the defendant does not respond, you or your agent may file an affidavit of service to state positively that the defendant received the 'pink summons' and the truth of the debt or demand. This must be done on or before two months of the return day.
The clerk, upon receipt of the affidavit of service, will then put the papers before the Parish Court judge for his review. If the judge, upon conducting his review, is satisfied that the requirements of Section 146 have been complied with, he will authorise the clerk to enter judgment against the defendant with costs to be taxed. The clerk, in obedience to the directions of the judge, will enter judgment accordingly and this shall be valid and effectual as if the judge had pronounced judgment in open court.
'Pink summons' are time-sensitive and as a result, both the plaintiff and the defendant have serious obligations to observe and comply with the statutory time lines as mentioned above.