Is there a way to find out someone's assets?

Asked over 1 year ago - Cleveland, OH

I am in the process of filing a suit for damages, including pain and suffering, lawyers fees, emotional distress and lost wages. I have been told that I need to show that the person has the resources to pay a judgement. I do know that this person is a partner to her family's restaurant. How would I go about finding out information on her assets, etc?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Thomas Redick Houlihan

    Contributor Level 5

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    Answered . In Ohio, you can't get information of that sort from a defendant using the court process before a judgment is entered. However, as one previous answer suggested, sometimes answers to discovery about the circumstances of the lawsuit will reveal leads to assets.

    Once a judgment is entered, as another commenter noted, you will have some court-provided processes for discovering the debtor's assets, such as a "debtor's exam," where the debtor is forced, under oath to answer questions about their assets.

    Using tools other than the court process typically provides an incomplete picture of assets. Generally speaking, it is much more difficult to find out information about assets held in banks in 2012 than it was a few years ago, due to the passage of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which placed some limitations on the ability of private investigators to access bank information. Be skeptical of services that can promise you bank balances.

    Aside from hiring a PI, the easiest asset search that you can do on your own is to search the land records for Cuyahoga and surrounding counties for real estate owned by the potential defendant. Check the websites for the County Auditor or Fiscal Officer, and look for a real estate search.

  2. Brandy Ann Peeples

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

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    Answered . There are many companies/organizations who perform asset searches for a fee. Many private investigators also perform these types of searches.

    DISCLAIMER: Brandy A. Peeples is licensed to practice law in the State of Maryland. This answer is being provided... more
  3. Dave Bahr

    Contributor Level 16

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    Answered . In addition to private firms that will do asset searches for a fee, once a party is involved in litigation, it is subject to discovery which may reveal such information. Additionally, at the conclusion of the litigation, if a money judgment is issued, the prevailing party may ask for a debtor's exam or other court ordered discovery that it geared to locating assets. If you have a lawyer, the lawyer should be aware of these options.

    I have been licensed to practice in the State of Oregon since 1990. I am not offering legal advice regarding your... more
  4. Robert V Cornish Jr.

    Contributor Level 16

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    Answered . Hire a good private investigator. But be prepared to spend at least $1000 - $2000 for a good asset search.

    The foregoing is not legal advice nor is it in any manner whatsoever meant to create or impute an attorney/client... more

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