Understanding Bank Garnishments under Indiana Law

Understanding Bank Garnishments under Indiana Law Once you have obtained a money judgment against a party, Indiana law provides a number of different methods for collecting that judgment.  While many of these collection options involve selling garnishable real estate and/or personal property that can take time and involve expenses such as auction costs, the most efficient means of collection involves assets that are already liquid, including amounts held in checking and savings accounts at financial institutions such as banks or credit unions. The first step for garnishing deposit accounts is determining where the debtor has (or may have) deposit accounts.  Examining prior financial statements and cancelled checks from the debtor is likely to provide this information, to the extent that such documents are available.  The judgment creditor can also determine the location of bank accounts by serving written discovery requests on the debtor or orally examining the debtor at a proceedings supplemental hearing.  It can also be beneficial to just “go fishing” and send bank interrogatories to a number of financial institutions at which it is conceivable that the debtor maintains an account.  The expense of such a fishing expedition is minimal ($5.00 per judgment debtor per financial institution) while the benefit of finding an account can be substantial.  Focusing on financial institutions with locations near the judgment debtor’s residence or place of business or that otherwise have a significant presence in a particular community should provide a reasonable likelihood of success for the judgment creditor. Once the judgment holder determines the financial institutions that may have deposit accounts for the debtor, the judgment holder must send garnishment interrogatories...

Judges Are People Too

Judges Are People Too We recently encountered another situation where we were reminded that regardless of what the law may be; a contract may say; or what the court orders may have been to that point in the case, ultimately the decision on how to enforce those things comes from a judge who has his or her own human emotions.  Before a recent hearing, we were having a discussion with our witness about the fact that there are really two aspects to the law: the legal side and the human side.  Interestingly, the witness thought that the human side is supposed to be left “out there on the sidewalk”.  For those of us who have tried a number of cases through a jury trial or to a judge, we know that is not at all the case.  Cases can be won or lost based upon the strength or likeability (or lack thereof) of a particular witness.  Cases also can be lost because even though the law allows for a certain remedy, the judge is just not willing to enforce that under particular circumstances. In our recent circumstances, there was a widow who had been represented by an elderly lawyer, and the lawyer had fallen ill.  The judge therefore had some concern about how much she had been advised about what had been going on.  Therefore, even though by the various court orders that had been entered, and even though all of the i’s had been dotted and t’s crossed, the judge was reluctant to enter the order that we were requesting until she felt comfortable the widow had retained...

Suited Up!

We are taking donations at our location on Monument Circle until January 15th! Read more about the program here: http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indybar-start-the-new-year-with-a-clean-closet-and-help-local-students-suit-up/PARAMS/article/38966...

Indiana Judgment Liens against Real Estate

Indiana Judgment Liens against Real Estate In Indiana, when a judgment for monetary damages is entered in favor of a plaintiff, that judgment automatically becomes a lien for the judgment amount upon any and all real estate owned by the judgment defendant in the county where the judgment was entered.  See, Ind. Code § 34-55-9-2.  If the plaintiff knows or has reason to suspect that the judgment defendant owns real estate in any other Indiana county, the plaintiff can have the judgment indexed in such other county by delivering or mailing a certified copy of the judgment to the clerk of such county.  See, Ind. Code § 33-32-3-2(d).  Indexing the judgment in another Indiana county only costs $3 per county.  To obtain a judgment lien against non-Indiana real estate, the plaintiff will need to consult the laws of the applicable State because each State has its own procedure for domesticating foreign judgments. The judgment lien against real estate becomes effective automatically upon indexing of the judgment and remains effective for 10 years.  See, Ind. Code § 34-55-9-2.  A judgment lien takes priority as of the time of its indexing in the same manner that any other lien takes priority.  Therefore, liens already existing when the judgment is indexed will have priority over the judgment lien, while the judgment lien will have priority over any subsequently recorded liens against the property, including any subsequently recorded mortgage liens. Even if the plaintiff takes no action to enforce the judgment lien during the 10 years that it is effective, the lien can still benefit the plaintiff.  If the judgment defendant attempts to...
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