Q: If you have gotten a judgement in small claims court and the contractor refuses to pay, do u have options
A: Usually a judgment includes a time to comply. If the party who loses does not comply you will need to start an action to enforce the judgment. You may request an order to be paid from the contractor assets, like a bank account.
A: I would have to review the judgment, but yes, you have options. One is to forward an execution levy to the City Marshal’s office directing it freeze the defendant’s bank accounts. These forms must be prepared properly or they will be rejected by the bank. There are other enforcement devices such as the “till tap” where the Marshal can appear at the defendant’s place of business and empty the cash registers to satisfy the judgment. Be aware that before all this, you must properly serve the defendant with Notice of Entry of the judgment. It will be worth if for you to retain counsel. Mistakes will not only cost you time, but will give the defendant a head start in hiding his assets to make it nearly impossible to collect.
A: The area of law you are referring to is called Enforcement of Judgments. There are various remedies including sending information subpoenas to banks to try to locate the judgment debtor's bank account and restrain it, sending a property execution to the sheriff to levy on accounts, or an income execution to garnish wages (up to 10% and only one creditor at a time), and conducting supplementary proceedings to discover information about assets by deposing the debtor or serving an interrogatory. These areas may require legal help from an experienced attorney. The problem is that it may not be cost-effective to hire an attorney for a small claims court matter. Usually the judgments are less than $5,000 and the legal fees may not be worth it to pursue collection further. A good first approach is to serve notice of entry of the judgment with a letter demanding payment and reminding the debtor that statutory interest is 9% so the debtor would be much better off trying to resolve the debt now. Please note that this is intended only as general information and not legal advice specific to your case because I have not reviewed your case. This response does not create any attorney-client relationship. My firm requires a signed retainer agreement to provide legal services. Thank you.
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