Litigation, Generally | The Stages of Suit in Court | Compulsory Arbitration in Court | Arbitration Outside of Court | Injunctions | Collection

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A Money Judgement 

Anyone can make a claim for relief or demand money in a lawsuit, but something called a “money judgment” is needed for courts to gain power to seize assets through the  courts.

 

First, let’s look at how one obtains a judgment:

Litigation in Court

– Binding Mediation or Arbitration (the winning party can have  the award entered as a judgment in court, absent fraud or some  blatant error of law).

Confession of Judgment. (Not preferred.)

Consent Judgment (This is preferred, as it avoids litigation of  liability and damages).

Getting a judgment is just the beginning. As the old expression  goes, it can be a long walk from the courthouse to the bank. It is  for this reason that parties often look at expedited ways to  compel another party to pay, such as a mechanic’s lien or order  for specific performance. (link to commercial litigation). That  said, there are numerous methods that can be very effective to  collect on a judgment.

 

Tools For Collection

With a judgment in hand, what next? There are numerous ways  to enforce a judgment to get money:

1. In Allegheny County, a money judgment automatically serves  as a lien against any real property in the name of the defendant  in the county. The party holding a judgment may immediately  deputize the sheriff to serve a writ of execution to execute on  the judgment in the following ways:

2. Garnish bank accounts and property
Schedule a sheriff sale of the defendant’s assets

3. Setting Aside a Fraudulent Transfer

 

Defenses to Collection

The debtor may be “judgment-proof” any number of ways.  Although a debtor should not move or transfer assets to avoid a  judgment, certain assets are inherently beyond the scope of  collection:

Marital Property. For more, click here.

Social Security or Disability Checks
Money directly deposited in the debtor’s bank account is  beyond the reach of creditors and the bank will not set aside  that money if served with a writ of execution.

Bankruptcy.
A bankruptcy is the ultimate trump card to payment of  corporate or personal debt. However, there are limits to  discharge in bankruptcy.

Garnish Wages.
There is no right to garnish wages in Pennsylvania unless the  judgment relates to child support or landlord-tenant law. construction and renovation agreements are a hotbed for  litigation.

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