May a Judgment Creditor Force you to Use Credit Cards to Pay Off a Judgment?

This was the issue presented Carbo Industries, Inc. v. Alcus Fuel Oil, Inc.[1]decided November 13, 2014.

The answer is no.

Credit is not assignable or transferable under CPLR § 5201. Furthermore, permitting such compulsion, from a policy perspective, would create an additional creditor (the credit card company with no relation to the case) with little chance of being repaid. Without persuasive authority stating otherwise, a New York trial court was unwilling impose such burdens on the debtor and on the credit industry.

Although a judgment creditor can "attach" (seize) a debt owed to a debtor, the judgment creditor cannot force the debtor to take on new debt to pay down a judgment.

Otherwise, New York law is broad as to what property is attachable to satisfy a money judgment: "...any property which could be assigned or transferred, whether it consists of a present or future right or interest and whether or not it is vested...."

If you have any questions as to what your creditor can seize, call us.

[1] Carbo Industries, Inc. v. Alcus Fuel Oil, Inc., 601922/13, NYLJ 1202677620087, at *1 (Sup., NA, Decided November 13, 2014).

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