Enforcement of Judgement - Legal Remedies

What Are Legal Remedies and How Does One Enforce Them?

Every lawsuit has an intended goal; something which one seeks to recover by the lawsuit. This can be money, the performance of an obligation, a determination of rights, or other purposes. These are called legal remedies.

Once a judgment is entered against one party, the other party must usually take steps to enforce the judgment. This can be through seizure of property, garnishment of wages, enlisting the assistance of law enforcement to force someone's compliance, or any number of other methods.

Selection of Remedies

In most cases, the remedies available are limited by the nature of the case. For example, one injured in a car accident is likely only to be able to recover monetary damages for their injuries and property damage, as there is no way to prevent the accident from ever occurring through an injunction. In some cases, however, it is possible to select one remedy or another. For example, in some product cases it may be possible to obtain either the value of the product or the value of the resulting injury (although the economic loss rule may apply in some instances). In these instances, one may select the most appropriate remedy or sue for both and ask the finder of fact to make the determination.

Enforcement of Judgments

Once a final ruling has been made, one must enforce it. This can almost be like another case in and of itself. Enforcement may require discovery in aid of execution, proceedings to garnish wages and bank accounts, to levy on assets, and other proceedings. Often, assets may be located in more than one jurisdiction, requiring one to engage in domestication of judgments in these other jurisdictions. In some cases, defendants may even seek to avoid the judgment by declaring bankruptcy.

In other cases, where one obtains a non-monetary judgment, other proceedings may be required. These might include hearings to enforce injunctions, contempt proceedings, or others.

Determining appropriate remedies and enforcing judgments can be a very complicated and ever changing body of law. For more information, please review the materials below. However, if you have a question about these matters, you should contact a local attorney to assist you. You can find a list of attorneys in your area by visiting our Law Firms page.

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