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How do I put a lein on a horse

Discussion in 'Alternative Dispute Resolution' started by ivy1616, Feb 6, 2010.

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  1. ivy1616

    ivy1616 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I have a court ordered judgment for boarding that was unpaid. I have tried garnishing the debtor bank account and got no money. She doe not work to my knowledge and I have not heard a word from her since I returned the horses (also court ordered). Can i still place a lien on the horses? What else can I do to collect my money? She does not have any "property" that I can place a lien on other than her horses and her pig. Can some one please give me some ideas????
     
  2. jharris352

    jharris352 New Member

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    In order to execute a money judgment against personal property, such as a horse or pig, the creditor must obtain what is called a "writ of fieri facias" (often abbreviated to "fi fa"). Whenever a monetary judgment is issued by a Virginia court, the clerk of the court will automatically issue a fi fa once twenty-one days have passed from the entry of the judgment (this is the period of time that the losing party before the court has to obtain relief from the court in the form of a reconsideration or reduction in the judgment entered).

    The fi fa which commands the sheriff or other officer of the state to whom the creditor delivers it to locate, seize, and publicly sell the property of the judgment debtor. So you need to take your fi fa to the sheriff and notify them that you want to seize the horse. Normally, the fi fa will have a return date of ninety days, and the debtor's property must be seized and sold within that ninety day period. An attempt to seize property pursuant to the writ after the return date is invalid, and may be quashed by the debtor. The creditor will then have to seek a new writ, which will be granted so long as the underlying judgment remains in force.

    Good luck.
     
  3. ivy1616

    ivy1616 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Already tried a fi fa

    I spoke with my sheriff’s office in hope to do a fi fa the other day and he told me that they no longer will seize anything that does not have a "vin number" of some sort of I.D number. I ask him specifically if even a registered horse would count and he told me no. That is why I am trying to figure out what else I can do. Thank you so much for your help!! Do you have any other ideas?
     
  4. cyjeff

    cyjeff New Member

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    Aren't horses identified via a tattoo number?

    Of Course, of course....
     
  5. ivy1616

    ivy1616 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Yes but apparently that does not count. Plus only one of the horses are registered. Some horses are what people call "grade" which means they are not registered. But even some registered horse do not have tattoos.
     
  6. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    This may explain the Sheriff's reluctance to enforce the fi fa:
    Virginia Code § 34-4 - Exemption created

    Every householder shall be entitled, in addition to the property or estate exempt under 23-38.81, 34-26, 34-27, 34-29, and 64.1-151.3, to hold exempt from creditor process arising out of a debt, real and personal property, or either, to be selected by the householder, including money and debts due the householder not exceeding $5,000 in value. In addition, upon a showing that a householder supports dependents, the householder shall be entitled to hold exempt from creditor process real and personal property, or either, selected by the householder, including money or monetary obligations or liabilities due the householder, not exceeding $500 in value for each dependent.

    For the purposes of this section, "dependent" means an individual who derives support primarily from the householder and who does not have assets sufficient to support himself, but in no case shall an individual be the dependent of more than one householder.
     
  7. jharris352

    jharris352 New Member

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    I personally would explain to the sheriff that they are under court order (via a fi fa) to seize "any and all property" that is in their county jurisdiction. I would further let them know that if they refuse to perform this duty I would be going back to the Judge with a contempt motion and asking for a specific order to the sheriff to seize the horse.

    The Sheriff does not get to decide what property they will or won't seize. The Judge makes that decision. I'm sorry you are having this reaction from the sheriff, they should be the last one you are having a problem with. In addition to a contempt motion you could file a motion to compel or file for a writ of Mandamus. I know for an attorney this is no big deal, but for you it can be a big deal.

    Here is what you do:

    Send a certified letter return receipt to the County Sheriff (not a deputy, the Sheriff). Enclosed in the letter send a certified copy (by the court clerk) of the Fi Fa you have. In the letter identify the horse and pig that are owned by the defendant and DEMAND that they obey the court order in seizing any properties "or chattels" owned by the Defendant which are within the county limits. In the letter explain that you are going back before the Judge to get a specific order (you don't have to threaten a contempt motion) if they refuse to do their duty under the order.

    That should get you the desired result. What a ridiculous thing for a Sheriff to say.
     
  8. ivy1616

    ivy1616 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I am a little confused by what that means; sorry I’m still learning "law lingo”. I know she does not have any dependants and she is too old to be considered a dependent herself, so does this still apply? Because she has/makes little money then she can decide what I can put a lien on and what I can’t?
     
  9. ivy1616

    ivy1616 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Let me make sure I understand this right. After the judgment the court should automatically put a fi fa on her and it is up to me to initiate it? Or the Fi Fa is just an option that I have?
    When I spoke to the sheriff he talked like our laws had been changed and you used to be able to seize most anything but now it must have a I.D number, which only one of her horses do, the other 2 horses and the pig do not. He also said that I would have to place a bond for twice the court ordered judgment before they would do a fi fa, which I can't afford to do. And that I would also be responsible for the auction fees. Even if they would let me do the fi fa I know if these horses are auctioned they would not be worth much in the current horse market, let alone of a government auction where people are trying to “steal” or get a “bargain” on the item they are bidding on.
    Knowing all that (if it be the truth of what I need to do) I realize it would cost me way more than I can afford and I will likely only get enough back to pay the auction fees. So I think you can see my dilemma :confused: Are there any other options? I know that you can place liens on horses for boarding bills but I am not sure if I can still do that now that the horses are no longer in my possession. And if I can place a lien on them still how do I do it? Sorry for the long post, I’m just trying to figure something out. Thanks to everyone that is trying to help!!!! Just in case it helps; all of this is going on in Virginia.
     
  10. jharris352

    jharris352 New Member

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  11. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Ivy616, you are discovering as many laymen have; that collecting on a judgment is a lot harder than obtaining one. A court can order the sheriff to do something, but as a county's highest law enforcement official, such orders are rare. Sometimes, collecting on small judgments cam be costlier than the judgment itself. JkHarris has provided you with good advice, but sometimes it takes a lawyer to do what needs to be done. And, that only adds to the costs. Anyway, good luck while you ponder your next moves.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     

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