SCS/SB 462 - This act modifies provisions relating to garnishments. The act specifies an order for the application of garnishment payments, and states that judgments shall accrue interest on the judgment balance. Under the act, clerks of circuit courts are authorized to collect a surcharge up to ten dollars when processing garnishments.
The act provides that the garnishor is responsible for obtaining service upon the garnishee of the summons, application and order of execution or garnishment. Currently, a garnishment summons is served by the sheriff or other designated authority upon the garnishee. This act provides that the garnishor may obtain service by certified mail. The act also states that within five days of service upon the garnishee, the garnishor must provide the judgment debtor a copy of the summons and writ.
The act adds language which provides that notice of garnishment shall have the effect of attaching all personal property at the time of service or in the case of a continuous wage garnishment, until the judgment is paid in full, or until the employment relationship is terminated.
The act states that garnishments which would otherwise have equal priority shall have priority according to the date of service, and when wages have been attached by more than one writ of garnishment then the employer must inform the inferior garnishor of the other garnishments.
When applicable, a garnishee may discharge himself by paying the money or giving the property owed to the defendant to the attorney for the party on whose behalf the order of garnishment was issued, when applicable. Additionally, the court may order the delivery of the defendant's property possessed by the garnishee to the attorney for the party on whose behalf the order of garnishment was issued.
The act allows the garnishee to deduct up to twenty dollars, or a fee previously agreed upon between the garnishee and judgment debtor when the garnishee is a financial institution, for expenses in answering interrogatories and withholding the funds. The garnishee may also file a motion with the court to obtain additional costs incurred in answering the interrogatories.
The act modifies provisions relating to the issuance of a writ of sequestration. Under current law, the wages of state government employees are not subject to direct garnishment, and instead must be collected under a process called sequestration. This act provides that sovereign immunity shall be waived for the purposes of garnishing the pay of employees who work for the state or a political subdivision, and that the government employer shall have the same duties as a private employer when served with a garnishment order. The act repeals language requiring a writ of sequestration when the judgment debtor is a government employee, and provides that all garnishments against such employees shall proceed in the same manner as any other garnishment proceedings.
Provisions in this act are similar to provisions contained in HB 204 (2013) and SS/SCS/HCS/HB 374 & 434 (2013).