Enforcement of Judgments on Out of State Debtors Made Easy: When the Debtor Comes to You

Four years ago, we talked about domestication of judgments. Long story short, a judgment awarded in Tennessee can only reach a debtor’s assets located inside the State of Tennessee. So, if you have a judgment against somebody who lives in Texas, you may have to file a second lawsuit in Texas to attach his assets.

But maybe not.

I mean, sure, if he owns land in Texas,  owns a car that’s registered in Texas, or has a million dollars in cash under his Texas bed, then your Tennessee judgment is not going to be effective to execute on those assets. To get those, you need to go through the domestication process, which results in your out of state judgment being recognized by that foreign state as a valid judgment for enforcement in that state.

But, here’s a trick: What if the debtor has all his assets in that foreign state, but he banks at a large bank with offices all over the country? And what if that bank has a branch in Tennessee? The answer is that you can levy on that bank account.

So, debtors with accounts at Wells Fargo and Bank of America, watch out.

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