You Won Your Lawsuit. Now What?

Personal Injury, Real Estate Law

When it comes to litigation, most people focus on the procedural aspects of going to trial, like depositions, gathering evidence, or picking a jury.

And while all of these litigation milestones are important, there is something else you should think about if you are involved in any type of litigation.

And that’s this: what happens at the end of your lawsuit.

Let’s say you won your lawsuit.

Now what?

What happens next?

Does the defendant simply hand you a check that you can run to the bank to cash?

Not quite.

Winning your lawsuit is not actually the end of your case.

It’s great to have a judgment in your favor, but unless you can collect on it, simply having a judgment, will do you no good.

Which means that …

First You Have to Reduce Your Win to a Final Judgment

So, how do you do that?

The first step is to reduce the judge’s order to a final judgment.

A judgment is a decree or order from which an appeal may be taken.

Before it can become a final judgment from which an appeal may be taken, the judge’s final order or decree in a case must: (a) be in writing, and (b) be “entered” by the clerk of the trial court. (This means that the order must be signed by the judge and filed with the clerk of the trial court.)

Once that has been done, and if the defendant does not file an appeal, the next step is to attempt to collect on your money judgment.

In Georgia, that means you will need to get a …

Writ of Fieri Facias

Latin for “cause it to be done,” a writ of fieri facias (referred to as a “FIFA”) is a writ of execution that directs the sheriff to seize and sell property of a debtor to satisfy a judgment against him (or her).

In Georgia, you must obtain a FIFA from the court to enforce your judgment. Once you have the FIFA, you will want to record it at the County Recorder’s Office in every county where the judgment debtor owns real property. This prevents the judgment debtor from selling any real property he or she may own without first paying your money judgment.

The FIFA also allows you to pursue a debtor’s intangible personal property, such as bank accounts, or stock shares, etc. It is a necessary prerequisite for many judgment-collection remedies— for example, wage garnishments.

Keep in mind that judgments do not last forever. In Georgia, a judgment will expire after seven years.

Winning your case is important. But collecting on your win is just as important. Making sure you can do both is why it is always advisable to contact experienced legal counsel.

Our Experience is Your Advantage.

At the Law Offices of Mark Weinstein, P.C., our clients benefit from our experience. We have extensive experience in real estate law. We have offices in Cumming, and we serve clients in Atlanta, Gainesville, Gwinnett County, Bartow County, Hall County, Henry County, Cherokee County, Clayton County, Cobb County, and other counties throughout Georgia. To find out what we can do for you, contact us here, or call today: 770-888-7707. Or you can e-mail us with inquiries at: lawofficesofmarkweinstein@gmail.com

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