In most contests the winners know they can take home the trophy or the prize money when the battle is clearly over. When the clock hits zero during the Super Bowl, unless the scoreboard still shows a tie, we know which team is going to be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy given to the Super Bowl champion. As soon as the last out is registered in the bottom of the ninth in a baseball game where one team has more runs than the other, we can identify the winner. But contrary to what many believe, when you win a court trial that does not mean the loser automatically has to pay the winning party.
Let us say, for example, that you own a plumbing company in Albuquerque. You are called out to an apartment complex in Los Lunas at 2 a.m. on a Friday because there has been a water main break at the apartments. The tenants at the location cannot access any water. You and your plumbers determine what obstruction caused the problem and remove the obstruction, fix the affected pipes and restore water service. You provide the owner of the complex a bill based on the rates that you had quoted, showing that if the owner does not pay within 30 days, interest will accrue on the charged amount. And if the plumbing company has to go to court to seek recovery of the invoice amount, that company has the right to recover attorney’s fees.
The plumbing company retains counsel to take the claim to court and, after a two-day trial, the jury awards the company damages for the principal, interest and attorney’s fees and the.judge enters a judgment for that company in that amount. Does this mean that the owner of the apartment complex immediately must, under the law, write a check for that amount to the plumbing company? If it only were so easy.
To secure financial recovery here, the plumbing company must engage in post-judgment collection activity and discuss with counsel whether to garnish funds from the losing party, attach some of its property or foreclose on some of its property. Once a judgment is secured in a New Mexico court, the judgment creditor can engage in discovery procedures to identify where the apartment owner maintains its assets and obtain post-collection judgment.
These methods require legal expertise and experience handling these complicated legal processes. The attorneys at Giddens & Gatton Law, P.C. in Albuquerque provide representation for commercial collections and post-judgment collections. Call the Law Office of George “Dave” Giddens at 505-633-6298 to discuss with one of our attorneys how to handle these collection matters and collect what is owed you, or visit the website at www.giddenslaw.com.