How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Chris T., JD Your Own Question
Chris T., JD
Chris T., JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4779
Experience:  Experienced in both state and federal court.
45002201
Type Your Legal Question Here...
Chris T., JD is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Backstory: a lien was placed on our property by a

Customer Question

Backstory: a lien was placed on our property by a subcontractor who was never paid by the contractor. We have paid off the subcontractor and the lien will soon be removed from our property.Now, how do we deal with the contractor? We've already taken him to small claims court and have been awarded $6000 principal with $150 interest on October 8th. The contractor has not paid. We have taken him to court again on the Order For Appearance and Examination where he claimed to own no property and have no assets of any worth. He requested to pay the judgment in monthly installments and has not done so at all. The first payment was to have occurred Feb 10th, 2016. What are our options to make him pay? I have checked out the house where he lives and he does not own it. I believe he rents office space, but I'm not sure about that. He does drive a van, but claimed he didn't own it. I'm not sure if he owns a vehicle. WHen we took him to court for examination, the judge was not present. So, even though the judgement debtor might have lied under oath, I have no way to prove it. I don't know the law and what our options are to make him pay.Thanks.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Chris T., JD replied 9 months ago.

Hello. I'll be happy to assist you.

If he doesn't seem to have any hard assets, such as a home or vehicle you can lien, you can get an order to garnish his wages. Of course, if he owns his own business, he'd be the one responsible for reporting his wages to you, and then taking out the necessary amount. If he didn't comply with the court order, however, he could be held in contempt of court, which can entail jail time.

Expert:  Chris T., JD replied 9 months ago.

All that said, some people or businesses are essentially judgement-proof if they don't have any assets or other property you can lien.

Another thing to look at is whether he has any business assets, such as equipment, that you can lien. You can also consider bank levies.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
How do I go about finding out about bank accounts? For instance, we paid him with 4 checks over the course of the project. I've already spoken with my bank and 2 checks went into one account, 2 checks into another. I have a feeling they did not go into his personal bank account, or even his companies, but possibly his associates or even friend. He claimed to have no bank accounts. So, I have two routing numbers, but not actual accounts. How to I retrieve that? Do i need to subpoena the bank? And what if it's his associates bank accounts? We sued him on the basis of him alone doing business as "A&E Rooter." If the checks went into personal accounts, can we put a lien on those? Or does it have to be his personal account? As for assets, how do we discover if he owns them or not? If he lied under oath, how do we find out? Can we put a lien on state or federal tax returns? Anything like that? What are our options?
Expert:  Chris T., JD replied 9 months ago.

Yes, you will need to subpoena the bank or get a court order to force him to turn over those bank records. If the funds went into an account not belonging to him, it really makes it complicated. You could argue that he's not using an account owned by him just to frustrate efforts to collect, and that a judge should allow you to levy whatever account it went into. However, if money did go into an account not belonging to him, it must have come out at some point and gone into an account belonging to him. If it was a business account, then you can definitely levy it. If it is a personal account, then you can argue that he's "pierced the corporate veil" by using a personal account as a business account, and then you can simply treat it as a business account.

Expert:  Chris T., JD replied 9 months ago.

As far as finding his assets, that can be somewhat difficult, but a good place to start is by doing a UCC search (if you are unsure how to do one, just Google "how to conduct UCC search in [your state]. Usually the secretary of state will publish fairly explicit instructions).

Expert:  Chris T., JD replied 9 months ago.

Do you have any questions? If so, feel free to ask. If not, please remember to "Rate" my answer before you go.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Since the lawsuit is over, but we haven't been paid yet, are we still able to subpoena a bank for information?
Expert:  Chris T., JD replied 9 months ago.

Yes. It can be part of an examining trial (even if you have to re-open the one you previously did).

Expert:  Chris T., JD replied 9 months ago.

Do you have any questions? If so, feel free to ask. If not, please remember to "rate" my answer before you go.