Michigan has adopted the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act (“UEFJA”) at MCL 691.1171. With this statute, turning a foreign judgment into a Michigan judgment is as simple as filing the following with the clerk of the court in Michigan:
- A certified copy of the judgment from your state;
- An affidavit that the judgment is from your state court and has not been satisfied (we prepare this document);
- A check for $250.
This is frequently referred to as Foreign Judgment Domestication. Once we file these items with the clerk’s office, the court sends a copy of the judgment and an affidavit that we prepare on your behalf, to the debtor. The debtor than has 21 days to object to the domestication of the judgment. This rarely, if ever, happens. Once we have domesticated the judgment, it is collectible as any other. We then go to work to collect your judgment. We frequently issue a garnishment against the debtor’s employer or bank account and issue a Write of Seizure against the debtor’s assets.
Visit our Major Case Successes to see what we have accomplished for our clients. Our success is largely due to the fact that we are the only debt collection law firm in Michigan that employs two full time certified public accountants. These team members find assets that debtors try to hide in the names of others. Our attorneys then sue the transferees and recoup these assets for our clients.
There are a few narrow defenses that a debtor can present that, if successful, would prevent us from domesticating your court’s judgment. These defenses include:
- Lack of jurisdiction over the defendant. If your state court did not properly have jurisdiction over the defendant, then your judgment may be voidable by the Michigan court. You need to be certain that you complied with your state’s long arm statute, if necessary for jurisdiction over the defendant, in order to avoid this argument. Moreover, if you are relying upon a venue selection clause in your contract with the defendant, you should know that many courts do not favor these provisions. On the other hand, there are more courts that are inclined to enforce these provisions than not.
- Improper service of the summons and complaint. Much like jurisdiction, it’s important for you to have complied with your state court’s rules for service of process. If the defendant successfully attacks service of process, then your judgment would be voidable by a Michigan court. However, the simple remedy is to simply allow us to file a new lawsuit in Michigan.
In the overwhelming number of cases that we have domesticated in Michigan, we have not had any issues domesticating a judgment. The debtors generally know that they owe the money. Once we are able to obtain a Michigan judgment, our collection procedures are the same since the UEFJA provides that the judgment may be collected as any other.
If you have a judgment from a court outside of Michigan, we can turn it into a Michigan judgment quickly. For more information, call or email Gary Nitzkin.