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Hello Mr. Hertz

I will be taking both a woman and her daughter-in-law as defendants to small claims court in the future.I am expecting to win a judgement from at least the daughter-in-law for hitting my rear bumper while driving her mother-in-law's car which was uninsured at the time of the accident. A local attorney mentioned I could also file against the girl's mother for negligence from not having an insured vehicle, so unless you think that would be a bad decision to do so I'll pursue the mother in small claims too.

A General Sessions Court clerk told me winning a judgment is easier than getting your money sometimes. He mentioned getting a form(s) from the court and submitting it to various local banks in my city in hopes to locate the defendant(s) bank account(s) to garnish. That seems sort of like hunting for Easter Eggs, especially in a city the size of Nashville, Tennessee. It seems like there should exist more efficient and faster methods for any citizen to search on their own for a defendant's bank account(s) and other assets to garnish if a citizen should win a small claims judgement. I fear hiring private investigators to do so would be more than the cost of my bumper repair.

Thank you for any direction in this matter.  

Mike E.

Probably the best thing would be to see if any of them own real property. You could then file the lien against the property. I guess if I were in your situation I would pick one of those one-line services that says they can locate assets. Usually you can get a trial for a few dollars. Another possibility would be that one of the defendants owns a business or has a job where you can garnish money. Finally you can always assign your judgment to a collection agency. Depending on the amount of the judgment, they'll want anywhere from a quarter to a half of what they collect. I realize that none of these solutions are cheap or easy, but that's the problem with the system.

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Michael T. Hertz


I can answer most questions concerning bankruptcy, whether business or personal, including questions by debtors, creditors, persons interested in purchasing assets from bankruptcy estates, and the like. Also have expertise in tort law, French and Canadian law.


Practiced bankruptcy for 27 years in California and taught bankruptcy for three years in Maine. This included Chapters 7, 9, 11, 12 and 13 cases, representing debtors, creditors (secured and unsecured), bankruptcy trustees, creditors committees, and persons interested in purchasing assets from bankruptcies. Debtors included persons with virtually no money up to large corporations.

Inactive member of the Bar of the State of California. Nonpracticing member of the Bar of Massachusetts. Formerly member of the Maine Bar and conseil juridique in France. Certified by National Committee on Accreditation in Canada.

Georgetown Law Review; California Bankruptcy Journal; Maine Law Review; Dalhousie Law Journal; University of Toronto Law Journal.

Harvard Law School (J.D. 1970; cum laude) and Pomona College (B.A., 1967; cum laude)

Awards and Honors
Selected as a "Superlawyer" in 2005 and 2006 for Northern California.

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