In A Lawsuit, Who is the Plaintiff and Who is the Defendant?


It depends on what type of case we are discussing — let’s look at several types as it can be confusing when someone says “Plaintiff” or “Defendant” and you don’t know the context of the case.

Collection Lawsuit
When a collector sues you, the collector (or “debt buyer”) is the Plaintiff. This is the one that starts the lawsuit and has the burden of proving that the allegations in the lawsuit are correct.

You, as the person sued, are the Defendant. You don’t have to prove anything unless you raise defenses. The Plaintiff — the debt collector — has to prove its case against you.

Lawsuit Against Abusive Debt Collector
When you are dealing with an abusive debt collector, the best way to stop them is to sue them. When you sue the collector, you are the “Plaintiff” and the collector you sue is the “Defendant.”

You have the obligation — the burden — of proving your case against the defendant collector. Normally these suits are brought in federal court.

Lawsuit Against Credit Reporting Agency
Having credit reporting problems and errors can be very frustrating and often the best way to resolve them — after giving the agencies a chance to fix — is to sue them.

So when you sue Equifax, Experian, or Trans Union, you are the Plaintiff.

They are the Defendants. Usually we also sue the “furnisher” which is Capital One or Discover or whoever has “furnished” false information to the credit reporting agencies and who has also refused to correct the false information.

Ejectment Lawsuit After A Foreclosure
After a foreclosure, the new owner (usually the mortgage company or Fannie Mae) will sue you to eject or evict you from your home.

The mortgage company suing you is the Plaintiff.

You are the Defendant as you have been sued.

We normally “counterclaim” back against the Plaintiff and add the mortgage company if it is not the Plaintiff. In this situation you are the “Counterclaim Plaintiff” and the original Plaintiff and newly added mortgage company are referred to as “Counterclaim Defendants.”

Lawsuit Against Mortgage Company Before A Foreclosure
If you sue a mortgage company before a foreclosure to stop a wrongful foreclosure, then you are the Plaintiff and the mortgage company is the Defendant.

I hope this blog post has been helpful and if you live in Alabama and would like to chat with us, please do so by calling us at 205-879-2447 or by filling out our contact form on our main website of Alabama Consumer.

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