Judgment Creditor versus Transferee: Who Has Rights to the Money/Property?

This blog entry is part of a series that simplifies each section of New York CPLR Article 52, "Enforcement of Money Judgments." There are 53 sections in Article 52. This entry is the 2nd of 53.

For a living, I fight judgment creditors, Marshals and Sheriffs to protect your money. I'd be remiss for not knowing cold (and be able to communicate) each section of Article 52.

Today's section is CPLR § 5202 titled "Judgment Creditor's rights in Personal Property."

§ 5202 governs the rights to personal property (not real estate) as between judgment creditors (creditor sued and obtained judgment) and transferees (persons who paid-for and received property by judgment debtor).

§ 5202 is essentially concerned with timing (delivery of an "execution"[1] or obtaining of an "order"[2]). Judgment creditors generally acquire the rights to the property if those timing conditions are met.

But the statute protects the possessory rights of good-faith transferees who purchase property before its levied.[3] Creditor attorneys are advised to effectuate a levy as quickly as possible to avoid losing the property to a third-party transferee.

In our consumer-law practice, we mainly fight wage garnishments and bank restraints, enforcement devices that usually don't involve priority battles between judgment creditors and transferees. But such battles do happen, and we'll be ready to help you when they do.

Feel free to check out yesterday's blog, "A Simple List of What Property your Judgment Creditor May Seize."



[1] Execution: A court order directing a sheriff or other officer to enforce a judgment usually by seizing it and selling the judgment debtor's property.

[2] Order: A command or instruction by judge.

[3] Levy: Actual seizure and sale.

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