• September 13, 2017

Among civil litigators, the variety of legal practice is staggering. It is hard to believe that we think of ourselves as having the same job. In fact, we most certainly do not.

Many lawyers at Messerli & Kramer do debt collection work (like Josh Hasko in the case discussed in this post), for example. These litigators spend relatively little time on prejudgment litigation. After all, their adversaries, almost by definition have no money so they are not up for a fight. Furthermore, the cases often boil down to, “Defendant borrowed money. Defendant failed to repay.” There’s not a lot to fight about in most of these case.

But getting a judgment for their clients is really a prologue to the performance that takes up most of their days.

We came across an order, issued this week, from U.S. District Court Judge Donovan W. Frank (D. Minn.) issuing a warrant for the arrest of debtors for their contempt of court orders to return commercial trailers to the financing company who put up the money for purchase of them.

The order is interesting in that it shows the due process that our courts give dead-beats. Here is one of two previous orders apparently ignored by the debtors. There is a lengthy procedure in place in which debtors are given every opportunity to defend the claims against them. If and when the axe falls, the defendants will be hard-pressed to object to the proceeding. On the other hand, it is refreshing to see that the debt collector also getting due process. Judge Frank has given defendants ample time but, on the other hand, he has kept the action moving forward.

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