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Ellen, Attorney
Category: Business Law
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Experience:  25 years of experience helping people like you.
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I have a payroll/garnishment question. I was told by a ...

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I have a payroll/garnishment question. I was told by a lawyer that MN has what is called 'Prejudgement Law' it was explained to me that it means a garnishment can be set up and deductions taken without a judges signature on the document. Is this true? and what exactly is this prejudgement law in laymens terms?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Ellen replied 8 years ago.

Thank you for selecting me to assist you.

Generally speaking, Minnesota Statutes authorizes garnishment prior to judgment if either:
1. a debtor is attempting to defraud his creditors by disposing of nonexempt assets, or
2. a judgment by defaul could be entered

I will explain each option in more detail:

Situation 1:
Under Minnesota Statutes Section 571.71(1), the Court on motion of the creditor's attorney can issue a garnishment summons if there is proof of service of the Summons and Complaint and if any of the grounds that are found in Minnesota Statutes Section 571.93 appear to exist. Under that section, a creditor's attorney can move for an expedited garnishment summons if there is evidence that the debtor is attempting to defraud his creditors by disposing of nonexempt assets. Under this section, a creditor's attorney will need to provide evidence regarding the debtor's actions before a Court will issue the Garnishment Summons.

Situation 2:
Pre-Judgment garnishment can also be used under Minnesota Statutes Section 571.71(2). Under this section, proper service of the Summons and Complaint and proof of service thereof will be required. In addition, forty (40) days will need to have passed from the date of service without any answer received to the same. If both of these conditions exist, a creditor's attorney (or the sheriff) has the ability to garnish wages due without having entered judgment in the underlying action. The important part to remember is that if a judgment by default cannot be issued in the underlying action, a pre-judgment Garnishment Summons cannot be issued.

Best wishes for a successful outcome.

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The information provided is general in nature only and should not be construed as legal advice. By using this forum, you acknowledge that no attorney-client relationship has been created. You should always consult with a lawyer in your state


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