When it comes to fighting back against debt collectors like Midland Funding, Portfolio Recovery, or CACH, LLC (to name just a few) there are a lot of ” – tions ” . You have “litigation”, “arbitration” , and “mediation” . Sometimes it is difficult to keep them all straight. In this article I want to give you the definition of all three and focus on what you can expect from your mediation with Midland Funding, LLC.
Litigation is nothing more than a lawyer-word for your lawsuit. When an attorney using the word “litigation” they mean nothing more than the actual civil lawsuit in its entirety.
Arbitration is an alternative to having a trial before a judge. In many contracts the parties will agree to have an independent arbitrator hear the case and make a final decision. The parties to an arbitration hearing can determine whether or not they the final ruling of the arbitrator will be binding or if the parties can then submit the case to a trial if they don’t like the result.
Compulsory Arbitration in Arizona
Often when parties agree to submit a case to arbitration it is private arbitration. This means that the parties are agreeing on hiring an independent arbitrator to hear the case. However, in Arizona, in civil cases where the amount in dispute is less than $50,000 the parties are required to participate in “compulsory arbitration”. This is different from private arbitration in that the court will randomly assign an attorney in the state of Arizona to act as the arbitrator in your case.
Also, the ruling of the arbitrator is not binding on either party and if you don’t like the result you can ask the court to go ahead and set a trial date.
Mediation with Midland Funding, LLC
Mediation is a different matter all together. Mediation is the process of seeing if there is some middle ground that can be reached to settle the case. This process is facilitated with the use of an independent mediator who will try and get the parties to come to an agreement.
If you are mediating your debt buyer case with Midland Funding you will be required to appear with your attorney (or by yourself if you don’t have a lawyer) and after some preliminary instructions the parties will be sent to separate rooms. The mediator will then take time talking to each party and determine if there is some middle ground that can be reached.
In junk debt buyer cases they will often start with you and see if there is some amount you are willing (and can) pay to make your case go away. Then, if you provide the mediator with a settlement amount the mediator will then take that number to the attorney for Midland Funding and see if they will accept it or if they have a counteroffer. Mediation will generally require a couple of rounds of this before a settlement will be reached or alternatively that no agreement can be reached and the parties will then ask the court to set the case for trial.
Should You Settle or Take Your Case to Trial
If you have read any of my prior articles you will know that I generally take cases to trial. The reason being is (1) I believe that the defenses against junk debt buyers like Midland Funding are strong; and (2) usually the settlement offers Midland throws my client’s way are ridiculously high. Often I will receive settlement offers that are nearly 80% or higher of what is actually owed. There is no real incentive to take a settlement that high when their case is as bad as I generally think they are.
However, what you have to remember about a debt collection trial is that is all or nothing. You will either walk out of that courtroom not owing a penny or you will owe it all, plus court costs, plus interest, plus fees. If you agree to settle in mediation you take away the risk you have in going to trial – you retain some of the control.
If the settlement offer is good – and by good I mean if you can settle for a low amount (10% – 20% of what is claimed) then I will often recommend that clients take it. Much higher and the decision gets a lot more difficult.
At the end of the day it is going to be you who is paying any settlement, so make sure that if you agree to settle the debt that it is for an amount you can actually pay and that it is low enough to make it worth giving up your day in court.
Schedule a Free Consultation!
John Skiba, Esq.
We offer a free consultation to discuss your debt problem and help you put together a game plan to eliminate your debt once and for all. Give us a call at (480) 420-4028