Out-of-State Enforcement of Judgments in
New York: Let our
attorneys domesticate and enforce your sister-state
judgment in New York State.
tasks for our clients and other attorneys located outside of New York.
Why would one want to domesticate an out-of-state judgment in New York?Many reasons exist. Here are just some:
- To enforce the judgment in New York by finding and freezing the judgment debtor's money and assets that may be located in New York.
- If a third party located in New York owes the judgment debtor a debt one can try and freeze and take that money. An example of this would be if the judgment debtor sells a product to a third party located in Manhattan, New York (or really anywhere in New York State). That third party now owes the judgment debtor money. Therefore, we can freeze and take that money to satisfy the judgment. Another example, which our law firm actually handled, is where a judgment debtor won money on a TV game show. In this instance, an attorney at our firm served a restraining notice on the New York game-show company and secured a six-figure recovery of the entire judgment for our client.
- To place a lien on real estate that the judgment debtor has in his name in New York State. Doing so would stop the judgment debtor from selling his real estate without first paying the judgment (assuming the property had enough equity). To create the lien, however, one would need to know what county the real estate is located in so appropriate paperwork could be filed in the respective New York State county to create the lien. New York's property-recording system is a little bit antiquated because properly records are stored in each of the 62 counties located in New York State rather than in a central office in the capital like some other states have. Thus, one needs to file a transcript of judgment in any county where the judgment debtor may own real estate.
How is an out-of-state Judgment actually "domesticated" in New York?
If the out-of-state judgment was not obtained on default (meaning the other side actually appeared in the other lawsuit from which the judgment was issued), then the process is simple and quick. One files an "authenticated" copy of the out-of-state judgment and an affidavit from the judgment creditor stating information required by New York law. To make sure it is done correctly, an attorney should draft the affidavit and make the filing.
Once it's filed and a fee is paid, the county clerk enters the judgment making it enforceable the same way as a New York judgment.
On the other hand, if the judgment, in fact, was obtained by default, then the procedure is a little more complex and time consuming under New York State procedural law. Judgments obtained on default cannot merely be registered under the simple procedure described immediately above. Instead, a proceeding must be brought "on the judgment" where one moves brings an actual lawsuit (usually in the form of a motion for summary judgment in lieu of complaint, which is quicker and does not involve a trial). On such a lawsuit, the merits of the underlying judgment (i.e., the reasons the sister-state awarded
the judgment in the first place) cannot be disputed. Further, there are few defenses that the judgment debtor has to oppose it the lawsuit. Attorneys at our office are very experienced in bringing and defending these types of lawsuits.