Macungie, PA asked in Bankruptcy and Collections for New York

Q: I have a default judgment from a PA Court for $270,000 against a debtor that lives in SC. Where can I levy his NY bank?

I have a default judgment from a PA Commonwealth Court for $270,000 against a debtor that lives in South Carolina. I believe he has a brokerage account with Merrell Lynch in New York. I don't know the account number but I think I know the NY broker's name. Four years ago, the debtor referred me to this broker and said he was a friend. I have the broker's name and number. I hesitate to call him because I don't want to tip him off so he can tell his client to move money out of the account. Where can I levy the debtor's account? Pennsylvania? New York? or South Carolina?

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Bankruptcy Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: To levy a debtor's account held in New York, you would typically need to domesticate your Pennsylvania judgment in New York. This is done by filing a copy of the foreign judgment with a New York court and thereby converting it into a New York judgment, which can be enforced as if it were originally awarded by a New York court. Once the judgment is domesticated, you can issue a levy against the brokerage account through the New York State court system. It's important to act promptly since judgments can become more difficult to enforce as time passes. You may also want to consult with a local attorney who has experience in enforcing out-of-state judgments to navigate the process effectively. They can assist with the domestication process and help ensure that the debtor is not alerted prematurely about the enforcement action.

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