Is it Time to File a Judgment Lien?

We always enter into business deals on the premise that both parties will comply with all of the rules and regulations agreed upon in the relevant contracts — no one voluntarily takes part in a deal thinking it is going to turn sour. But, unfortunately, that is what can sometimes happen; and when it does, your business suffers. If your company is attempting to recover losses after a payment or promised service has been neglected, filing a judgment lien might be a suitable course of action.

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What Filing a Judgment Lien Can Achieve

If a company that your business is expecting payment or services from fails to uphold their end of an agreement, and you want to recover your losses, filing a judgment lien has the power to make that happen. Judgments to place a lien are granted when an experienced litigator wins a prerequisite lawsuit against the company in question. Liens are court-ordered, and the company against which the lien is being placed is legally obligated to comply with the requirements of the lien.

It should be noted that there are several time-related limitations to a lien:

  • In Pennsylvania, a judgment lien has a shelf-life of five years. After that time has elapsed, the lien is no longer valid.
  • Liens which have expired cannot be renewed.

If you are interested in furthering the lien, you will need to renew not the lien itself, but the original judgment which provided for the lien.

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The Path to Filing a Judgment Lien in Pennsylvania

Filing a judgment lien is not a particularly straightforward procedure, but requires that several legal hoops are jumped through along the way. For example, you cannot simply plow ahead and file a judgment lien at your discretion: you will first need to be awarded a judgment from a court in a commercial dispute. Attempting to win a lawsuit alone is inadvisable: it is in your best interest to hire a seasoned commercial litigator to represent your case and file a lawsuit on your behalf.

Once you have been awarded a judgment, you then become able to file a judgment lien. However, in order to do so, you will also need to obtain a document called a writ of execution. A writ of execution is a court order which proves that you did in fact win the judgment, and have the legal authority to enforce the lien. The writ must be filed with the appropriate county’s sheriff’s office to place the lien.

A lien can be placed against a company’s property or bank account, depending on what is most appropriate for your particular situation. Additionally, a judgment obtained in Pennsylvania can be used to place a lien on property or an account out-of-state, which is good news for companies doing business across state borders.

If your business is interested in exploring the possibly of filing a judgment lien, the attorneys at Berkowitz Klein can help. We have over 30 years of experience — let us put it to work for you. Contact us today.