Written Discovery

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Post-Judgment Written Discovery To Debtor

Most states allow creditors to serve document requests and interrogatories on debtors in post-judgment proceedings. These are substantially identical to those same discovery devices in pre-judgment litigation, with one glaring exception: In pre-judgment litigation, there are a variety of remedies available to the trial judge to enforce the discovery, from monetary sanctions to striking pleadings to striking evidence and even to "terminating sanctions" which end the case. Post-judgment, however, there is usually just one remedy, and that is to hold the debtor in contempt for failing to respond.
Post-judgment written discovery is also see by creditors as a cheap way to stay in the debtor's life, and to cause the debtor's attorney to run the meter organizing documents and drafting responses to the discovery.

Scope of Post-Judgment Discovery

Whereas pre-judgment discovery is limited to things that might cast light on the underlying case, post-judgment discovery is much broader, and basically encompasses anything that might lead to the discovery of the debtor's assets. Moreover, a debtor responding to such discovery has few objections post-judgment that carry any weight, and judges are often quite sympathetic to the creditor's argument that "if the debtor doesn't want to provide such-and-such information, then the debtor should pay the judgment."

Post-Judgment Document Requests

One of the easiest ways for a creditor to search for assets is to require the debtor to produce all sorts of documents, including deeds to property, bank account statements, credit card statements, stock ledgers, partnership agreements, operating agreements, utility deposits, trust documents, wills, and you-name-it. The debtor is then required to round up all this information, to the extent that the debtor is able, and turn the documents over to the creditor. Usually, these document requests are served sufficiently in advance of the debtor's exam such that the debtor will have provided the documents before the exam and can be questioned about them.

Post-Judgment Interrogatories

Some jurisdictions allow for interrogatories to be served on the debtor post-judgment, which allows the creditor to obtain basic information about the creditor's affairs and get the debtor on the record about whether certain categories of assets exist or not, and if there has been any transfers of assets within the limitations period for a fraudulent transfer action (usually four years).

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