“Why am I getting a letter from Ferry & Nicholas about a lawsuit against me?”

“Why am I getting a letter from Ferry & Nicholas about a lawsuit against me?”

"Why am I getting a letter from Ferry & Nicholas about a lawsuit against me?"Ferry & Nicholas is a “non lawyer” company that describes itself as a “mediation firm” and the reason you received a letter from them is that you have been sued by a debt collector or a debt buyer.

The most common debt collectors and debt buyers that sue are:

It is also possible you were sued by a credit card company such as Capital One.

In any event, you are receiving the letter because Ferry & Nicholas has looked up your case online (Alabama court system known as AlaCourt) and is soliciting your business.

“Should I hire a non lawyer mediation company such as Ferry & Nicholas when I’ve been sued?”

You have to answer this question but I’ll give you some things to ponder….

  • Will Ferry & Nicholas answer the lawsuit for you?
  • Will they be able to answer questions about the statute of limitations in Alabama?
  • In addition, will they get you an extension of time in writing from the collection lawfirm so you can answer?
  • How does Ferry & Nicholas “mediate” your case?
  • Who does Ferry & Nicholas work for?  They say they are a neutral mediator.  Who pays them?
  • What can Ferry & Nicholas do for you that you can’t do for yourself?

There are a lot of issues with a non lawyer doing what certainly appears to be legal work — that’s known as the unauthorized practice of law.

But putting that aside.

Ferry & Nicholas can’t represent you in court as they are not a lawyer.

So your time to answer — 30 days in circuit court and 14 days in district and small claims court — is running.  If you decide not to file an answer on your own and you don’t hire a lawyer, make sure you get the case settled, in writing, before your time runs.

A common tactic is for the debt collector to negotiate with you and as soon as the 14 days (or 30 days) runs, they default you.

Even if you are “working it out” with the collection lawfirm.

It is your responsibility to make sure your answer is filed in time and many have been burned by this, including some I know who used Ferry & Nicholas and were told by Ferry & Nicholas there would be no default.

So be careful in who you hire and make sure you know exactly what you are getting for your money.  Know exactly what type of advice and help you are paying for….

Bottom line — if you want medical advice, go to a doctor.  If you want help with a lawsuit, go to a lawyer.

You have 5 options when sued.

  1. File bankruptcy
  2. Fight the lawsuit on your own
  3. Settle the lawsuit on your own
  4. Hire a lawyer to fight the lawsuit
  5. Hire a lawyer to settle the lawsuit

Not all of these options will be good ones for you so my suggestion is sit down with a knowledgeable lawyer who can help you evaluate each of these options so you can find the best one for you.

Go to the expert in whatever area you are looking at — ask your doctor for medical advice, your mechanic for car advice, your insurance agent about buying insurance, etc.

No need to ask your mechanic whether you should have an operation or your doctor if you should get the timing belt on your car changed.

If you have been sued you are facing:

  1. Judgment
  2. Garnishment of your wages
  3. Garnishment of your bank accounts
  4. Liens on your property
  5. Even a sheriffs sale where your property is sold

Serious stuff.

If you would like to talk with us and have a strategy session where we go over your options, give my office a call at 205-879-2447.

Or, if you prefer, you can fill out our online contact form and we’ll be happy to set that up.

Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

-John Watts


  1. MDL says:

    My son just recieved his notice of being sued by Zarzaur today. He sent their office a settlement offer late on Friday afternoon. I know we still must file our response in the meantime, but does the settlement offer affect any of this?

    • John Watts says:


      It really doesn’t. A settlement offer is a fine thing to do but it doesn’t help or hurt you in the collection lawsuit filed by Zarzaur & Schwartz. A few quick thoughts.

      First, it doesn’t help you in the sense that if you negotiate but don’t answer the lawsuit, you’ll get a default judgment. Can’t say “But we were negotiating so I thought I didn’t have to do anything.” Unless Zarzaur tells you “Don’t worry about filing an answer, we won’t default you” or something similar to that. If they do tell you that, document it in writing.

      Second, it doesn’t hurt you in the sense that making an offer does not make this an admission of owing the money. The courts encourage all parties to negotiate and if that could be used against anyone, then no one would ever negotiate.

      So the fact that Zarzaur negotiates does not mean they admit the debt is not owed or the amount is wrong.

      The fact that you negotiate does not mean you admit the debt is owed.

      Think of settlement and the lawsuit as two separate trains. Each one goes on its own and the first one to reach the station wins — whether that is settlement of the case or a judgment (for the creditor/collector or the consumer) happens.

      Hope this helps and let us know if we can answer any questions directly — call us at 205-879-2447.


      John Watts
      Birmingham, Alabama

  2. Regina Holloway says:

    I used yall for a capital one suit i was set with claire carpenter. Towards the end i kept calling to get a balance it took her 3 months to return my call and then she told that it was paid off that didnt have to do anything else that because the balance was less than $600 it would be considered paided in full. But guess what i am being hounded by another law firm for that last $130 and of course carpenter is unable to take my calls. I paid your firm to assist me but really you took money for doing nothing. I tried file complaint about yall with BBB but guess what your not a member. I recommend not to use this firm.

    • John Watts says:


      I assume you don’t mean my law firm (we have no record of ever representing you) but instead you are talking about Ferry & Nicholas. If you live in Alabama, give us a call and we may be able to help you as I don’t believe they have the right to take your money, especially if they are not going to settle your case like they said they would.

      Thanks for your comment and I look forward to chatting with you.

      John Watts
      205-879-2447 (ask for Carolyn and she’ll look up your court case, etc)

Leave a Comment