Collecting a small claims settlement
June 26, 2005 3:18 PM   Subscribe

A relative recently won a settlement in small claims court for $3,000. However, he is having difficulty collecting the settlement. What resources are available to aid in collecting the settlement?
posted by cahlers to Law & Government (9 answers total)
The settlement was won in New York State in the US.
posted by cahlers at 3:54 PM on June 26, 2005

If the defendant is a business, the plaintiff may be able to go to the county sheriff and arrange a 'till tap' in which a deputy stands by at the place of business and collects all money coming into the business until the judgement is satisfied - plus fees for the deputy's time.

Otherwise, the plantiff can file a lien on the defendant's real property (if any - not sure if a car counts). My mom collected a judgement that way five years after the judgement was granted; the defendant wanted to sell his home and had to pay the judgement to close the deal - sweet!
posted by DandyRandy at 4:13 PM on June 26, 2005

Yup, let your county sheriff be your bagman. I paid a small fee to the sheriff's office, they paid an official visit to the defendant, he paid me shortly thereafter.
posted by TimeFactor at 6:51 PM on June 26, 2005

Cahlers, I found this article to be interesting. I love the idea of seizing someone's car or having their license to do business suspended. At the very least, you have a right to force the losing party to declare all of his or her assets under penalty of perjury. Obviously, deadbeats have no assets and shysters will lie, but you should do so nevertheless. (And no response might constitute contempt of court.)
posted by namret at 1:34 AM on June 27, 2005

I don't know about New York, but in California a collection agency will handle the matter when you provide proof of settlement.
posted by brujita at 5:18 AM on June 27, 2005

I'd avoid involving a collection agency if you can. They're going to take a piece of the action and if they are disreputable you can find yourself on the receiving end of a FDCPA suit as a co-defendant.

The courts have an informational page here:
posted by phearlez at 6:13 AM on June 27, 2005

phearlez, the link does not work...
posted by cahlers at 6:32 AM on June 27, 2005

um... if you copy and paste phearlez's link into your url bar, it does work.
or click here.
posted by raedyn at 7:14 AM on June 27, 2005

sorry, for some reason the link didn't work in Safari, but I found the page.

Thanks for everyone's help!
posted by cahlers at 10:04 AM on June 27, 2005

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