There are seven critical mistakes judgment creditors make when attempting to collect their judgment. Over the next several weeks, we’ll be discussing each mistake in detail… and how to correct it. Last week, we covered mistake #3: Expecting the Judgment Debtor to Actually Appear for the Deposition, Tell the Truth, and Produce the Subpoenaed Documents. Now, let’s identify the problem we are dealing with this week.
MISTAKE #4: NOT UNDERSTANDING THE COURT DOES NOT MAKE THE JUDGMENT DEBTOR PAY THE JUDGMENT
Judgment creditors are often surprised when the check for the $3 million they were awarded by the court DOES NOT come in the mail within two or three weeks after the case is heard. When they call their lawyer to find out what could have happened to the money that was awarded, they are shocked to learn that only half the job has been done. They now have to find where the debtor has stashed the money, or non-exempt assets that can be taken through the legal system to satisfy the judgment—that is if the debtor still has it and if it can be found. This involves more time and money to make it happen.
Most plaintiffs naturally think that if they win their case they automatically get whatever is awarded to them. It is amazing how often attorneys apparently fail to explain to their client that the court or the jury’s job is to apply the law to the facts as presented. If they find the facts support your claim, you win the judgment but it’s then up to you to find and extract the assets to satisfy your judgment. As we say at Financial Forensic Services, “Winning the judgment is NOT Justice—Collecting the judgment IS Justice!”
The bad news is that you may well have a long road ahead of you to locate and recover the assets to satisfy your judgment. Many attorneys do NOT have the training, experience or ability to collect your judgment. In a recent survey by Financial Forensic Services, LLC, of the top 50 law schools, it was found that there are no courses covering judgment enforcement as a part of the curriculum for graduation. Only one law school mentioned talking about judgment enforcement one day during their creditors rights course. It’s no wonder that 80% of the civil judgments awarded by courts in the United States are never collected!
The route taken by most successful judgment enforcement attorneys seems to be study through continuing education courses and working with mentors.
You must have a team of highly skilled financial forensic experts and proven, experienced commercial collection experts to efficiently recover your money. The good news is THIS CAN BE DONE and the court will OFTEN AWARD you the cost of collection!