State Garnishment Laws: Massachusetts, Michigan, and Minnesota

Here you will find judgment laws and rules which apply for the area of garnishments in the states of Massachusetts, Michigan, and Minnesota.  Realize that codes, regulations, and court rules change from time to time.  You will want to check to confirm that these statutes are up to date as of the time you need to apply them. State garnishment laws will dictate how you must proceed with implementing a garnishmentGarnishments are a primary part of judgment law.

Massachusetts Procedural Requirements

Process to enforce a judgment for the payment of money shall be a writ of
execution, unless the court directs otherwise. The procedure on execution, in
proceedings on and in aid of execution shall be in accordance with applicable
Statuteutes. In aid of the judgment or execution, the judgment creditor may
obtain discovery from any person in the manner provided in the Massachusetts
Rules of Civil Procedure. Mass. R. Civil. P. 69.

Parties may obtain discovery by one or more of the following methods:
depositions upon oral examination or written questions, written interrogatories,
production of documents, physical and mental examinations, and requests for
admissions. Mass. R. Civil. P. 26. The Statuteutes provide for both attachment
and trustee process. These are traditionally prejudgment remedies to secure
satisfaction of the judgment which the plaintiff may recover. It is ambiguous
whether these procedures are also available to enforce a judgment.

Interest Rate at which Judgments Accrue Upon finding of
verdict for plaintiff for pecuniary damages for personal injuries, consequential
damages or damage to property, the clerk of court is required to add to damages
interest thereon at 12% per year from commencement of the action. Mass. Gen. L.
ch. 231, _6B.

In contract actions, the clerk is required to add to judgment for pecuniary
damages interest at the contract rate, if established, and otherwise at 12% per
year, from date of breach or demand, if established, and otherwise from
commencement of the action. Mass. Gen. L. ch. 231, _6C. Interest at 18% may be
awarded by court upon finding that defenses, setoffs or counterclaims of other
party were wholly insubstantial, frivolous and not in good faith. Mass. Gen. L.
ch. 231, _6F.

Judgment bears interest from day of entry thereof until payment. post
judgment interest is at rate provided for prejudgment interest. Mass. Gen. L.
ch. 235, _8. Applicable Forms Mass. R. Civil. P., Forms 2 & 2A.

Michigan Procedural Requirements

The clerk of the court that entered the judgment shall issue a writ of
garnishment if the plaintiff makes and files a Statuteement verified in the
manner provided in Rule 2.114(A) Statuting (1) that a judgment has been entered
against the defendant and remains unsatisfied, (2) the amount of the judgment
and the amount remaining unpaid, and (3) that the affiant knows or has good
reason to believe that a named person has control of property belonging to the
defendant, a named person is indebted to the defendant, or a named person is
obligated to make periodic payments to the defendant.

The writ of garnishment must have attached or must include a copy of the
verified Statuteement and must include information that will permit the
garnishee to identify the defendant, such as the defendant’s address, social
security number, employer number, or account number, if known. The writ shall
include the date on which it was issued and the last day by which it must be
served to be valid, which is 91 days after it was issued.

The writ shall direct the garnishee to: served a copy of the writ on the
defendant; within 14 days after the service of the writ, file with the court
clerk a verified disclosure indicating the garnishee’s liability to the
defendant and mail or deliver a copy to the plaintiff and the defendant; deliver
no tangible or intangible property to the defendant, unless allowed by Statute
or court rule; pay no obligation to the defendant, unless allowed by Statute or
court rule; and in the discretion of the court, order the garnishee either to
make all payments directly to the plaintiff or send the funds to the court in
the manner specified in the writ.

The writ shall direct the defendant to refrain from disposing of any
negotiable instrument representing a debt of the garnishee or any negotiable
interest of title representing property in which the defendant claims an
interest held in the possession or control of the garnishee. The writ shall
inform the defendant that unless the defendant files objections within 14 days
after the service of the writ on the defendant, without further notice the
property or debt held pursuant to the garnishment may be applied to the
satisfaction of the plaintiff’s judgment and periodic payments due to the
defendant may be withheld for as long as 91 days after the issuance of the writ
and in the discretion of the court paid directly to the plaintiff. Mich. Court
R. 3.101.

The plaintiff shall serve the writ of garnishment, a copy of the writ for the
defendant, the disclosure form, and any applicable fees, on the garnishee within
91 days after the date the writ was issued in the manner provided for the
service of a summons and complaint. The garnishee shall within 7 days after
being served with the writ deliver a copy of the writ to the defendant or mail a
copy to the defendant at the defendant’s last known address by first class mail.
Mich. Court R. 3.101.

Within 14 days after service of disclosure, the plaintiff may serve the
garnishee with written interrogatories or notice the deposition of the
garnishee. The discovery rules apply to garnishment proceedings. If the
garnishee is not indebted to the defendant, does not hold any property subject
to garnishment, and is not the defendant’s employer, the plaintiff is not
entitled to recover the costs of that garnishment. Mich. Court R. 3.101.

A pleading may be verified by oath or affirmation of the party or of someone
having knowledge of the facts pleaded or by including the following signed and
dated declaration: “I declare that the Statuteements above are true to the best
of my information, knowledge, and belief.” Every pleading of a party represented
by an attorney shall be signed by at least one attorney of record. A party who
is not represented by an attorney must sign the pleading. Mich. Court R. 2.114.

Interest Rate at which Judgments Accrue Judgments bear
interest from date of filing complaint at 6% until June 1, 1980 and 12%
thereafter, or if founded on written instrument, at rate therein provided, but
not exceeding 7% until June 1, 1980 and 13% thereafter.

For complaints filed on or after Jan. 1, 1987, interest accrues from date of
filing complaint at rate certified by Statutee treasurer semiannually as 1% plus
average rate on five year U.S. Treasury Notes. For claims filed on or after Oct.
1, 1986, interest shall not be allowed on “future damages” defined as personal
injury damages accruing after damage findings are made. Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. __
600.6013, 6301.

Minnesota Procedural Requirements

If a judgment has been docketed in district court for at least 30 days, and
the judgment is not satisfied, the district court in the county in which the
judgment originated shall, upon the request of the judgment creditor, order the
judgment debtor to mail by certified mail to the judgment creditor information
as to the nature, amount, identity, and locations of all of the debtor’s assets,
liabilities, and personal earnings. Minn. Statute. Ann. _ 550.011.

In aid of the judgment or execution, the judgment creditor may obtain
discovery from any person, including the judgment debtor, in the manner provided
by these rules. Minn. R. Civil. P. 69. After the issuing or return of an
execution against property of the judgment debtor, upon proof, by affidavit or
otherwise, to the satisfaction of the judge, that any person has property of the
judgment debtor, or is indebted to the judgment debtor in an amount exceeding
$10, the judge may require such person, or any officer thereof if a corporation,
upon such to any party as may seem proper, to appear and answer concerning the
same. Minn. Statute. Ann. _ 575.07. When a judgment requires the payment of
money, it may be enforced by execution. Minn. Statute. Ann. _ 550.02.

The sheriff may levy upon money or other indebtedness owed by a third party
to the judgment debtor. The sheriff may serve a copy of the writ of execution
through a registered or certified letter or by personal service to the third
party. If the levy is upon funds at a financial institution, the third party
shall be paid a $15 fee at the time of the service of the writ of execution. The
$15 shall not be paid where the funds being levied on are being retained
pursuant to a garnishment previously served in compliance with chapter 571. This
fee may be recovered by the judgment creditor as an allowable cost. The judgment
creditor shall provide the $15 fee to the sheriff to be paid to the third party.
If a third party is required to appear and submit to oral examination, the third
party shall be tendered, in advance of the examination, fees and mileage for
attendance at the rate allowed by law to a witness. These fees may be recovered
by the judgment creditor as an allowable disbursement. In extraordinary cases,
the third party may be allowed additional sums the court considers reasonable
for attorney fees and other necessary expenses. The court shall then determine
which party bears the burden of this expense. Minn. Statute. Ann. _ 550.135.

When the sheriff is levying upon funds at a financial institution, along with
the writ of execution and the exemption notice, the sheriff shall serve upon the
financial institution an execution disclosure form. If the levy is on funds of a
judgment debtor who is a natural person and if the funds to be levied are held
on deposit at any financial institution, the judgment creditor or its attorney
shall provide the sheriff with two copies of an exemption notice. The sheriff
shall serve both copies of the exemption notice on the financial institution,
along with the writ of execution. However, if the execution is on funds that
have previously been garnished, the judgment creditor is not required to serve
additional exemption notices. In that event, the execution levy shall only be
effective as to the funds that were subject to the prior garnishment. Upon
receipt of the writ of execution and exemption notices, the financial
institution shall retain as much of the amount due under the writ of execution
as the financial institution has on deposit owing the judgment debtor, but not
more than 110 percent of the amount remaining due on the judgment. Minn.
Statute. Ann. _ 550.143.

An attorney for a judgment creditor may also execute on a money judgment by
levying on an indebtedness owed to the judgment debtor by a third party. The
attorney for the judgment creditor must obtain a writ of execution before the
attorney can execute. No more than $5,000 may be recovered by a single execution
levy. Minn. Statute. Ann. _ 551.01. An attorney levying on funds at a financial
institution must follow the same procedures as a sheriff as outlined above. See
Minn. Statute. Ann. __ 551.04, .05.

However, when an attorney is levying on the funds, the financial institution
is not required to retain more than 100 percent of the amount remaining due on
the judgment, or $5,000, whichever is less. In addition to the above procedures,
a creditor may institute garnishment proceedings under chapter 571 (Minn.
Statute. Ann. _ 571.71, et seq.). at any time after entry of a money judgment in
a civil action.

Interest Rate at which Judgments Accrue When a judgment or
award is for the recovery of money, interest from the time of the verdict,
award, or report until judgment is finally entered shall be computed as simple
interest per annum. The rate of interest shall be based on the secondary market
yield of one year United Statutees treasury bills, calculated on a bank discount
basis. During each calendar year, interest shall accrue on the unpaid balance of
the judgment or award from the time that it is entered or made until paid, at
the annual rate discussed above. Minn. Statute. Ann. _ 549.09.

Note: Special rules apply to pre-verdict, pre-award, or pre-report interest
on pecuniary damages. See Minn. Statute. Ann. _ 549.09(1)(b). Applicable Forms
Sheriff’s Exemption Notice, Minn. Statute. Ann. _ 550.143(3) Execution
Disclosure Form, Minn. Statute. Ann. _ 550.143(2). Notice of Third Party Levy
and Disclosure Form, Minn. Statute. Ann. _ 551.04(4). Attorney’s Exemption
Notice, Minn. Statute. Ann. _ 551.05(1a).

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Good luck applying judgment laws in order to enforce your judgment!


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