Hot Potato Judgments

August 11, 2023


Hot potato judgments are tough judgments that no judgment enforcer, collection agency, or contingency lawyer wants to take or keep. Such judgments are “hot potatoes” because they are passed around quickly, and nobody wants to hold onto them for long. A hot potato judgment is shown to many people who turn it down. Sometimes (and eventually), such judgments are taken by an overly optimistic judgment enforcer; who works on them for a while and recovers nothing, and either flakes, or eventually returns the judgment.

This article is my opinion, and not legal advice. I am a judgment broker, and am not a lawyer. If you ever need any legal advice or a strategy to use, please contact a lawyer. Another name for hot potato judgments is difficult judgments, which describe most judgments these days.

A common pattern is, a judgment creditor has a very old judgment, often renewed, and they will repeat the same kind of story many times: “My judgment debtor is a fraud and transferred his properties to his relatives (e.g.) 15 years ago, and keeps his money overseas”. Most creditors often finish their pitches of hot potato judgments with “My debtor is rich and my judgment will be very easy to recover”.

Such creditors wonder why nobody wants to buy, or attempt to recover their judgment on a contingency basis. Of course, the creditor does not see the big picture, and not a dime has been recovered in (e.g.) 15 years, and this is not an easy judgment to recover. This is a tough judgment that the creditor will be lucky to ever get any money from. Most creditor’s memories are based on their debtor’s past. It is not what the judgment debtor used to own, it is what they own now that counts, here and now in large amounts.

Whack A Kitty

If judgment creditors were consistently told the truth, that (e.g.) their judgment debtor is poor or their assets are too deeply hidden; the judgment owner might not keep wasting time showing their hot potato judgment to so many enforcers. Unfortunately, many judgment enforcers turn down judgments without fully explaining the debtor situation to the creditors.

Some new enforcers, collection agencies, and contingency collection lawyers, start out taking all judgments; then they find out they are too tough, and returns them, or sometimes they even go out of business. Some enforcers only accept easy judgments, rejecting far more than 99% of the judgments they are shown.

The average judgment does not have a judgment debtor with sufficient assets to repay part of, most, or all of the judgment. The problem is, in this economy very few are willing to attempt to recover tough judgments. Judgment recovery experts want the easy ones.

For judgment owners with tough judgments, the battle is not over when you find someone to assign your judgment to, or find an entity to attempt to recover it. You might soon be surprised when they recover nothing and/or return the judgment to you.

Of course, everyone wants easy judgments. When your judgment is large and easy to recover, you can enforce it yourself, hire a lawyer, or find a judgment recovery solution.

With big and easy judgments, judgment brokers know the right experts with the best deals and rates, that make recovering a judgment yourself much less attractive. When you have a judgment debtor with large assets, you hold most of the cards. However, with judgments nothing is guaranteed, and most judgments are tough to recover.

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