I am not a lawyer, but I have observed all sides of the judgment business, and seen countless judgments. Recently (at the time of the first version of this article) a court in Indiana defined a final judgment to generally be equivalent to cash, even though the majority of federal and state courts have consistently disagreed with this assertion.
An isolated decision in one court may affect the opinions of other courts, judges, UPL (Unauthorized Practice of Law) committees, and bar associates. Such entities have varying opinions about what legally constitutes an outright judgment purchase.
With any payment arrangement other than a cash up-front outright full purchase, there is a misinformed perception that such a purchase might possibly be UPL (the Unauthorized Practice of Law).
When one considers what constitutes an outright purchase of a judgment, one should look closely to what a judgment really is from the day of award all the way to the day there is a possible judgment satisfaction.
Except for those brand new to judgments, most people know getting a judgment awarded means almost nothing financially, and an eventual successful recovery of the judgment means everything.
When a judgment is awarded by a court, it is nothing more than a piece of paper with a stated amount. A judgment lists the dollar amount of principle owed, the court costs, interest, and attorney fees, with a final tally or total dollar amount. A paper judgment, without a successful enforcement against a debtor with assets, is worth almost nothing.
For some reason some attorneys, bar associations, UPL committees, Original Judgment Creditors (OJCs), and even new judgment enforcers seem to perceive the value of a judgment as if it were a certificate of deposit, stock certificate, savings bond, cashiers check, or a money order. It is almost as if they think they can redeem a judgment for cash at the nearest bank.
Judgments are not negotiable instruments, nor will they ever be redeemable at a bank. For all practical purposes, it is as if the words “non-negotiable” are written on judgments in big red letters.
No one, whether they be a Judgment Enforcer, an attorney, or a collection agency; can really force a judgment debtor to pay, unless they find, and have the sheriff seize (available) debtor’s assets. Even then, the debtor has some control of the situation through claims of exemption and bankruptcy laws.
Enforcing or purchasing a judgment is only the beginning of a judgment process, not an end in itself, as many bar associations seem to believe. In theory when a Judgment Enforcer pays more than a penny for a judgment, it is almost as if they have already paid too much for it until some judgment money is recovered.
When a Judgment Enforcer purchases a judgment, they purchase all rights and title to the judgment, with a purchase agreement, signed by both the Judgment Enforcer and the Original Judgment Creditor (OJC), which memorializes the outright purchase.
The private payment terms between a Judgment Enforcer and an OJC should not become a consideration for a court or any other entity.
Even bar associations recognize outright purchases of all rights and title to a judgment as meeting the requirements for an outright purchase, without being even remotely related to UPL.