Chapter 18 - Garnishment

Chapter 18 - Garnishment

43.1801 Right to garnish.


Property of a defendant in the possession of another, or debts due him, may be reached on writ of garnishment.

43.1802 How effected-Service of notice.


(a) The officer serving a writ of garnishment shall garnish such persons as the plaintiff may direct as supposed to debtors, or as possession property of the principal defendant.

(b) Garnishment shall be effected by serving a written notice on the garnishee forbidding his paying any debt owing the principal defendant, due or to become due, and requiring him to retain possession of all property of the defendant in his hands or under his control, to the end that the same may be dealt with according to law, and unless answers are required to be taken as hereinafter provided, the notice shall cite the garnishee to appear on the second Tuesday following the date of service of notice and answer such interrogatories as may be propounded or he will be liable to pay any judgment which the plaintiff may obtain against the defendant.

(c) Where the property to be garnished is a fund in court, the execution of a writ of garnishment shall be by leaving with the clerk of the court a copy thereof, with notice, specifying the fund.

43.1803 Persons who may be garnished-Exclusions.


(a) A marshal or clerk of court may be garnished for money of the defendant in his hands. A judgment debtor of the defendant may be garnished if the judgment has not been assigned on the record or by writing, and filed in the office of the clerk and by him minuted as an assignment on the margin of the judgment record. An executor may be garnished with respect to money due from decedent.

(b) The United States may not be garnished, except in compliance with the laws of the United States providing for garnishment proceedings against the United States for the en-forcement of child support and alimony obligations of federal employees, including members of the armed forces. The government, and any other public bodies or agencies shall not be garnished without the prior approval of the Governor.

43.1804 Death of garnishee.


If a garnishee dies after he has been summoned by garnishment and pending the litigation, the proceedings may be revived by or against his heirs or legal representatives.

43.1805 Interrogatories to garnishee.


(a) When the plaintiff, in writing, directs the marshal to take the answer of the garnishee, he shall put to him the following interrogatories:

(1) Are you in any manner indebted to the defendant in this suit, or do you owe him money or property which is not yet due? If so, state the particulars.

(2) Have you in your possession or under your control any property, rights or credits of the defendant? If so, what is the value of the same? State all particulars.

(3) Do you know of any debts owing said defendant, whether due or not due, or any property, rights or credits belonging to him and now in the possession or under the control of others? If so, state the particulars.

(b) The marshal shall append the examination to his return.

43.1806 Refusal to answer interrogatories-Failure to appear and answer.


(a) If the garnishee refuses to answer the interrogatories fully and unequivocally, he shall be notified to appear and answer as provided in 43.1802, and he may be so required in any event if the plaintiff so notifies him.

(b) The questions propounded to the garnishee in court may be such as are described in 43.1805, and such others as the court may think proper.

(c) If a garnishee notified to appear and answer fails to do so without sufficient excuse, he shall be presumed to be indebted to the defendant to the full amount of the plaintiffs demand, but for a mere failure to appear, no judgment shall be rendered against him until he has had an opportunity to show cause against the same.

43.1807 Controversion of answers by pleading.


When the garnishee has answered the interrogatories propounded to him, the plaintiff may controvert them by pleading thereto, and an issue may be joined, which shall be tried in the usual manner, upon which trial such answer of the garnishee shall be competent testimony.

43.1808 Notice of controverting pleading.


No judgment may be rendered against a garnishee on a pleading which controverts his answer until notice of the filing of the controverting pleading and of the time and place of trial thereon is served on the garnishee for such time and in such manner as the court or judge shall order.

43.1809 Deposit in court by garnishee.


A garnishee may, at any time after answer, exonerate himself from further responsibility by paying over to the clerk of the court any amount owing by him to the defendant and placing at the clerk of the court’s disposal any property of the defendant or so much of the defendant’s property as is equal to the value of any property attached.

43.1810 Pleading by defendant in main action-Resolution of issues.


The defendant in the main action may, by suitable pleading filed in the garnishment proceedings, set up facts showing that the debt or property garnished is exempt from execution, or for any other reason is not liable for plaintiffs claim, and if issue thereon be joined by the plaintiff, it shall be tried with the issues as to the garnishee’s liability. If such debt or property, or any part thereof, is found to be thus exempt or not liable, the garnishee shall be discharged as to that part which is exempt or not liable.

43.1811 Judgment.


(a) If it is made to appear that the garnishee was indebted to the defendant or had any of his property in his hands at the time of being served with the notice of garnishment, the garnishee shall be liable to the plaintiff, in case judgment is finally recovered by plaintiff, to the full amount of the judgment, or to the amount of such indebtedness or property held by the garnishee.

(b) The plaintiff may have judgment against the garnishee for the amount of money due from the garnishee to the defendant, or for the delivery to the clerk of the court, within a time to be fixed by the court of any money or property in the garnishee’s hands belonging to the defendant as fixed in the judgment, and for the value of the same if not delivered within the time thus fixed unless before such judgment is entered the garnishee has delivered to the clerk of the court such money or property. Property so delivered shall thereafter be treated as if levied upon under writ of attachment in the usual manner.

43.1812 Defendant to receive notice of proceedings before judgment.


Judgment against the garnishee may not be entered until the principal defendant has had 7 days’ written notice of the garnishment proceedings, of which notice a return by the

marshal shall be required.

43.1813 Judgment conclusive.


A judgment in the garnishment action condemning the property or debt in the hands of the garnishee to the satisfaction of the plaintiff’s demand shall be conclusive between the garnishee and defendant.

43.1814 Suspension of execution when debt is not due.


If the debt of the garnishee to the defendant is not due, execution shall be suspended until its maturity.

43.1815 Garnishee’s liability on debt due by negotiable paper.


The garnishee may not be made liable on a debt due by negotiable paper unless such paper is delivered, or the garnishee completely exonerated or indemnified from all liability thereon after he may have satisfied the judgment.