I am not a lawyer, I am a judgment broker. This article is my opinion, based on my experience in California, and laws vary in each state. If you ever need legal advice or a legal strategy to use, please contact a lawyer.
An Elisor is court-appointed person who substitutes their signature for another person on documents, when that person cannot, should not, or will not sign them.
Sometimes an Elisor stands in the shoes of a Sheriff or a coroner (when they are unavailable or unqualified) for the specific action of signing documents required to comply with a court order.
Elisor laws are usually similar nationwide, however they vary in most states. In California, CCP 262.8 (c) specifies that when “a Sheriff or a coroner is a party, and there is a vacancy in the office of the other, or where it appears, by affidavit, to the satisfaction of the court in which the proceeding is pending, or the judge thereof, that both of these officers are disqualified, or by reason of any bias, prejudice, or other cause, would not act promptly or impartially.”
California CCP 262.8 (c) might be useful if a Sheriff or a coroner are parties to a matter, and an affidavit is submitted to the court that claims they might act in a way contrary to what their duties require.
One obvious example where CCP 262.8 (c) is handy, is when there is a business owned by a judgment debtor Sheriff or a coroner. Another is when a Sheriff or a coroner is a party to a lawsuit, another is when there is an assumed bias. An example of bias could be if a Sheriff is not cooperating with a court order to sell at auction, an asset belonging to a relative of the Sheriff.
Depending on your location, Elisor laws might help if one lives in a county where the Sheriff refuses to arrest someone after the issuance of a bench warrant. Perhaps one could ask a court to appoint an Elisor Sheriff to actually arrest a judgment debtor (having a current bench warrant for their arrest) and take them into custody. This does not work in (e.g., California) counties where there is no room for civil contemners in the jails.
What if your judgment debtor owns shares of stock in a closely held company, and you cannot find the “physical certificates”? Note that you do not always need the certificates of a closely held corporation. Certificates are evidence of ownership, not legal proof of ownership. Some corporations never issue physical stock certificates.
If you do need physical certificates (I am not a lawyer), perhaps you could get a turnover order first, and:
A) If the judgment debtor’s shares are turned over to you or the Sheriff, that is great.
B) If the shares are not turned over because the certificates have not yet been issued, then an order against the corporation to issue the share certificates might be appropriate.
C) If the corporation does not comply, then seek an Elisor order:
1 – File the motion of Elisor, stating the judgment debtor failed to comply, and a clerk of the court should be allowed to sign on behalf of the debtor by order of the court. Have the judge sign your order.
2 – Have the court clerk sign the blank stock shares that you provide.
3 – File the signed shares with the Secretary of State. Note that many Secretary Of State (SOS) office no longer offer counter service any more. They have a drop off box, and you can pay them (e.g.) $5 to fax the information to you. Make sure to include your fax number in the requestor information area. Often, you can request a statement of information over the counter for viewing purposes only. They do allow individuals to take a picture of the statement of information or any other documents regardless of whether or not certified documents are ordered. Also available for viewing are the articles of incorporation on both microfiche or paper. The SOS will not let you take sample copies with you. They require that you order certified or non-certified copies and wait the 5-7 days or longer it takes to pick them up or mail them out.
4 – Set up a corporate board meeting, perhaps fire the current board, and liquidate the judgment debtor’s corporate assets.
What if your judgment debtor will not sign a property transfer agreement or receipt after you were the winning bidder at a sheriff sale? File a motion of Elisor, and ask a court to appoint a clerk to sign on behalf of the judgment debtor.
An Elisor order might be useful when a party does not return property as specified by a court order.
In divorces, when one spouse will not sign over the ordered share of a property or a business, an Elisor order can solve the problem and make the transaction legal, because it is a court order.