Steps Needed to Collect on a Civil Judgment in Louisiana
This guide outlines steps available to successfully collect money AFTER obtaining a civil judgment against a defendant/debtor in Louisiana.
Record the JudgmentRecord the judgment in any parish in which defendant(s) (debtor(s)) owns or may own immovable property.
File motion for judgment debtor examination and obtain personal serviceReason for personal service: if defendant does not show up to the hearing on judgment debtor examination, then you may request a bench warrant and writ of attachment in accordance with La CCP art 2456 for contempt for failure to appear.
If there is no personal service, but domiciliary service instead, you can still request the warrant but it may be denied. In this instance, I have filed a motion for contempt and had that set for hearing, then once defendant failed to appear at hearing on motion for contempt, I was granted a bench warrant. I filed the motion for contempt in that matter because I knew the defendant had assets; and also knew that if I continued to push then we would eventually recover, which we did.
File petition for garnishment under writ of fifaFile petition for garnishment under writ of fifa; writ of fifa (to sheriff); order; garnishment interrogatories to garnishee (employer/bank). These can be served on either a bank or employer. The bank’s garnishment is a one-time shot. The employer’s garnishment for wages is continuing. The Judgment Debtor ("JD") examination will allow you the opportunity to question the defendant under oath re: employment and bank accounts etc.
If the garnishee does not timely provide answers, you may file a motion for judgment against garnishGenerally the garnishee will answer because a a garnishee can be held liable for the entire judgment should the garnishee not provide timely responses and cooperate. I have also had a case wherein the garnishee did not answer timely. I obtained a judgment pro confesso and was able to settle the case promptly once the judgment was entered against the employer/garnishee.