In 2012 I obtained judgment against a debtor for failing to file Defence.
In late 2013, we confirmed employment with a simple call to the Employer after obtaining an updated Equifax Report. We issued a Notice of Garnishment, thinking enforcement would be easy. Not so fast!
There was a Federal Garnishment issued against our debtor, whether it be a tax or child support order, we did not know. All we knew was it took priority over every other Garnishment against the debtor.
We were told by the employer that the amount of the Garnishment was six figures!
When served with a Notice of Garnishment, an Employer is obligated to deduct 20% of the net wages of a debtor and submit them to the Court. If there are multiple Garnishments, only 20% is still garnished, and that 20% is divided amongst the parties who have issued Garnishments and or Writs of Seizure and Sale of Lands against the debtor.
With this Federal Garnishment, the full 20% was going to whomever issued the Garnishment, while we sat on the background waiting. And waiting.
Writs of Seizure and Sale of Lands and Notice of Garnishments expire after six years. If you are our client, you would know because we advise you of the date they expire and give you the option to renew them.
Late last year, this file with zero collected from 2013 came up for review to get instructions to renew the Notice of Garnishment and Writ of Seizure and Sale of Lands.
I made a phone call, and confirmed they’re employed at the Garnishee (the employer). I also confirmed that that pesky Federal Garnishment was still being paid, but we renewed the Notice of Garnishment and Writ of Seizure and Sale of Lands anyway. You never know, right?
Well, our patience and the renewal paid off.
It appears that that the Federal Garnishment is paid and our client after almost a decade of waiting is get paid! The amounts that have been coming in suggest that this judgment will be paid off sooner than later!
The cost to renew a Garnishment or Writ in Small Claims Court is nominal, and unless the debtor is no longer employed with the employer, failing renewing a Writ and/or Garnishment will only hurt you in the end if you find out that you could get paid and you didn’t follow through with that garnishment.
Also, when you issue a Writ of Seizure and Sale of Lands against a Debtor, that allows you to get paid if someone else successfully enforces their judgment – you get a piece of that!
So unless the Debtor is bankrupt, deceased or fled the country, there really is no reason not to renew your enforcements against them, because you just never know when a cheque shows up in the mail from the Sheriff.
Murray Brown, Licensed Paralegal