Contributor: Lee Grossman
In commercial disputes, the purpose of filing a lawsuit is to obtain a favorable result, usually in the form of a money judgment. The Plaintiff claims the Defendant owes money to Plaintiff. The parties may have tried to work out their dispute before filing the lawsuit but they couldn’t agree on terms.
There are several ways for Plaintiff to obtain a judgment against Defendant. A judgment is a written determination by a court of law that one party owes money to another party. Judgments can be obtained by:
- A signed confession wherein Defendant agrees to pay the Plaintiff pursuant to North Dakota Rule of Civil Procedure (N.D.R.Civ.P.) 68(c)
- A default ruling when one party does not appear in the lawsuit pursuant to N.D.R.Civ.P. 55
- A motion for a ruling on the pleadings (complaint, answer, and counterclaim) pursuant to N.D.R.Civ.P. 12(c)
- A motion for summary judgment when the facts of a case are not in dispute pursuant to N.D.R.Civ.P. 56.
- A court order after a bench trial
- A court order after a verdict is entered by a jury
While obtaining a judgment may not be easy, the mere presence of a judgment does not guarantee the Plaintiff will get paid right away. If the Defendant is insolvent or simply refuses to pay, the Plaintiff doesn’t get its money until it takes further action. So what can the Plaintiff do?
A judgment allows the Plaintiff certain rights in the legal system, including:
- An automatic judicial lien on all non-homestead property of Defendant, including real estate, located in the county where the judgment is docketed. This means if the Plaintiff obtains a judgment in Cass County, the judgment lien will be recorded against all property of the Defendant in Cass County.
- The right to docket the judgment in other counties where Defendant holds the property. In order to record a judgment lien against property the Defendant holds in Barnes County, the judgment would have to be docketed in Barnes County.
- The right to garnish the Defendant’s assets, including Defendant’s wages and any payments the Defendant receives as a creditor for a third party.
- The right to utilize the sheriff of the county in which the judgment is docketed to levy on the Defendant’s personal property.
- The right to send written questions to Defendant and take the Defendant’s deposition, which must be answered under oath, to find out where Defendant is holding property, the description of the property, and the value of the property.
The attorneys at SW&L have knowledge and experience in helping businesses obtain favorable judgments and collect on those judgments. If your business needs help, contact one of our Business Law Team at 701-297-2890, or you can email us below.
The information contained in this article and on this website is for informational purposes only and not for the purposes of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.