Have you ever sued in small claims court or district court and obtained a judgment? If a judge enters a judgment in your favor, what do you do next? How do you enforce a judgment and how long can you enforce it? What if the judgment is against you or your company?

A judgment from a Minnesota state court can be enforced for up to 10 years after the Court’s entry. Interest will be added to the amount of your judgment starting on the date the judgment was entered and is calculated automatically by the court. So, how do you “enforce” a judgment?

One way to enforce a judgment is to “levy” the debtor’s bank account.  In order to levy a party’s bank account, you will need to take the following steps:

(1): “Docket” the judgment, which means filing an Affidavit of Identification of Judgment Debtor with the court notifying the court of the debtor’s name, business, occupation, residence, and mailing address;

(2): File a Request for Order for Disclosure with the court – the court will send the debtor a Financial Disclosure Form to complete providing the party’s financial information (i.e., income, finances, assets, and bank account information), which will be mailed to you – if you know where the party is employed and their bank account information you can skip to the next step;

(3): Request a Writ of Execution (valid for 180 days) from the court administrator, which will direct the sheriff to levy the debtors bank account;

(4) Take the Writ of Execution to the sheriff’s office, so the sheriff can serve the party; and

(5) File an Affidavit of Increased Costs with the court to request reimbursement of certain court and sheriff fees related to enforcement of the judgment.

Another way to enforce a judgment is to garnish the debtor’s wages. You will follow the same procedure above, but you are also required to send the debtor written notice (Execution Exemption Notice and Notice of Intent to Levy on Earnings), which must be hand-delivered to the debtor at least 10 days or mailed at least 13 days before a Writ of Execution can be served by the sheriff.

If you receive a Financial Disclosure form, you have 16 days to fill out the form and mail it to the requesting party. If you fail to do so, you may be required to attend a hearing and explain why you did not complete the form.  If you do not attend the hearing, a judge may issue a warrant for your arrest. Once a judgment is paid in full or to a creditor’s satisfaction, make sure to let the court know that the judgment has been paid by filing a Satisfaction of Judgment.

We would be happy to discuss the various ways to enforce your judgment, discuss strategies when judgment has been entered against you or your company or discuss any other issues that may impact your business.