Sometimes Alabama consumers are faced with an “offer of judgment” in cases by debt collectors. An offer of judgment (OOJ) is made under Rule 68 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. It means what it says – the defendant is offering to allow the plaintiff consumer to take a judgment against the defendant.
Odd, huh? The reason defendant debt collectors do this is to “stop the bleeding” by limiting the damages that the plaintiff can recover. It is similar to a normal settlement offer but it has one twist in favor of the collection agency – if you reject the offer and then get a judgment for less than the amount of the OOJ, you can be responsible for some of the costs and expenses the debt collector incurred after you rejected the OOJ.
Normally, an OOJ is not terribly important as if you lose the case you may be responsible for many of these costs anyway. Also, the OOJ is rarely enough to cover a reasonable jury verdict and the attorney’s fees that are owed.