Orange County Small Claims Court Help
Most people think small claims court is easy and low-cost (and it is when compared with civil court). Nonetheless, small claims court is not as simple and economical as it could be when you’re armed with the right information.
The major benefit of small claims court is that you do not need a legal representative, as attorneys are not allowed to represent anybody in small claims court. It also costs less to start a suit, the procedure is streamlined and your time in front of a judge or commissioner is generally just a few minutes.
To begin a small claims case, you pay the court a fee, and typically pay to have the debtor served. Parking is usually free as are the easy-to-complete forms. Occasionally you can complete the forms on your computer and bring them to court with you.
There are drawbacks to making use of a small claims court, like the restriction on performing pre-trial legal actions like discovery. There are also restrictions to the circumstances you can sue for and the amount of damages you can request.
A small claims judge may just determine monetary damages and in some cases, require that certain assets be returned to you. Additionally, if your small claims case is appealed by the debtor, the defendant can have legal representation in the appeals court.
If the debtor owes less than $300, you may forgo suing them, at least not for the reason of getting your money back. It costs cash to implement a judgment – and those costs are not always recoverable.
If the debtor owes less than the cash limit of the small claims court, small claims court is probably a good idea.
If the debtor owes less than twice the money limitation of the small claims court, you’re also better off using small claims court as civil court is far more expensive and that doesn’t even include lawyer fees.
Keep in mind small claims court is typically not available for foreclosures or when the amount the debtor owes is excessive. In situations like these, you will need to go to civil court.
If you decide small claims is the right court for you, here are a couple of tips:
- Serve the defendant by a registered process server for best and fastest results.
- Figure out exactly who you are suing before you sue them. Do they have other names or addresses they are using?
- Don’t start enforcement actions until the time restriction to appeal the judgment ends. Implementing a judgment too soon could remind the debtor to appeal the judgment.
- Figure out the debtor’s bankruptcy status. If you find the debtor has filed for bankruptcy protection, wait until you know the results before trying to apply the judgment.
Obviously, winning your judgment is just the start of trying to secure your money. Contact the debtor by mail with a formal letter. Be respectful and offer to deal with them on a payment plan or settlement. Settling may make sense as it saves you the costs, irritation, and delays of enforcement. Do not make any threats or harass the debtor in any way, as this will only hinder your progress.
If you have time and the perseverance, you can attempt to apply the judgment yourself. Your court’s website, the Internet, short articles and other resources can offer ideas. Keep in mind there will be costs each step of the way. To avoid the expense and headache, find a judgment enforcer to recover your judgment.
If you want to impose it yourself, your best tools are discovery (to find the debtor’s possessions), and wage garnishment or bank levies.
To find the debtor’s possessions, you can pay the court and a process server to subpoena the debtor to appear in court and furnish the files you request. Private investigators, public records, social networks and property records are all good places to find useful information.
Before you are able to levy a debtor’s assets, you have to know exact information. For example, what specific bank and branch the debtor uses, who their employer is and where they are located.
To levy the debtor’s possessions, pay for a Writ from the court, the pay the Sheriff or a process server to serve the debtor’s bank or employer. If your efforts to enforce your judgment fail, think about hiring a judgment enforcer. No judgment enforcer can assure they can recover cash from a debtor, but they are only paid for their successful recovery of funds.
If you do collect enough cash from the debtor to pay what is owed, make sure to submit a Fulfillment Of Judgment with the court to close your claim.
If you’d like help serving your small claims paperwork, give JPL Process Service a call at (866) 754-0520. We can have your papers served in a couple of days compared to weeks or months with the Sheriff, and have proof of service in your hand within 24 hours of completion.
Get Your Orange County Bank Levy Served Right
What can you do if you know where a judgment debtor banks, pay a Sheriff to levy their checking account, and you receive a notice from the bank that says “no funds” or “account closed”?
Orange County bank levies can be expensive, with the combined cost of locating the bank account and paying the court, the Sheriff and a process server.
Getting a “no funds” or “account closed” letter can be discouraging.
Typically, there are six reasons for this outcome, in order of probability:
- The judgment debtor is poor and/or closed their account
- The Sheriff, you or another person made a mistake or a typographical error that caused the levy to fail
- Either you or your source information was wrong and the judgment debtor never had a checking account at that bank or branch
- The debtor makes use of an AKA, or is only a signer on the account and has no ownership of the money
- The bank made a mistake
- The bank is lying or protecting the judgment debtor
The most typical reasons are the judgment debtor either never had an account, closed their account, is only a signer on the account, or uses an AKA name. When your judgment debtor is poor, bank levy outcomes will rarely cover the cash you invested.
At judgment debtor examinations, when you ask judgment debtors where they bank, they may lie about amounts and locations of accounts. Even when you know for sure where a judgment debtor banks, some judgment debtors alter savings accounts to avoid having their funds seized. There are state laws that protect private banking information, including those of judgment debtor’s.
So, there are really only a few techniques to help you complete your Orange County bank levy successfully. Many banks have records that are not current, especially with poor or creative judgment debtors. If the judgment debtor makes use of an AKA, you should obtain an affidavit of identification approved by the court, with evidence that connects the judgment debtor with the names they actively make use of.
When the judgement debtor owns a DBA business, to get an affidavit of identity authorized by the court, you will require a notarized copy of their fictitious name statement.
Occasionally, “no funds” implies the judgment debtor is just a signer on the savings account, indicating the judgment debtor is just connected to the account and has no ownership of the money that could potentially be levied. Some individuals open savings account for their children under The Uniform Transfers to Minors Act to keep funds out of the hands of creditors, due to the fact that they do not own the account.
If you are confident you know the right bank for the judgment debtor and how much cash was in the account at the time of the levy, you may subpoena and serve a judgment debtor for an examination at the court. A subpoenaed request for the production of papers is known in court as a Subpoena Duces Tecum. When served on banks, these forms should be worded to include any and all accounts connected with the judgment debtor. You can subpoena a request for the production of papers, from both the judgment debtor and their bank as a third-party. You should hire a Sheriff or registered process server to serve your documents securely and establish an official paper trail.
One objective can be to get both the bank and the judgment debtor in court at the same time to answer questions and produce papers to make it difficult for either party to lie. Ask for a year’s worth of records and luck may turn up evidence of an account that “did not exist”.
In California, if the debtor is an individual, you’ll need to first serve them a “notice to levy”. If the judgment debtor does not arrive in court, you could keep trying to recover the judgment on your own. If the bank does not show up, California law enables you to sue them in court.
If you can show the bank had funds in the name of the judgment debtor at the time your levy was served, you could begin by composing a letter to the bank, politely demanding the balance in the account on the levy date, up to the amount needed to satisfy the judgment. Include evidence the checking account existed, the Sheriff’s documents, and the bank’s memorandum of garnishee, that shows their previous declaration of “no accounts”.
Some banks pay after getting a request letter, while other banks will wait until they are sued. Many times, the bank or lending institution will settle a claim before ever going to trial.
If you need your Orange County bank levy served, give JPL Process Service a call at (866) 754-0520. We can get it done in days, not weeks or months, and have proof of service to you quick so you can get back to life.
California Bank Levy Laws That May Affect Your Judgment Collection
This article points out some judgment-related rules and laws in California. California’s judgment-related laws are most often within the California Code of Civil Procedures, abbreviated as CCPs. In time statutes change, so please validate all laws prior to doing something about it. This is not legal assistance and we are not attorneys, but we could help you protect your judgment collection.
California Judgment Collection Laws
California CCP 685.020: The rate that California judgments accumulate interest: A: Interest accumulates at the rate of 10 percent per year on the primary amount of a money judgment remaining. B: The Legislature reserves the right to change the rate of interest at any time to a rate of less than 10 percent annually, regardless of the date of entry of the judgment or the date any commitment upon which the judgment is based was sustained. A modification in the interest rate can be made relevant just to the interest that accumulates after the operative date of the statute that changes the rate.
California CCP 699.020: At any time after distribution of a writ of execution to a levying officer and prior to its return, an individual indebted to the judgment debtor is able to pay the levying official the amount of the debt or as much as is required to satisfy the judgment. The levying officer shall give a receipt for the quantity paid and such receipt is a release for the amount paid.
California CCP 699.080: Search on the internet for “CCP 699.080″ to see the complete text of this law, or any type of California laws mentioned in this article. This law describes how, after a debtor’s possessions are approved for levy by a Sheriff; a registered process server may serve a writ to levy all sorts of assets, consisting of uncommon scenarios such as removed mineral rights, and regular assets such as private property, realty, bank deposits and the like. This law also specifies waiting durations, how writ of executions are handled, and exactly how notices need to be sent out. Remarkably, in section 4-G, this statute states “A registered process server can levy several times nder the same writ of execution, as long as the writ is still official”. This seems to contradict most California levy situations where one just gets one opportunity, for instance, if a bank levy seizes the debtor’s assets just once, at the minute a levy is served on their bank.
California CCP 699.510: Search on the web for “CCP 699.510″ to see the full text of this statute. In recap, this statute states that writs have to be provided for the certain county where the judgment debtor’s assets are residing. In exceptionally rare situations, where writs of execution from numerous owners are requested from a court at the same time, for the same judgment debtor; writs of execution on household court judgments are offered a higher concern at the court clerk’s office. Writs of execution last for six months, unless made use of to actively levy salaries, in which case they generally last as long as either the debtor’s employment, or the judgment continues to be unsatisfied. Additionally pointed out, are information of writs of execution, affidavits of identity, and penalties for creditors that retain possessions taken from the wrong person.
California CCP 699.520: Use the web to look for “CCP 699.520″ to see the complete text of this statute. In recap, this statute specifies the info that actually needs to be consisted of on writs.
California CCP 699.520: (a) Upon service of the writ of execution to the levying official to whom the writ is directed, together with the written directions from the judgment creditor, the levying agent shall perform the writ in the way recommended by law. (b) The levying agent can not levy upon any home under the writ after the termination of 180 days from the date the writ was ordered.
California CCP 700.010: (a) At the time of levy or promptly thereafter, the levying officer shall serve a copy of the following on the judgment debtor: 1. The writ of execution. 2. A notice of levy. 3. If the judgment debtor is a naturalized person, a copy of the form of listing exemptions prepared by the Judicial Council pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 681.030 and the listing of exemption quantities released pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 703.150. 4. Any affidavit of identity, as defined in Section 680.135, for names of the debtor stated on the writ of execution. Service of process under this area shall be made in person or by mail.
California CCP 700.160: Use the web to search for “CCP 700.160″ to see the full text of this law. This law points out the time frame for banks to pay what is owed to the Sheriff, and covers scenarios where a safety-deposit box or bank account is levied in some name other then the debtor, and how fictitious name statements are taken care of. This law only covers cases involving unexpired fictitious business name statements, and does not deal with or mention the usual case of debtors running businesses using expired fictitious business names.
If you’d like to move forward with a judgment collection, we can help with:
- Writ of Executions
- Bank Levies
- Earning Withholdings Orders
- Wage Garnishments
- Child Support Orders
New California Assembly Bill 2364 requires your judgment order to be served to a centralized Bank of America location that we deliver to several times a day.
If you’d like your order delivered tomorrow, give JPL Process Service a call today at (866) 754-0520.
New California Bank Levy Law
With each New Year comes a bumper crop of new laws on the books, numerous of which you’ll never hear about. Our job as licensed Orange County process servers is to keep our customers abreast of any new laws which could influence them, their cases or their sensitive legal papers. The major law concerning our clients this year is California Assembly Bill 2364.
The law, which took effect January 1, 2013, regulates the service of particular legal procedures against deposit accounts, safe deposit boxes and individual homes held by big California monetary establishments. What does this mean for you?
It generally suggests if you require a bank levy, writ of execution, or some various other judgment collection served, it will have to be served to a centralized location marked by Bank of America with the California Department of Financial Institutions. Refraining from doing so will render your service invalid. If you do not live near the centralized Bank of America facility, the only way you can have your notice of levy served is through a certified process server or the regional Sheriff, but the sheriff’s office has major delays and is backed up for in some cases 3 months or even more.
If you attempt to deliver the records to the particular establishment that handles the account in question, your package will be neglected, and possibly even worse, expired. Now that Bank of America has designated its centralized location for the service of civil levies, savings account garnishments, attachments and various other legal procedure, you need to follow the proper protocol to guarantee your judgment collection moves forward and you start obtaining repayments.
For added details relating to the brand new California bank levy laws or if you require a bank levy executed in California, please give JPL Process Service a call at (866) 754-0520. We can provide you with the hours of operation for Bank of America’s centralized facility, give a price and delivery time quote and even answer your concerns to get you headed in the right direction.
Do not let your judgment collection lapse or get sent back to court, costing you extra time, money and energy. L.A. Sheriffs are a minimum of 2 months behind in delivering notices of levy and are hardly friendly about doing this. Our Orange County process servers are fast, friendly and make numerous trips to the centralized Bank of America facility every day.
Give us a call today and we’ll deliver yours, as well!
Wage Garnishment And Earnings Withholding Order Services
In many instances, specifically those involving child support, you may be owed money and need a way to collect. If the defendant is behind in payments or not making them completely, your best bet is to declare an earnings withholding order.
If the debtor has not paid the judgment debt when it is due, or made plans to pay it over time, California legislation gives the judgment financial institution the right to collect the money from the debtor’s income. This is called wage garnishment.
The federal government restricts the amount you may garnish from a debtor’s income to either 25% or 30 times the minimum wage for the work week, whichever is less. The general process for collecting a judgment from a debtor’s income is similar throughout California, yet there might be some differences from one county to another.
As an example, in numerous counties, the Sheriff is the most commonly-used levying official, while in others, a registered process server performs that task. Contact the Small Claims Advisor to find out which one you’ll need.
To begin collecting from the debtor’s earnings, you will need to take the following actions:.
The court clerk will stamp and copy each, then give the originals back to you.
Step 2. Make a minimum of 3 copies of each form and keep one set for your personal file.
Step 3. Find a Registered Process Server and supply them with:
- 2 sets of the kinds that have the court stamp on them, as well as.
- a check to cover the fee for garnishing the debtor’s incomes that the levying company in your county will certainly charge. (You will definitely need to talk to the proper levying company to discover the quantity of money it needs.).
If you can’t afford the fees, you could ask the court for a fee waiver. In this circumstance, instead of hiring a Registered Process Server, go to the office of the levying agency with all of your paperwork and your fee waiver.
The Registered Process Server will then open a file with the Sheriff’s Office or the appropriate levying official, which will include both the Writ of Execution and the Earnings Withholding Order. Contact the levying official ahead of time to find out exactly what other paperwork is required.
As soon as the process server files the documents with the levying official, they’ll serve the Earnings Withholding Order on the debtor’s employer. The process server then has 5 days to file the original Writ of Execution and Proof of Service with the levying workplace.
The levying office will secure the funds from the employer, and send the money to you. The garnishment remains in effect until you are completely paid or the debtor changes employers. In the event the employer doesn’t comply with the order, the employer is breaching the court order and you should ask the court to hold them in contempt.
As soon as the debt has actually been completely paid, you need to get stop the Wage Garnishment and finish the Writ of Execution. To do so, send a letter to the Sheriff asking them to stop the garnishment. Your letter should include:
- Case number
- Sheriff’s file number
- Name of the judgment debtor
- Name of the debtor’s employer
- Date when the garnishment is expected to end
If you’re ready to have an earnings withholding order served, call JPL Process Service at (866) 754-0520 and we’ll take care of it for you, often in as little as 24 hours.