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Garnishment – Michigan law

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Garnishment

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Michigan – Attachment and Garnishment

Act 236 of 1961
Chapter 40
Attachment and Garnishment

  • MCL §600.4001Attachment; ex parte application; service of writ; jurisdiction.
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  • MCL §600.4011 - Garnishment; property or obligation applicable to satisfaction of claim; jurisdiction; state and governmental units as garnishees; ex parte application for writ of garnishment; service; conditions to commencement of garnishment proceeding; immunity of sheriff or other public officer; fee; conveyance of money or property.
     

    • (1) Subject to sections 4061 and 4061a, and the conditions in subsections (2) to (10), the court has power by garnishment to apply the following property or obligation, or both, to the satisfaction of a claim evidenced by contract, judgment of this state, or foreign judgment, whether or not the state has jurisdiction over the person against whom the claim is asserted:
      • (a) Personal property belonging to the person against whom the claim is asserted but which is in the possession or control of a third person if the third person is subject to the judicial jurisdiction of the state and the personal property to be applied is within the boundaries of this state.
      • (b) An obligation owed to the person against whom the claim is asserted if the obligor is subject to the judicial jurisdiction of the state.
    • (2) Except as provided in sections 4061 and 4061a, the court may exercise the jurisdiction granted in this section only in accordance with the Michigan court rules. Except as otherwise provided by sections 4061 and 4061a and the Michigan court rules, the state and each governmental unit within the state, including but not limited to a public, municipal, quasi-municipal, or governmental corporation, unincorporated board, public body, or political subdivision, may be proceeded against as a garnishee in the same manner and with the same effect as a proceeding against an individual garnishee.
    • (3) A writ of garnishment may be issued before judgment only as provided in this subsection. Upon ex parte application showing that the person against whom the claim is asserted is not subject to the judicial jurisdiction of the state or, after diligent effort, cannot be served with process as required to subject the person to the judicial jurisdiction of the state, a copy of the writ of garnishment shall be served upon the person against whom the claim is made in the same manner as provided by the Michigan court rules for service of process in other civil actions in which personal jurisdiction over the defendant is not required. Upon entry of judgment in the principal action, the obligation or property garnished shall be applied to the satisfaction of the judgment.
    • (4) A garnishment proceeding shall not be commenced against the state or a governmental unit of the state, including but not limited to a public, municipal, quasi-municipal, or governmental corporation, unincorporated board, public body, or political subdivision, until after the plaintiff’s claim has been reduced to judgment.
    • (5) A garnishment proceeding shall not be commenced against a person for money owing to a defendant on account of labor performed by the defendant until after the plaintiff’s claim has been reduced to judgment.
    • (6) A sheriff or other public officer is not subject to garnishment for money or things received or collected by him or her pursuant to an execution or other legal process in the favor of the defendant or because of any money in his or her hands for which he or she is accountable merely as a public officer to the defendant.
    • (7) A garnishment proceeding shall not be commenced if the commencement of such a proceeding is forbidden by a statute of this state.
    • (8) Except as otherwise provided in sections 4012 and 4061, a plaintiff shall pay a fee of $1.00 to the garnishee at the time the garnishee is served with a writ of garnishment.
    • (9) If the court or garnishee possesses money or property pursuant to a writ of garnishment after the court releases the garnishee from liability under that writ, the court shall convey or order the conveyance of the money or property to any of the following, as the court determines appropriate:
      • (a) The defendant’s attorney, if the defendant is represented by counsel in the garnishment proceeding.
      • (b) The defendant, if the defendant is not represented by counsel in the garnishment proceeding.
      • (c) The plaintiff.
    • (10) A writ of garnishment is not effective if both of the following conditions are met:
      • (a) The plaintiff fails to provide the garnishee with information sufficient for the garnishee to identify the defendant.
      • (b) The garnishee provides the court with written notice of the insufficiency described in subdivision (a).
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  • MCL §600.4012Writ of garnishment as to periodic payments; duration; priority of writs of garnishment; liability of garnishee defendant; fee; “periodic payments” defined.
     

    • (1) Except for garnishment of a tax refund under section 4061a, and subject to subsection (2), a writ of garnishment of periodic payments remains in effect for the period prescribed by the Michigan court rules.
    • (2) A garnishee is not liable for a writ of garnishment of periodic payments under subsection (1) to the extent that the garnishee is required to satisfy another writ of garnishment against the same defendant having a higher priority or having the same priority but received at an earlier date. For purposes of this subsection, writs of garnishment have priority in the following order:
      • (a) A garnishment resulting from an obligation of court ordered support as defined in section 2 of the support and parenting time enforcement act, Act No. 295 of the Public Acts of 1982, being section 552.602 of the Michigan Compiled Laws.
      • (b) A levy of the state or a governmental unit of the state to satisfy a tax liability.
      • (c) Any other garnishments, in the order in which they are served.
    • (3) Except as otherwise provided by statute, a plaintiff shall pay a fee of $6.00 at the time a writ to the garnishee of garnishment of periodic payments is served upon the garnishee.
    • (4) As used in this section and section 8410a, “periodic payments” means wages, salary, commissions, and other earnings, land contract payments, rent, and other periodic debt or contract payments that are or become payable during the effective period of the writ of garnishment. Periodic payments do not mean any of the following:
      • (a) Payments by a financial institution of interest on a deposit account.
      • (b) Charges made by a financial institution automatically against an account which applies to a debt under an automatic payment authorization executed by the account owner.
      • (c) Payments made by a financial institution to honor a check or draft or to comply with an account holder’s order of withdrawal of funds from an account.
      • (d) Interest earned on a certificate of deposit that is paid into a deposit account.
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  • MCL §600.4015Actions as cause of discipline or discharge of principal defendant from employment; reinstatement; civil action.

    A garnishee defendant shall not use the fact that the principal defendant has had 1 or more actions brought against him under the provisions of this chapter or section 8306 as a cause of discipline or discharge of the principal defendant from employment. A garnishee defendant who violates the provisions of this section shall be required to reinstate the principal defendant to employment and reimburse all compensation lost by the discipline or discharge. The principal defendant may enforce his rights under this section by appropriate civil action.

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  • MCL §600.4021 – Attachment; venue.
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  • MCL §600.4025Venue; garnishment.

    The county which would be a proper county of venue as designated in RJA chapter 16 of an action against the defendant who is garnisheed is a proper county of venue for garnishment if —

    • (1) the county is designated in RJA chapter 16 as a proper county of venue of the action against the principal defendant; or
    • (2) there is no common proper county of venue designated in RJA chapter 16 of an action against the principal and garnishee defendant; or
    • (3) personal jurisdiction cannot be obtained over the principal defendant.
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  • MCL §600.4031 - Exemptions; attachment and garnishment; partial exemptions.
     

    • (1) The provisions of the statutes relating to exemptions from execution, and the manner of levying upon property belonging to a class or species in which exemptions are by law allowed, shall be applicable to the application of property and obligations to claims by attachment and garnishment.
    • (2) In any garnishment proceeding where the indebtedness of the garnishee to the principal defendant is money owed to the principal defendant on account of
      • (a) the sale to the garnishee of milk or cream or both produced on the farm or farms of the principal defendant, the garnishee’s liability to the plaintiff is limited to 40% of such money;
      • (b) personal labor performed by the principal defendant or his family, the garnishee’s liability to the plaintiff is limited by the exemptions allowed under section 7511.
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  • MCL §600.4035 – Attachment; effect; personalty; realty.
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  • MCL §600.4041 – Attachment on realty; discharge.
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  • MCL §600.4045Attachment or garnishment; dissolution by bond.

    In every case where property is attached or garnishment is served, the attachment or garnishment may be dissolved by the posting of a bond in accordance with the rules of the supreme court.

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  • MCL §600.4051False answer by garnishee or agent; civil liability.

    Any person summoned as a garnishee or any officer, agent, or other person who appears and answers for a corporation summoned as a garnishee, who knowingly and wilfully answers falsely upon his disclosure or examination on oath is liable to the plaintiff in garnishment, or to his executors or administrators, to pay out of his own goods and estate the full amount due on the judgment recovered with interest, to be recovered in a civil action.

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  • MCL §600.4061Garnishment against state; employees designated to receive process; procedures.
     

    • (1) A plaintiff shall serve garnishment process issued from a court in Michigan against the state of Michigan upon the state treasurer or other state employee designated by the state treasurer to receive garnishment process. The state treasurer shall designate as many employees as he or she considers necessary to receive garnishment process, at least 2 of whom shall have offices in Lansing.
    • (2) The state treasurer shall designate the employees under subsection (1) in writing and maintain a copy of the written designation in the state treasurer’s office. If the state treasurer revokes the designation, the revocation shall be made in the same manner as the designation. If a designated employee ceases to be employed by the state treasurer to receive process under subsection (1), the designation of that person is revoked immediately upon termination of his or her employment.
    • (3) In a garnishment proceeding in which the state is the garnishee, a plaintiff shall do all of the following:
      • (a) Serve upon the state treasurer or designated employee a writ of garnishment that includes a verified statement signed by the plaintiff, or his or her attorney or agent, identifying the full amount including interest and taxed costs, claimed by the plaintiff to be due upon the judgment against the defendant.
      • (b) At the time of service of the writ of garnishment, pay to the state treasurer or designated employee a fee of $6.00.
      • (c) Within 7 days after service of the writ of garnishment on the state treasurer or designated employee, do both of the following:
        • (i) If the writ of garnishment is for a state tax refund or credit, serve a copy of the writ of garnishment upon the defendant in the manner prescribed by the Michigan court rules.
        • (ii) Serve upon the state treasurer any discovery request for information related to the garnishment proceeding that may be in the possession of the department of treasury.
    • (4) After receiving a discovery request pursuant to subsection (3)(c), the state treasurer shall provide only that information in the possession of the department of treasury that is not otherwise exempted by law from disclosure. The plaintiff shall pay to the state treasurer the reasonable costs incurred by the state treasurer in providing the requested information.
    • (5) After receiving service of a writ of garnishment as provided in subsection (3), the state treasurer or designated employee shall do 1 of the following:
      • (a) If the writ is not for the garnishment of a state tax refund or credit, respond in the manner prescribed for garnishment procedures under the Michigan court rules.
      • (b) If the writ is for garnishment of a state tax refund, respond in the manner prescribed by section 4061a.

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  • MCL §600.4061aInterception of state tax refund or credit.
     

    • (1) The state treasurer shall intercept a state tax refund or credit that is subject to a writ of garnishment served upon the state treasurer pursuant to section 4061. Upon intercepting a state tax refund or credit pursuant to a writ of garnishment, the state treasurer shall do all of the following:
      • (a) Calculate the amount available from the interception to satisfy all or part of the garnishment, and within 90 days after establishing other liability for which the state tax refund or credit may be applied under section 30a of Act No. 122 of the Public Acts of 1941, being section 205.30a of the Michigan Compiled Laws, do both of the following:
        • (i) File with the court a verified disclosure that identifies the intercepted amount, less any setoff, counterclaim, or other demand of the state against the defendant.
        • (ii) Serve upon the plaintiff and defendant a copy of the disclosure described in subparagraph (i).
      • (b) Unless notified by the court that objections to the writ of garnishment have been filed, deposit the amount available for the garnishment with either of the following pursuant to the terms of the writ not less than 28 days after filing the disclosure pursuant to subdivision (a):
        • (i) The clerk of the court.
        • (ii) The plaintiff’s attorney of record in the garnishment action, or, if the plaintiff is not represented by counsel, the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s designee.
    • (2) Objections to the writ of garnishment of a tax refund shall be filed with the court within 14 days after the date of service of the disclosure on the defendant.
    • (3) If an interception of a state tax refund or credit does not occur before October 31 of the year during which a writ of garnishment for a state tax refund or credit is to be processed, both of the following apply:
      • (a) The state treasurer is not required to provide to the defendant or file with the court a disclosure.
      • (b) The state treasurer is not required to provide to the plaintiff a disclosure unless the plaintiff provides the state treasurer with a written request for a disclosure between November 1 and December 31 of the tax year following the tax year for which a writ of garnishment of a state tax refund or credit was filed.
    • (4) A disclosure described in subsection (1) is not required to be made under oath.
    • (5) The state’s liability to the plaintiff under a writ of garnishment issued under this section is limited to the amount of the tax refund or credit due to the defendant for the period the writ is in effect, less any setoff, counterclaim, or other demand of the state against the defendant. As used in this subsection, “state” includes the state treasurer.
    • (6) If all or a portion of an intercepted state tax refund or credit is deposited with the clerk of the court under subsection (1), the court shall convey the deposited amount to the plaintiff’s attorney of record in the garnishment action or, if the plaintiff is not represented by counsel, to the plaintiff.
    • (7) Michigan court rules that do not conflict with this section or section 4061 govern a garnishment in which the state is a garnishee.
    • (8) As used in this section, “state treasurer” includes an employee designated by the state treasurer to act on his or her behalf.
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  • MCL §600.4065

    Evidence in criminal proceedings; disclosure.No disclosure made under the provisions of the garnishment statutes or rules shall be used in evidence upon a criminal prosecution except upon a prosecution of the garnishee for perjury in making his disclosure.

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Written by Tom Fox

February 27, 2009 at 6:44 pm

9 Responses

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  1. We have 3K judgement against self employed roofer who re-roofed an insurance agency building, agency owner answered our garnishment stating that the agency owner paid the roofer’s bills including laborers, materials, truck repair, rent, bond money, and send a $100 check to us. What recourse do we have against the insurance agency owner? How can we “hold him in contempt of court?” Isn’t that the judge’s job?

    MNM

    October 20, 2009 at 11:59 pm

  2. Can my EITC be garnished?

    Melody

    January 13, 2010 at 1:26 am

  3. I am looking for the procedure for garnishment of a State of Michigan employee.

    Chuck Waber

    February 24, 2010 at 12:05 am

  4. who is liable for payment on a garnishment? Are joing account holders liable?

    Rudy Guillen

    August 3, 2010 at 4:17 pm

  5. can sick pay be garnished in the state of michigan? I have been on sick leave for 10 months..

    Jim Shory

    March 18, 2011 at 11:30 am

  6. Can a legel malpractice award be garnished?

    Paul Kashat

    September 10, 2012 at 4:52 pm

  7. IF they are already garnishing your state taxes, can they also garnish money from your checking account also?

    ann marie smith

    November 16, 2013 at 5:19 pm

  8. How long dose a wit of garn-income tax issued expires ?

    seluckett

    November 26, 2013 at 5:51 am

    • Liens against Federal Income Tax refunds are administered through the Treasury Offset Program

      http://www.fms.treas.gov/debt/top.html

      “Fiscal Service transmits amounts collected through offset to the appropriate creditor agencies. Fiscal Service maintains information about the delinquent debt in the TOP delinquent debtor database and continues to offset eligible federal payments until the creditor agency suspends or terminates debt collection or offset activity for the debt. A creditor agency will suspend collection if the debt is subject to a bankruptcy stay or if other reasons justify suspension. A creditor agency will terminate collection of a debt if it is paid in full, compromised, discharged, or if other reasons justify termination.

      Tom Fox

      November 26, 2013 at 7:23 pm


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