When your business prevails in certain types of litigation, the court may award your business damages, or financial compensation for your losses. Examples of litigation that might result in a damages award include breach of contract cases and lawsuits to collect on unpaid sums that a vendor or customer owes your business. If your business receives a damages award, the judge will issue those damages in the form of a judgment. Your next step is to collect the judgment.
You must wait until the time to appeal the judgment runs out, or 30 days. If there is an appeal of the judgment, then you will have to wait for the appellate decision and sends the case back to the court. Once these deadlines have passed, you then can take steps to collect your judgment.
There are several different ways that you may be able to collect your judgment. First, if the debtor, or the person or business that owes you money, agrees to voluntarily pay on the judgment, then you can accept payments from the debtor. If the debtor fails to pay as directed or agreed, however, you may have to take additional measures to collect your judgment.
You can enlist the help of the court in order to discover what types of assets the debtor that could be used to satisfy your judgment. For instance, you can ask the court to schedule a “debtor’s examination,” in which the debtor has to appear in court and answer questions under oath about his or her assets and property. You can ask about where the debtor works, how much the debtor earns, how much is in any bank accounts, and if the debtor has any other sources of income or property to satisfy the judgment. You also can issue a subpoena for documents, such as the debtor’s paycheck stubs or deeds to property that the debtor owns.
To a large degree, the income and property that a debtor owns will determine how you will collect your judgment. If the debtor is employed, then you ask the Court for an Earnings Withholding Order to garnish the debtor’s wages. If the debtor has a bank account or safe deposit box, you can ask the Court for a Writ of Execution, which allows a sheriff or marshal to seize the funds in the account. You also can file a lien on the debtor’s real estate and personal property, which allows you to foreclose on the debtor’s property, if necessary, and force the debtor to sell the property in order to pay your judgment.
Contacting a knowledgeable California business attorney can be essential to handling any litigation that may affect your business, including pursuing and collecting judgments that your business is owed. Call Heit Law Group, P.C., at 855-231-9868 today, and learn what we can do to help you through the complex process of managing all areas of a successful business.