Star Tribune story on lack of judicial oversight for garnishment process

September 2, 2010 by Todd Murray · Leave a Comment 

Continuing its excellent “Hounded” series, the Star Tribune ran another story last weekend about the gaps in judicial oversight for the bank and wage garnishment process in Minnesota. The story points out that Minnesota law authorizes garnishments before the debt collector’s lawsuit has even been filed with a court. And even when the debt collector does file the lawsuit with the court before garnishment (and most do), the garnishment process happens largely without any judicial supervision. Only when the debt claims an exemption and requests a court hearing, does the court get involved. The piece tells the story of a couple of consumers that have had a particularly difficult time navigating the exemption process.

After reading the story, I’m even more convinced that Minnesota needs to prohibit any garnishments before filing, and allow pre-judgment garnishment only with a court order. I’ve written about it in the past, but I’d also like to see the existing exemption process blown up, and a new process put in place that prevents creditors from freezing exempt money, even if it’s only for a few days. And as the story points out, states like North Carolina and Texas have created exemptions for money earmarked for reasonable living expenses. But in an allegedly progressive state like Minnesota, there’s no such protection–creditors can garnish money that you’ve earmarked for your basic living expenses, leaving you out of luck.

Justice denied as debt seizures soar | Star Tribune | September 1, 2010

If you still have questions about garnishment, feel free to download my free guide How to Survive Garnishment. It’s packed with information and tips for handling garnishment and will answer most of your questions about the garnishment process. If the guide doesn’t answer all of your questions, I offer 30 minute consultations for $150.

And if you’re being garnished and were never served with a lawsuit, I may be able to help you stop the garnishment by vacating the underlying judgment. Feel free to use the contact form in the upper right corner of this page to contact me to discuss the possibility of getting the judgment vacated.

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About Todd Murray
I'm a consumer rights lawyer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I sue debt collectors that harass and abuse people, defend debt collection lawsuits, and sue repossession companies that wrongfully repossess cars and trucks.

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I welcome your comments, but please don't post questions about your personal legal problem in this public forum. Rather than posting your question here, I recommend discussing your situation privately with a lawyer of your choice. If you live in Minnesota, feel free to use the contact form in the upper right corner of this page to request an initial consulation with me. To protect your privacy, I will delete all comments that involve a personal legal problem.