If you’re sued in Alabama, then almost certainly you will receive a letter from a company called Ferry and Nicholas. Normally this is sent to you the day after you are sued, so usually before you’re ever served with a lawsuit, you’ll get this letter in the mail that says, “By the way, you’ve been sued in this county by this company.”
It’ll say something like, “We are a professional mediation company, and you can hire us to mediate your case, so you don’t have to deal with court.”
The question is, is that a good idea to use those guys?
I’ll share with you a couple of thoughts.
First of all, they are not lawyers – at least, that’s what they claim, that they are not a law firm. So you would not get any legal advice from them. Now, I’m not sure. When there’s a lawsuit and they’re saying, “We’ll mediate this,” and then they also call you their client – a mediator doesn’t call one person his client – it’s an odd usage of words.
Anyway, their point is they’re representing you to try and negotiate with the collection law firm, but to me that seems like legal representation. If you’re going to have surgery, go to a real doctor. Don’t go to somebody who’s a fake doctor. I would think that if you’ve been sued, you would want to have an actual lawyer who’s licensed in the state of Alabama to represent you.
One of the problems we’ve seen with this place – at least what we’ve been told – is that they have told their clients, “You don’t have to file an answer. We’re taking care of this. We’ve got it worked out,” and then those people get judgments against them.
Then this “professional” mediation company says, “Whoa, we’re not lawyers! We can’t do anything in court. Sorry, that’s a shame.”
If you’re going to use them, make sure that you’re very, very careful to get your answer in to respond to the lawsuit within the time limit. That’s 14 days from when you were served if you are sued in small claims or district court. It’s 30 days in circuit court.
Now, my suggestion is if you’ve been sued, that you consider what we have laid out, which will be your five options (video and article discuss your five options when sued).
The first option is bankruptcy. We hardly ever think that’s appropriate, but occasionally it is, and if it’s necessary, then it’s very useful. But if we take bankruptcy off the table, then you have two do-it-yourself options and two options to hire a lawyer.
Here’s what I mean by that. You can fight it on your own, and we can give you some resources to help you do that; you can settle it on your own, and I’ll walk you through a way to do that on your own, or you can hire a lawyer to fight it – in other words, go to court and try the case for you – or hire a lawyer to help you settle it before it goes to court.
If you hire my law firm, we’ll tell you exactly what the cost will be and tell you exactly what we’re going to do. There are a lot of times I talk with people and I say, “You could hire me, but you really don’t need to. You would do better off with fighting it on your own or settling it on your own.”
Other times we say, “I think you hire a lawyer, and if you want to hire us, here’s the cost.”
It’s almost always a flat fee, so you know exactly what it will be. It’s not going to start here and then get higher and higher and higher. It’s just, “Here’s exactly what it is for your case.” We’ll tell you what we expect to happen, what the possibilities are, and exactly how that would work.
If we can help you in any way, feel free to give my firm a call at (205) 879-2447. My name is John Watts. You can contact us through AlabamaConsumer.com. You can also find other articles and videos there about lawsuits.
Going back to this question of hiring a non-law firm or mediation company to help you when you’re in the middle of a lawsuit, my recommendation is no. I think that’s very foolish to do. But I will say this. The good thing about this firm is they will notify you if you’ve been sued. That’s one thing.
Almost everybody that I’ve spoken with says, “I got this letter from this Ferry and Nicholas out of Tuscaloosa or Pennsylvania or wherever they’re from.” They do a good job of notifying people who are sued, so if you get one of these letters, don’t think this is a scam.
Don’t go, “What is this letter? I’m going to toss this away.” If you do that, then you’re setting yourself up, because the court may think that you’ve been served.
We see a lot of bad service out there. The people who are supposed to hand you the lawsuit paper, they just throw them in your yard, they put them in your door, they get blown away. Just be mindful. If you get a letter from this mediation firm, take it very seriously.
You can call the court and find out if you’ve been sued. You can call my firm, and we’ll tell you if you’ve been sued – we can look it up on the online court system.
Just give us a call if we can help you. (205) 879-2447.
Thanks for watching the video and reading this article.