After being awarded a money judgment by a Justice, Village or City Court, you should:
- Purchase a Transcript of Judgment from the Court; and
- File the Transcript of Judgment from a lower court in the ERIE COUNTY CLERK’S OFFICE, 92 Franklin Street, Buffalo, New York 14202.
The cost of filing the Transcript is $10. Checks should be made payable to: Erie County Clerk. The filed Judgment is a LIEN against any/all real property owned by the DEBTOR and located in Erie County, for a period of 10 years from date of entry of judgment in the original court. (A lien against personal property is created by filing a property execution with the Sheriff; see below for details)
If the DEBTOR fails to pay within 30 days of the judgment date (and files no appeal), the CREDITOR may request an EXECUTION from the COUNTY CLERK’S OFFICE, giving the Sheriff’s Office full authority to levy (or “seize”) upon money or property of the debtor as payment toward the Judgment.
- Obtain an EXECUTION (1 original and 5 copies – electronic signature is deemed original signature) from the Clerk’s Office and deliver them to the Erie County Sheriff Office’s Civil Enforcement Division, 134 West Eagle Street – 4th Floor, Buffalo, New York 14202. The fee to obtain an EXECUTION form from the Clerk’s Office is $11.50 (plus the cost of transcript, if any) and is added to the total amount to be garnished or levied upon by the Sheriff.
- Additional forms may be required and you may obtain the forms from a legal stationer or possibly via the Internet. Most forms require the signature of an attorney or the clerk of the court that issued the judgment.
- Additional fees and mileage will be charged by the Sheriff to perform the execution. You may wish to verify all fees with the Sheriff in advance (NB: fees paid to the Sheriff will be added onto the judgment/execution amount); you can reach them at 716-858-7606 or online and click on the link at the bottom of that page. Cash or Money Order payable to Erie County Sheriff only.
TYPES of EXECUTIONS PREPARED by the CLERK’S OFFICE:
- EXECUTION against TANGIBLE PERSONAL PROPERTY (CPLR §5230 and 5232(b): Permits the levying and sale of property owned by the Judgment Debtor. Certain property (such as an automobile) may be specified for seizure. NOTE: Vehicle executions require Form MV-15 to be completed and sent to Albany. In return, you will receive Form MV-904 (listing vehicle title, name of lien-holders, if any, and Vehicle Identification Number) which is required by the Sheriff, as well as location of vehicle. Form MV-15 may be obtained from the Auto Bureau or online https://dmv.ny.gov/forms/mv15.pdf. Exemptions may apply to certain personal property. Contact the Sheriff’s Civil Division for further information.
- EXECUTION against INCOME (CPLR §5230, §5231): Permits garnishment of up to 10% of the Judgment Debtor’s disposable earnings. Name and address of debtor & employer is required. NOTE: Debtor must reside in Erie County; otherwise, contact the Debtor’s residence county Sheriff’s Office.
- EXECUTION against INTANGIBLE PROPERTY, with NOTICE to GARNISHEE (CPLR §5230, §5232): Permits the levying upon money in possession of a third party, for example, from a Judgment Debtor’s bank account or the interception of payments to a Judgment Debtor (e.g., rent to a landlord/debtor). If levying on a bank account, the bank name/address is required - and account number, if available.
You may wish to contact an attorney or purchase from a legal stationer, an Information Subpoena with Restraining Notice prior to levying. Upon service of the Subpoena, a bank will provide the account number and balance of the Judgment Debtor, while restraining available funds.
NOTE: Certain funds within a Judgment Debtor’s account may be exempt under State or Federal law.
TYPES OF EXEMPT FUNDS:
- Income earned in the last 60 days (90% of which is exempt);
- Social Security;
- Social Security Disability (SSD);
- Supplemental security income (SSI);
- Public assistance (welfare);
- Income earned while receiving SSI or public assistance;
- Veterans benefits;
- Unemployment insurance;
- Payments from pensions and retirement accounts;
- Child support;
- Workers' compensation benefits;
- Spousal support or maintenance (alimony);
- Railroad retirement;
- Black lung benefits;
Please contact the Sheriff Office’s Civil Enforcement Division with any additional questions regarding judgment collection at 858-7606 or online.
FILING A TRANSCRIPT OR PROCESSING AN EXECUTION DOES NOT GUARANTEE PAYMENT ON YOUR JUDGMENT.