What if I'm sued by a private lender?

It's possible that you can be sued for defaulted federal student loan debt, but it is more common to be sued by private lenders. If you are sued for private student loan debt, you may have defenses. It’s also important to understand what could happen if the lender is able to get a judgment against you.

If the private lender (or corporation that bought your private student loan debt) gets a judgment against you, some income and assets are protected from collection. Go here to learn more about what income and assets are protected.



The Plaintiff is the person or company that sues you. This might be your original lender, or another party that bought your debt. They need to prove that they have the right to collect the debt.

If the Plaintiff isn't your original lender, they must have "sufficient evidence" to prove that they are legally able to collect on the debt. They need documents like the original promissory note and proof of the chain of buying and selling of the debt, between them and the original lender. Basically, they need to be able to prove that they actually "own" your debt, and that it is actually your debt.

Statute of Limitations

There is a time limit on private student loan collections. Usually, the time limit to sue on a debt in Maine is six years after you last made a payment or took action on the account. Some private student loan contracts have other kinds of rules and time limits that might apply. These limits could be longer than six years.

This defense could be complicated. You should talk with a lawyer if you can. It is important that you know the date of last payment or the date of default in order to determine whether you might be able to use this defense.


You may have other defenses, like:

  • forgery
  • the amount is wrong
  • the debt has already been discharged

You can learn more about these private student loan collection here.