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  • Won judgement against two defendents, one left town, what to do?

    In a small claims civil suit, I was awarded a sum of money against 2
    defendents for wrongful possession of property (they wouldn't give me
    back my stuff and it caused damages). I will refer to the codefendents
    as "primary" and "secondary". The primary was the one who actually
    held my property and wouldn't give it back when asked. The secondary's
    role was that he supported that at the time of denial knowing the full
    situation and benefited from the use of my property along with the
    primary.

    Here's the problem. The primary defendent can be located and so
    garmishment can be administered. But the secondary defendent cannot be
    located any more.

    1. Can the plaintiff decide what proportion of the award is due from
    each defendent? If so, do guidelines exist? In the judgement record,
    the names of the defendents appear along with the judgement amount,
    pre and post interest, costs, prep fees but not about how much is owed
    by each debtor. At first 50/50 intuitively seems what was implied but
    I wonder if that is the rule or merely the rule of thumb. The idea
    here is that the primary defendent, who is more responsible anyways,
    pay the majority while a significantly smaller claimed on the
    secondary, who cannot be located any more, can be written off.

    2. If one files a motion, have judges been known to allow one to drop
    the suit against a codefendents? The idea here is to have the primary,
    the one I can locate, pay the entire award.

    Any opinions will be appreciated.

  • #2
    Won judgement against two defendents, one left town, what to do?

    "Richard Lee" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    In a small claims civil suit, I was awarded a sum of money against 2 defendents for wrongful possession of property (they wouldn't give
    me
    back my stuff and it caused damages). I will refer to the
    codefendents
    as "primary" and "secondary". The primary was the one who actually held my property and wouldn't give it back when asked. The
    secondary's
    role was that he supported that at the time of denial knowing the
    full
    situation and benefited from the use of my property along with the primary. Here's the problem. The primary defendent can be located and so garmishment can be administered. But the secondary defendent cannot
    be
    located any more. 1. Can the plaintiff decide what proportion of the award is due from each defendent? If so, do guidelines exist? In the judgement record, the names of the defendents appear along with the judgement amount, pre and post interest, costs, prep fees but not about how much is
    owed
    by each debtor. At first 50/50 intuitively seems what was implied
    but
    I wonder if that is the rule or merely the rule of thumb. The idea here is that the primary defendent, who is more responsible anyways, pay the majority while a significantly smaller claimed on the secondary, who cannot be located any more, can be written off. 2. If one files a motion, have judges been known to allow one to
    drop
    the suit against a codefendents? The idea here is to have the
    primary,
    the one I can locate, pay the entire award.
    Wish granted. Each defendant owes the entire judgment, unless the
    judgment itself says otherwise. First, wait until the appeal period
    has passed. Then attach or garnish or somehow execute the entire
    judgment against the defendant you can find. Add all interest that's
    allowed and add the fee you will have to pay the sheriff to garnish.
    Don't worry about who should owe what share. They can settle that
    between them. The one that pays off may have a right to sue the other
    for contribution. That's not your concern. After you have collected
    in full, you will no longer have the right to execute the judgment
    against anyone.

    McGyver


    Comment


    • #3
      Won judgement against two defendents, one left town, what to do?

      Richard Lee wrote:
      In a small claims civil suit, I was awarded a sum of money against 2 defendents for wrongful possession of property (they wouldn't give me
      I don't know what state you're in so it would
      be hard to say. You maybe could ask the judge
      for a "hearing in aid of execution" and then go
      from there. If you are granted a hearing, there
      will be a process for informing the defendant(s)
      that there is/are hearing(s). People called
      "process servers" usually do this, but your
      state might have a simplified procedure for
      small claims (again I wouldn't know since your
      state is still a mystery).

      Process serving can be interesting since you
      just can't have a hearing before the people
      involved are informed of it. So people
      will sometimes go to great lengths to avoid
      "being served". This has produced many
      amusing stories about people trying to
      avoid "service" and the process servers who
      are trying to serve them.

      I am not a lawyer. I do not even see email sent to this address, due to
      past DOS attacks. If you wish to respond, do so through this newsgroup.


      Comment


      • #4
        Won judgement against two defendents, one left town, what to do?

        On Wed, 23 Jun 2004 11:15:39 GMT, Richard Lee wrote:
        In a small claims civil suit, I was awarded a sum of money against 2 defendents for wrongful possession of property (they wouldn't give me back my stuff and it caused damages). I will refer to the codefendents as "primary" and "secondary". <snip>
        The primary defendent can be located and so garmishment can be administered. But the secondary defendent cannot be located any more. 1. Can the plaintiff decide what proportion of the award is due from each defendent?
        No. The effect of the judgment is to make 100% immediately due
        in full from the primary defendant -and- 100% immediately due
        in full from the secondary defendant.

        You are free to collect as much or as little as you want from
        the primary defendant and as much or as little as you want
        from the secondary defendant, so long as you don't actually
        collect more than 100% from both defendants combined.
        If so, do guidelines exist? In the judgement record, the names of the defendents appear along with the judgement amount, pre and post interest, costs, prep fees but not about how much is owed by each debtor. At first 50/50 intuitively seems what was implied but I wonder if that is the rule or merely the rule of thumb. The idea here is that the primary defendent, who is more responsible anyways, pay the majority while a significantly smaller claimed on the secondary, who cannot be located any more, can be written off.

        2. If one files a motion, have judges been known to allow one to drop the suit against a codefendents?
        You don't "drop the suit" -after- having recovered a judgment.
        All that is left then to drop is collection proceedings, and
        you are free to drop collection proceedings against either
        or both defendants at any time.
        The idea here is to have the primary, the one I can locate, pay the entire award.
        Fine, but all you need to do to accomplish that is to
        pursue the "primary" and not pursue the "secondary."
        No need to drop anything except aggressive efforts
        to collect from the secondary.


        Comment


        • #5
          Won judgement against two defendents, one left town, what to do?

          >Fine, but all you need to do to accomplish that is to
          pursue the "primary" and not pursue the "secondary."No need to drop anything except aggressive effortsto collect from the secondary.
          Yeah, okay. I understand now. Thanks everyone who added their insight.

          Comment

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