Reducing A Claim To Judgment

While you may be owed money the combination of facts of the case are important to recovery against another party or parties. Also, the legal theory forming the basis of a lawsuit. There are a number of ways that a creditor can reduce a claim against a consumer or corporate debtor to an enforceable judgment. The most common approach is to file suit based upon a theory of recovery against the individual who owes the debt in a court of appropriate jurisdiction (District Court, Court of Common Pleas, Municipal Court or Small Claims Division). When filing suit against a debtor, there are a number of theories of relief, including, but not limited to:

  • Suit on an account
  • Suit on a promissory note
  • Breach of contract

In instances where a debtor is a corporation that may have sufficient assets to satisfy a creditor's claim, courts may allow a creditor to "pierce the corporate veil," which allows a creditor to hold an individual shareholder(s) or principal(s) accountable for the debt. Once a claim has been reduced to judgment, a creditor can then proceed with the necessary steps to execute upon the judgment against the debtor.

This is also true in many consumer transactions as well. For example a contractor may have performed repairs on a person's home or a mechanic did additional work, but there was no written contract. The law recognizes there are circumstances that require fairness or what the law refers to as equity. This is known in the law as an equitable doctrine based on the principle that one should not be "unjustly enriched" at the expense of another without receiving compensation for the reasonable value of goods or services rendered. As such it is important to consult with an attorney before you decide that your claim does not have value because you don't have a written contract or that you performed services beyond the scope of the agreement. You can consult with an attorney free of charge to determine if your claim is worth pursuing.