You have been successful in going to court, either small claims or regular superior court depending on the size of your claim, and now it is time to collect your judgment against the business you sued, which is now the judgment debtor.
When collecting a judgment against another business, here are 3 things you need to know:
If a small claims judgment, wait 30 days after the judgment is entered or mailed. The law allows the defendant to file an appeal within 30 days. If there was a default judgment, the defendant has 180 days to file a motion to vacate. If the motion is granted, there is another hearing and if you prevail, you have to wait another 30 days. If your judgment was in civil court, or regular superior court, there is no waiting period unless the defendant has filed for an appeal.
Do not harass the debtor. Although you can continue to contact the debtor even if he or she tells you not to, you cannot call if the debtor has an attorney but you can contact the debtor’s attorney. Also it is illegal to threaten the debtor, use obscene language, use deception such as claiming to an attorney or police officer, forge legal documents, or claim to be from a collection agency. Any of these activities could be a violation of federal law.
Be sure the business name is correct and is correctly spelled or you will not be able to collect on your judgment. You can find the correct name by researching public records or by going to the Secretary of State’s website.
If the name is incorrect, you can file ask the court clerk for its local form to use in requesting an amendment. You will have to appear at another hearing. The court will not allow the amendment if the name is totally different or you are trying to add another defendant.
Collection of a debt is nearly always the most difficult part of a lawsuit. Consider retaining a collection attorney to handle your case for you to ensure the judgment is validly obtained and adequate collection measures are taken to satisfy the judgment for you.