Commercial Litigation: What Happens After the Judgment?
Ragain & Clark July 6, 2022
You tried to settle the dispute but it just wasn’t feasible. You weighed your options, discussed your case with counsel, and decided to go ahead and file the lawsuit. Weeks and months went by, and the legal fees accumulated while your lawyer handled discovery requests and appeared in court on various motions. Eventually, your case went to trial, and a judgment was entered in your favor.
Unfortunately, your case didn’t end there. Even if the other side doesn’t appeal, there may still be work to do. A Montana and Wyoming commercial litigation attorney can help you understand your options for fully resolving your case.
Different Remedies, Different Options
The options available to you will depend on the remedies you sought in your lawsuit. The easiest example would be money damages. If the court awarded you $500,000 in money damages, the other side may be unable or unwilling to pay, which means you need to take additional steps to collect your judgment. This can be done by way of attaching their assets such as vehicles or office equipment, or by garnishing their bank accounts or other sources of income. In some cases, you may need to file interrogatories that will compel them to answer questions under oath about their ability to pay the judgment. All of these options require separate legal proceedings.
On the other hand, you have different options if you sought equitable relief as part of your lawsuit. For example, if the other party was under a court order to stop doing something, you may have to seek a contempt order if they continue.
Some cases involve a mix of both monetary damages as well as equitable remedies. The other party may be willing to comply with the court’s orders but may be unable to pay your damages. Enforcing your judgment in a commercial litigation case can quickly become complicated, but an attorney can help you navigate your options for enforcing your judgment quickly and cost-effectively.
Is Settlement an Option?
This may seem counterintuitive – after all, you have a judgment, so why would you even consider a settlement? That said, enforcing a judgment through legal means costs you time and money. While you certainly have the upper hand in any settlement discussions by virtue of your judgment, negotiating a settlement can save you time and money in the long run.
You do not necessarily need to waive anything you are owed as part of the settlement, either. Instead, you can enter into a payment plan or other arrangement where the other party satisfies their obligations under the judgment over time. An attorney can help you structure an agreement that is both fair and economical.
The Possibility of Bankruptcy
A judgment can quickly push a business into insolvency. While they may attempt to file for bankruptcy simply to avoid paying the judgment, the bankruptcy court may not be willing to allow them to avoid their obligation to pay you. If the other party files for bankruptcy, a commercial litigation lawyer can make sure your rights are protected.
Talk to a Ragain and Clark Today
At Ragain & Clark, we have over 30 years of experience in helping businesses enforce their rights both before litigation and after the judgment has been entered. To discuss your case and how we can help, contact us today by calling 406-651-8888 (Billings) or 307-388-6400 (Worland) to schedule a free consultation.