creditor, registration, judgment, debtor


The federal registration statute, codified at 28 U.S.C. § 1963, permits a judgment creditor to register his or her judgment in another state by simply filing a copy of the judgment with the clerk of the registering court. Registration is permitted when the judgment becomes final by appeal, when the time to appeal expires, or when the court that entered the judgment orders registration for good cause shown. The majority of courts have interpreted good cause as a showing that the judgment debtor lacks assets in the forum jurisdiction to fulfill the judgment, but possesses substantial assets in the registering jurisdiction. District courts are split, however, on whether there must be a pending appeal before registration can be ordered.

Registration gives the judgment creditor power to create a lien on the judgment debtor’s property in another district. The effect of the registered judgment depends on a state’s laws regarding liens. Liens in some states may reach personal property, creating the potential for a registered judgment to have harsh effects on the debtor’s livelihood and placing restrictions on the alienability of real property. The posting of a supersedeas bond can stay the enforcement of a judgment and alleviate the need for registration.

This Note argues that a judgment creditor should be permitted to register her judgment without waiting for the judgment debtor to file an appeal. However, a court should have discretion to consider whether permitting registration when the judgment debtor has not yet posted a supersedeas bond would cause irreparable harm to a good faith debtor, and if so, grant the debtor time to post a bond.

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