What is Mediation in a Debt Collection Lawsuit?

By: Robert J. Nahoum

A man in suit and tie with his arms crossed.


You have been sued by a debt collector and timely answered the lawsuit.  You’ve received notice that you need to appear in court for mediation? What is mediation, what can you do to prepare and what should you expect?


In an effort to move debt collection cases through the extraordinarily overburdened court system, some debt collection courts have adopted mandatory mediation procedures.  Mediation is form of alternative dispute resolution (commonly referred to as ADR). Mediation is essentially an informal negotiation facilitated by a neutral third party. In the debt collection courts, the neutral third party is usually another attorney who has volunteered his or her time to act as the mediator.  The neutral third party could also be a court attorney working for the judge on your case. In mediation, the mediator doesn’t decide who is right and who is wrong. Rather, the mediator simply tries to find common ground between the two sides to see whether a settlement can be reached.

The mediation is attended by the consumer (or the consumer’s attorney if one has been hired), the debt collection attorney and the mediator.  Each side gets to present his case and the reasons he should win and the other guy should lose.  Sometime the mediator may meet individually with the parties in what is called a “caucusâ€.  Often the mediator will go back and forth between caucuses speaking confidentially with each side about the strengths and weaknesses of the case and possible parameters for settlement.

In the end, if a settlement is reached, the mediator will help the parties to draft the stipulation of settlement making sure that all the agreed upon terms are properly stated.


There is no harm in going to mediation. However, be weary, the very purpose of mediation is to get you to pay the debt collector.  If you are confident in your defenses you should stand your ground and defend your case.

If you need help settling or defending a debt collection law suit, stopping harassing debt collectors or suing a debt collector, contact us today to see what we can do for you.  With office located in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Rockland County, the Law Offices of Robert J. Nahoum defends consumers in debt collection cases throughout the Tristate area including New Jersey.

The Law Offices of Robert J. Nahoum, P.C
(845) 232-0202