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I lent $ to someone who is now threatening bankruptcy. Can I take him to small claims court or is that a waste of time and my $?

Lebanon, OR |

The $ came from a HELOC which we've now paid off. He still owes over $5,000. I don't think I can get a lien on his house but I'd like to be able to collect SOMETHING from him. Thanks.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Best answer

    Like most things in life, there are no guarantees. Yes, you can sue him and, if it is for less than $10,000, you can do so in small claims court. If you win the $5,000 and transcribe the small claims judgment to the circuit court docket (just paperwork and a small fee to the court), it can become a lien on any real property owned by the judgment debtor in that same County. If he owns real property in a different County, or even in a different State, you can get a lien on it as well if you jump through the various necessary hoops. Anywhere along the way he can file for bankruptcy which could, depending upon the exact facts and type of bankruptcy he files, partly or wholly eliminate his debt to you. $5,000 by itself is not enough to usually justify filing bankruptcy (though certainly legal to do) but if it is just the tip of the iceberg and he owes considerably more in total to all of his creditors, then it might make sense for him to file a bankruptcy. In the end, you pay your money up front and take your chances on the bankruptcy or you do nothing and are likely guaranteed to not collect a penny. Good luck.

    Nothing contained herein should be considered as legal advice for any specific situation and nothing herein is intended to create a lawyer-client relationship. Every case is very "fact-specific" and persons wishing legal advice on a specific matter should contact me or another attorney for an appointment to review their particular circumstances and to create a lawyer-client relationship. Gregory L. Abbott, Attorney at Law, 6635 North Baltimore, Suite 254, Portland, Oregon 97203. Tel: 503-283-4568; Fax: 503-283-4586; Email: gregabbott@comcast.net. Specializing in Consumer and Small Business Law.


  2. A judgment can usually be recorded as a judgment lien against real property. It is unlikely that someone would file for bankruptcy over $5,000.

    The legal analysis of any situation depends on a variety of factors which cannot be properly represented or accounted for in a response to an on-line question. Any answer, discussion or information is intended as general information only, is not intended to serve as legal advice or as a substitute for legal counsel, and should not be relied upon in making any decision. If you have a question about a specific factual situation, you should contact an attorney directly.


  3. Many debtors threaten BK: some do, some don't. You should pursue your claim.