Can Creditor Make You Attend Post-Judgment Deposition In Another State?

Here is a straight forward, frequent question from one of my asset protection clients pertaining to the location of discovery in execution of a civil judgment. There is a civil judgment against my client in the state of Tennessee. The client moved to Florida where he resides and works at his new job. The creditor attorney in Tennessee sent the client a notice of taking the client’s deposition in Tennessee to discovery his assets. Here, this is called discovery in aid of execution. The client wants to know if the creditor can force him to travel to Tennessee to sit for his deposition there, or if the creditor has to first domesticate the judgment in Florida and take his deposition in the Florida county where he resides.

In my experience, the answer varies depending upon the judge in the case. Some judges in the debtor’s former residence will issue an order requiring attending in the former state given that his court has established jurisdiction over the debtor. Non-compliance with the order would subject the debtor to contempt sanctions. Other judges will refuse to compel the debtor to return to his former residence and instruct the creditor to pursue collection in Florida. If a court does order the debtor to travel to the former residence the debtor might request the creditor pay travel expenses.

If foreign court compels attendance at a post-judgment deposition the debtor should comply whether or not the court permits travel reimbursement. The debtor will eventually have to subject himself to post-judgment asset discover. The debtor’s assets and his answers to the creditors questions should be the same wherever the discovery takes place.

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