In a lawsuit, generally there will be two parties involved namely, plaintiff and defendant. Plaintiff is the one who files the case or charges in the court against the defendant. If the defendant fails to pay the penalty declared by the court after having been found guilty, the plaintiff has got the option to go ahead with other legal formalities and proceed with the an acquisition order.
What is punitive damages judgment?
If the court announces punitive damages judgment, it means the defendant is required to pay the penalty to the plaintiff. The court declares punitive damages only if the plaintiff succeeds in proving that the defendant was voluntarily intoxicated, reckless, willful or malicious in his actions.
Enforcing the judgment
Let’s consider that you are the defendant. Assume that the plaintiff has obtained a judgment in his favor. If you fail to pay the penalty, the plaintiff can go ahead with judgment enforcement meaning he can take legal steps to force that judgment. This may include wage garnishment, seizure of your bank account and property acquisition, including home foreclosure. But before he can follow up on such a judgment, plaintiff should first file a supplementary proceeding in court. You will receive a notice about this and you have the opportunity to defend against it too.
Execution of the judgment
As per the law, as long as the plaintiff holds the judgment on property, he can try to execute it. State law gives permission to the plaintiff to demand the defendant to appear in court and can make him reveal his assets. Doing this allows the plaintiff to work out a strategy for the acquisition of such the assets. These assets include the defendants’ home too.
But you have one option to defend your property or home from this punitive damages judgment. That is to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy which can help you to stay the judgment. But then there are certain conditions to be met in order for it to stay the judgment. If you were found to be voluntarily intoxicated, reckless, willful or malicious, Chapter 7 bankruptcy won’t hold in favor of you.
Now you have some idea on what is punitive damages judgment. Students of law and indeed, well-established lawyers must keep themselves abreast of the latest judgments that deal with these sorts of damages. Each judgment will enlighten a citizen on how a law can be applied in certain cases.