Once you have received a judgment against a Connecticut resident, or a Connecticut LLC or a Connecticut Corporation, the next step is to attempt to collect on the judgment. Unfortunately, enforcing a money judgment in Connecticut can be more difficult and daunting than the underlying lawsuit that led to the judgment. The person who wins the judgment is called the judgment creditor, and the person or entity whom the judgment is issued against is called the judgment debtor; for practical purposes, you are no longer referred to as Plaintiff and Defendant. In addition, once you have received a judgment, Connecticut’s post-judgment procedures and laws take effect. A lawyer that handles the enforcement of money judgments in Connecticut will be familiar with the state’s special post-judgment procedures.
How Long is Your Money Judgment Enforceable?
Even if you have secured a judgment in Connecticut, it may seem impossible to enforce the judgment for a variety of reasons: perhaps it appears the LLC is no longer operating, or the judgment debtor has no assets or wages to collect against. Keep in mind, judgments issued by Connecticut Superior Courts are enforceable for up to 20 years and can possibly be revived for an additional period of time if proper procedure is followed before the expiration date. An execution on a judgment rendered by the Connecticut Small Claims Court may be issued by the court up to ten years after the judgment was entered. Even if your Connecticut civil judgment attorney cannot collect immediately against the judgment debtor, it is important to continue to monitor the Judgment debtor’s financial situation. A judgment that is not enforceable now may become enforceable if the judgment debtor becomes employed or otherwise comes into money.
Money Judgment Enforcement Attorneys in Connecticut
Connecticut has several post-judgment procedures in place that allow one to attempt to enforce a Connecticut money judgment. A judgment creditor may be able to garnish the debtor’s wages or levy bank accounts or property. The judgment creditor may also be able to go after property owned by the debtor but held by a third party. In addition, if a judgment debtor has interest in another, unrelated LLC, the judgment creditor may be able to file a Motion for Charging Order, which allows a creditor to go after any distribution the debtor may be entitled to from that unrelated LLC.
Post-Judgment Discovery Attorneys
Following judgment, your judgment enforcement attorney or the judgment creditor will be able to send questions to the judgment debtor. These are called interrogatories, which require the debtor to provide information regarding its assets and income. These answers may reveal where the debtor is employed and by whom or if this person has any other income, bank accounts, real estate, or non-exempt personal property that may satisfy the judgment.
If these interrogatories are not answered sufficiently by the judgment debtor, then Connecticut law allows the judgment creditor to petition the court for the debtor to attend a special court session, called an examination of judgment debtor. This is for the purpose of allowing the judgment creditor or your judgment attorney to ask the debtor questions under oath. Your attorney may also attempt to take the deposition of the debtor, just as he or she would in a civil lawsuit.
Domestication of a Foreign Judgment Attorneys
Collecting a money judgment can be made even more difficult if the only assets and/or property the judgment debtor has is located in a different state than where the judgment was obtained. If you are a judgment creditor with a money judgment against a Connecticut resident or business, then it may be necessary to hire a Connecticut attorney to enforce the judgment. The process by which a foreign judgment (a judgment obtained outside the State of Connecticut) is made enforceable on a Connecticut resident is called domestication, and it is governed by Chapter 928 of the Connecticut General Statutes: Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments.
This law governs the procedures a judgment creditor must follow in order to enforce a judgment obtained in another state against a Connecticut business or resident. While most states have similar laws in place, some states, like Connecticut, have made it more difficult to domesticate and enforce foreign judgments. Connecticut, for example, will not domesticate a foreign judgment under this law if the judgment was obtained when the judgment debtor failed to appear or because of what is known as a confession of judgment. Your foreign judgment attorney may be able to advise you as to whether your out of state judgment is enforceable in Connecticut and, if not, whether some other cause of action on the judgment is appropriate.
Contingency Fee Attorneys Collecting Judgments
At Aeton Law Partners, in addition to representing companies and individuals in business and civil litigation, we represent parties who have already obtained judgment and are now attempting to collect or enforce the judgment. We do not handle collections of small judgments. However, we handle select judgment enforcement matters on a contingency fee basis. We also will represent clients at either our standard hourly rates or on a hybrid fee basis (a combination of a smaller contingency fee and a reduced hourly rate). Please contact Aeton Law Partners at 860.724.2160 with any questions on enforcing a judgment in Connecticut.