Legal Procedures Available in Tennessee to Collect Judgments and Debts

Our Nashville commercial debt collection lawyers know how to use Tennessee law to collect commercial debts from debtors located in Nashville, and in other areas of Middle Tennessee. Here are some of the legal procedures which can be used in Tennessee to collect debts and judgments:

  • Lien and execution on real property: In Tennessee, a creditor can file a judgment as a lien against real property owned by a debtor. In many cases, it is vital that a judgment lien be filed as soon after a final judgment is entered as possible in order to preserve the priority of the payment of the debt with respect to other creditors who may also be owed money, and who may also claim a right to be paid from the proceeds of the sale of real property owned by the debtor. Merely filing a judgment as a lien against real property owned by the debtor may result in the payment of the debt. In many cases, however, the existence of the judgment lien itself does not result in the payment of the debt. In those cases, it is necessary to seek the assistance of a court, and to have a court enter an order directing that the debtor's land be sold to pay the debt in question.
  • Garnishment of bank accounts, wages, salaries, and accounts receivable: Under Tennessee law, a person or entity in possession of funds owed or belonging to the debtor may be compelled to "freeze" the transfer of those funds, and to pay them over to the party owed money by the debtor. The procedure by which payment of a debt is received from a third party is known as garnishment. Garnishment procedures can be highly effective in recovering money owed to a creditor.
  • Attachment and Execution: In Tennessee, personal property such as vehicles, boats, equipment, inventory, stocks, and bonds can be sold to satisfy debts owed by the owner of the personal property. In order to affect an attachment and execution, certain legal procedures and requirements must be implemented and followed.
  • Post-judgment examination under oath and other post-judgment discovery: In order to locate assets of the debtor, Tennessee allows a creditor's lawyer to conduct a post-judgment examination under oath (or deposition) of a debtor. During this examination, a creditor is required by law to answer all questions which are asked which concern the location and value of assets owned by the debtor, and which concern the financial condition of the debtor. Before an attorney can effectively issue garnishments or execute on property, a post-judgment examination of the debtor may be necessary. In addition to conducting a post-judgment deposition of a debtor, a creditor's attorney can require a debtor to produce documents which are related to assets of the debtor, to the debtor's financial condition, or to transfers of assets made by the debtor. Documents which are typically requested in post- judgment discovery include bank records, such as monthly statements and cancelled checks, tax returns, records related to the ownership of bonds or securities, and financial records related to business operations.
  • Foreign judgment domestication: If you, or your client, has obtained a judgment from a state other than Tennessee which you need domesticated, our Nashville commercial debt collection lawyers can assist you in domesticating your judgment so that it is entitled to full faith and credit in Tennessee. Pepper Law, PLC, a Nashville commercial debt collection law firm, can assist you not only with domesticating a foreign judgment in Tennessee, but also, with collecting the judgment from a debtor with assets located in Tennessee.