From our experience at Rosenthal & Goldhaber, we find that potential clients often ask questions similar to the following when they’re thinking about the best possible approach for commercial collections or judgment enforcement.
We hope the answers below are helpful starting points — but to discuss relevant details for your unique circumstances, please contact us and we’ll have a conversation to discuss next steps.
Technically, the only document required would be the judgment itself. However, to maximize the likelihood of locating and seizing assets, it would be helpful to have the current address and banking information of the debtor. If the debtor is an individual, it would also be helpful to have information regarding the social security number, date of birth, current employer, or any other personal financial information you may have regarding the judgment debtor.
What information do you need to start the commercial collection process for our delinquent accounts receivable?
The more documentation and information you can provide, the easier it is to commence successful litigation and locate and collect assets. The following is a list of documents that we believe are the most helpful to begin this process:
- Statement listing invoices and payments
- Invoices and delivery receipts containing your business terms
- Breakdown of principal and interest owed
- Copies of any checks received from the debtor (your bank keeps copies of all checks that you deposit)
- A signed credit application (if available)
- A signed personal guaranty (if available)
- A copy of any signed contract
- Any correspondence between you and the debtor about the debt (i.e., copies of emails, letters, phone records, etc.)
By the time a client comes to Rosenthal & Goldhaber, most creditors – whether owed money on accounts receivable or notes payable, or based on a duly rendered judgment – have spent a considerable amount of time trying to obtain payment from their debtor.
We are often asked how long it will take us to obtain payment from a debtor. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question, as many factors have to be considered, such as the age of the debt, the solvency of the debtor, whether the debtor can be easily located, the desire of the debtor to amicably resolve the debt, and other factors.
In certain instances, a simple demand letter from an attorney can get a recalcitrant debtor to make payment. However, there are instances where litigation ensues. Each court has its own rules and timelines. In fact, in some courts now, it takes months, or even years, to obtain a default judgment (a judgment in which the debtor never answers the complaint served upon it).
Even when a judgment exists, there are instances in which money can immediately be located in a bank account for seizure, and there are times where money has been secreted, and our job takes time to uncover these funds.
Rest assured that Rosenthal & Goldhaber is persistent in its efforts to collect money for our clients – and regardless of the time it may take, we are always seeking to obtain money as quickly as we can for our client.
When a client comes to Rosenthal & Goldhaber to obtain money that is owed, the client feels that it has already suffered a loss of assets. Thus, there is little to no desire to throw good money after bad by paying an hourly rate to collect the lost funds.
That is why our services are provided on a contingency basis. Our firm does not collect a fee unless we are able to recover money that is due to the client. However, should litigation, or judgment enforcement, be required, the client would be responsible for the court costs and disbursements expended. These expenses, while usually minimal, are different for each matter, and will be discussed with each client before and during the collections process.
There is no requirement that anyone hire our firm to collect money due to it, or to enforce a judgment that it has obtained. However, the rules for corporations and individuals are different. Corporations are required to be represented by an attorney in court (with the exception of small claims/commercial claims court).
Once a matter must be litigated in the District/Civil Court or the Supreme Court, a corporation MUST be represented by an attorney. However, an individual may proceed on their own. The courts, however, will require you to be well-versed in the law and procedure as you proceed with litigation.
Additionally, once a judgment has been rendered, you may search for assets on your own. However, in both instances (pre-judgment litigation and judgment enforcement), Rosenthal & Goldhaber has the knowledge and experience to effectively obtain a judgment for the debt that our clients are owed, and also to locate assets to satisfy the judgment that has been obtained.
Since 1940, Rosenthal & Goldhaber has been helping clients recover money owed for various reasons. Our firm currently handles the following types of matters:
- Collection of Accounts Receivable for Goods Sold and Delivered
- Collection of Accounts Receivable for Services Rendered by Professionals (Attorneys, Accountants, Architects, Engineers, and others)
- Collection of Unpaid Commercial Loans
- Collection of Unpaid Commercial Negotiable Instruments
- Collection of Unpaid Commercial Rent (after tenancy has been vacated)
- Enforcement of All Money Judgments
A judgment is merely a piece of paper in which the court has ruled that one party legally owes money to another party. It also gives the judgment creditor the right to seize assets of the judgment debtor to satisfy the judgment.
However, there is nothing that compels the judgment debtor to make payment. It is the responsibility of the judgment creditor to locate the assets to satisfy the judgment. Most of the time, locating and seizing the assets can be more difficult than obtaining the judgment in the first place, as most judgment debtors will not cooperate, and will seek to conceal assets from discovery.
At Rosenthal & Goldhaber, our firm has a proprietary process in which we attempt to locate the debtor, its assets, and other financial obligations which may be concealed. Additionally, we utilize various court processes, such as Subpoena, Executions, Restraining Notices, Garnishments, Turnover Proceedings, and other mechanisms to aid in locating and obtaining the money due to our clients on the judgments that have been obtained.
Most creditors do not wait very long to attempt to collect the money they are owed. However, if creditors are unable to collect the money themselves, often creditors will simply write it off and forget about it.
Then years later, a creditor decides it wants to sue to collect the money that is owed to it. But did the creditor wait too long?
It depends. For most commercial debts, whether it’s a debt owed for failure to pay for goods or services, failure to pay a loan, or any other type of commercial instrument, a party has six years from the default in payment to start a lawsuit. If suit has not been commenced by that time, the creditor is deemed to have waived its right to commence suit to collect that debt.
However, if a payment has been made at any time, or if the debtor acknowledges the debt in writing, the six-year statute of limitations will commence from the date of the last payment or the written acknowledgment of the debt.