Judgments and Enforcement:
A judgment issued by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia or the District Court of the United States may be enforced for a period of twelve (12) years. (D.C. 15-103.) All final judgments may become a lien on the real property of a judgment debtor for 12 years upon the filing and recording thereof at the Office of Recorder of Deeds. (D.C. 15-102.) The D.C. Code contains no provision for the revival of dormant judgments.
A judgment creditor may enforce the judgment against the judgment debtor’s non-exempt personal property upon the issuance by the Superior Court or the District Court a writ of fieri facias. (D.C. 15-307) The wages of a judgment debtor may also be garnished but only to the extent of 25% of a debtor’s disposable wages that week or the amount by which disposable wages for that week exceeds 30 times Federal minimum hourly wage, whichever is less. (D.C. 16-572.)
The District Of Columbia generally adopts the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act. (D.C. 15-351, et seq.) Any judgment, decree or order of a court of the United States or of any other court is entitled to full faith and credit in the District Of Columbia. (D.C. 15-351(2).)
A judgment creditor seeking to enforce a foreign judgment may file with the appropriate court an authenticated copy of the foreign judgment and an affidavit showing the name and last known post office address of the judgment debtor and the judgment creditor. The clerk of the court and the creditor are required to mail a written notice of the filing of the foreign
judgment to the judgment debtor at the address given. The notice must include the name and post office address of the
judgment creditor and, if the judgment creditor has an attorney in this state, the attorney’s name and address. Lack of mailing
notice of filing by the clerk does not affect the enforcement proceedings if proof of mailing by the judgment creditor has been
filed. (D.C. 15-353.) A judgment so filed has the same effect and is subject to the same procedures, defenses, and proceedings for reopening, vacating, or staying as a judgment of the Superior Court of the District Of Columbia, and may be enforced or satisfied in like manner. (D.C. 15-352.)
Legal rate: 6% per annum if there is no agreement between the parties. (D.C. 28-3302.)
Written Contract rate: A maximum rate of interest of 24% per annum may be charged. (D.C. 28-3301.)
Judgment rate: The rate of interest on a money judgment is 70% of the interest rate set by the Secretary of Treasury for the underpayment or overpayment of tax to Internal Revenue Service, rounded to nearest full percent, if such rate is not fixed by a written contract upon which the judgment was based. (D.C. 28-3302.)
In general, a debtor may claim exemption of his homestead and certain personal property from attachment and execution of a judgment, or in a bankruptcy proceeding. However, the District Of Columbia has no homestead law.
Personal property which may be exempt from levy or sale upon execution, writ of attachment or any process issuing out of any court in the District Of Columbia may include all wearing apparel provided for all persons within the household not exceeding $300 per person in value; all beds, bedding, household furniture and furnishings, sewing machines, radios, stoves, cooking utensils, not exceeding $300 in value; provisions for three months’ support; fuel for three months; mechanics’ tools and implements of the debtor’s trade or business amounting to $200 in value; library, office furniture, and implements of a professional man or artist, not exceeding $300 in value; one automobile or motor-controlled vehicle not exceeding $500 in value if used principally by the debtor in his trade or business; all family pictures; and all family library materials not exceeding $400 in value. (D.C. 15-501.) In addition, certain insurance, public assistance and unemployment compensation benefits are generally exempt. (D.C. 35-521, 46-119[b].)
Statutes of Limitation:
Civil actions generally can be commenced only within certain time limitations. The time generally runs from the date a cause of action accrues or from the date injury or damages are discovered or should have been discovered.
When a cause of action accrues is a critical issue and may be different on a case by case basis. A creditor should always consult actual legal counsel to determine its right to action under the applicable statutes. Some of the time limitations relevant to credit and collection matters are as follows:
Wills, covenants or other instrument under seal 12 years
Injuries to personal property 3 years
Simple contract, express or implied 3 years
Limitation not otherwise provided 3 years