The Right Attitude Toward Collection

Collecting a judgment involves: a working knowledge of selected Minnesota Statutes and Rules of Civil Procedure, how and when to use specific post-judgment creditors’ remedies, procedures in sheriff’s offices, how to enlist the assistance of district court judges, the enforcement of subpoenas and orders, asset liquidation as a last resort, and how to acquire helpful information from public bodies and private enterprises.
Because a judgment debtor usually has scant incentive to immediately pay a judgment creditor, creditors’ counsel must make inquiry, initiate communication, and take action designed to compress the time that a judgment remains uncollected. Even though a judgment obtained or docketed in Minnesota can be enforced for ten years, creditors’ counsel must aggressively proceed to put maximum collection pressure on debtors by ascertaining the existence and location of assets and then swiftly sequester and possibly liquidate assets sufficient to satisfy obligations. Moving fast and effectively can be a financially rewarding endeavor. If creditors’ counsel sit too long without taking action to require a disclosure of assets under oath or levying on available assets, debtors will win the chess match over judgment creditors. As weeks and months tick by without debtors being the target of subpoenas, notices of taking depositions, court orders in supplementary proceedings, motions to compel, levies, contempt of court motions, receivership motions, etc., the collectibility of money judgments declines. Knowledge of litigation procedures under Minnesota law, creative information gathering, and assertiveness will serve collection counsel well in the quest to turn a paper judgment into real dollars.

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