When a plaintiff has obtained a money judgement against a defendant, the plaintiff must be careful to understand that obtaining such a judgement is just the first step in trying to collect on such a judgement from the defendant.
Some of a plaintiff’s most powerful tools in enforcing a money judgement against a defendant are found in Chapter 61 of the Revised Judicature Act, MCL 600.6101 et seq., which governs supplementary proceedings in Michigan.
Several key forms of relief which a plaintiff may obtain in supplementary proceedings include, but are not limited to:
- A creditor’s examination to discovery what assets the defendant has which could be used to satisfy the money judgment;
- Injunction to prevent a defendant and his/her/its agents or representatives from transferring money, property or other assets of the defendant; and
- Proceedings to try title to debts or property, including fraudulent transfers by defendant.
MCL 600.6104; MCL 600.6110; MCL 600.6116; MCL 600.6119; MCL 600.6128; MCL 600.6134.
Supplementary proceedings may be maintained until a money judgement has been satisfied, vacated or barred by the applicable statute of limitations. MCL 600.6101. Supplementary proceedings are in addition to, and do not affect, any other methods provided by law to enforce judgements against a defendant. MCL 600.6104; see also MCR 2.621; MCR 2.622.
To obtain an injunction to prevent the transfer of property to, or from, a defendant, the plaintiff must show: (1) justice requires the granting of the injunction; (2) there is no adequate remedy at law; and (3) there is a real and imminent danger of irreparable injury. Peninsula Sanitation v. City of Manistique, 208 Mich. App. 34, 43 (1994). A plaintiff may also obtain an order to prevent a defendant from transferring or liquidating assets. MCL 600.6104(5).
As shown above, supplementary proceedings in Michigan can be a very useful and powerful tool which a plaintiff may use to ensure that a money judgement obtained against a defendant is satisfied. Indeed, a plaintiff may use such supplementary proceedings to prevent a defendant from transferring his/her/its assets in an effort to avoid the plaintiff’s execution on the money judgement. It is important that a plaintiff is aware of all the avenues he/she/it has in terms of enforcing a money judgment he/she/it has obtained against a defendant.