Service of Process
Writ of Garnishment
A writ of garnishment is a process by which
the court orders the seizure or attachment of the property of a
defendant or judgment debtor in the possession or control of a third
party. The garnishee is the person or corporation in possession of the
property of the defendant or judgment debtor.
In accordance with Rule 64 of the
Rules of Civil Procedure, a writ of garnishment may be issued pre-
or post-judgment, according to state law and practice.
The requesting party may be required to
provide an indemnity bond and an advance deposit to cover the U.S.
Marshal's estimated out-of-pocket expenses.
Under Rule 69 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, any process issued to enforce a judgment for the payment of
money is called a writ of execution. Consequently, in federal practice,
there are no post-judgment writs of attachment or garnishment. Rather,
the writ of attachment is denominated a writ of execution. Regardless of
this denomination, however, enforcement of the writ is governed by state
law as applicable to the analogous state law writ and procedure. Thus, a
writ issued by a federal district court in Florida for enforcement of a
judgment by garnishment will be called a writ of execution, but the U.S.
Marshals Service will enforce the writ according to Florida state
procedures for garnishment.
The writ is normally limited to execution
within the state in which the district court is located unless extended
by federal statute, rule or court order.
The clerk of the U.S. District or Bankruptcy
Court will issue the writ, under seal, at the request of a party, upon
order of a judge.
The writ is served by the U.S. Marshal, another person, presumably a law
enforcement officer, specially appointed by the court under the
Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 4.1(a).
Manner of Service:
writ may be served on the person named or his or her agent. Where a
corporation is the named garnishee, the U.S. Marshal may serve the
president, vice president, an officer, or any person authorized to
accept service on behalf of the corporation. Where an individual's
salary is being garnished, the U.S. Marshal may serve the pay master.
Service usually involves locating, identifying, and personally
presenting the writ to the named party(ies); physically locating the
property; identifying it as garnished; making an inventory; posting the
writ and public notice of attachment; and placing the property under the
control of the U.S. Marshal pending further instruction by the court.
There is a distinction between garnishment
on wages and garnishment on property. The former places the
responsibility upon the employer to collect the debtor's wages, while
the latter means the U.S. Marshal must attach material property of the
debtor equal to the value of the debt.
individual who effects service will provide proof of service by
recording on the writ a description of the action taken in accordance
with the instructions contained in it.
Note: The information related to the service of
court process that is contained on this web site is general information
and not intended to be an exhaustive or definitive explanation or depiction
of Federal rules of procedures for the service of process.
Readers are directed to the Federal Rules of Criminal and
Civil Procedure; personal legal counsel; the United States Code, Titles 18 and 28;
U.S. Attorney's Office and District Court for
specific, authoritative guidance.