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SB 0443 - Garnishment Proceedings; revise; uniform procedures for garnishment actions; provide

Tracking Level: Monitor
Sponsor: Jesse Stone
Last Action: 1/1/2021 - Effective Date
Senate Committee: Judiciary
House Committee: Judiciary
Assigned To:
05. Superior CourtsNext Bill
06. State CourtsNext Bill
09. Magistrate CourtsNext Bill
CivilNext Bill

Staff Analysis of the Legislation


SB 443 amends Chapter 4 of Title 18 of the OCGA to revise several provisions related to garnishment proceedings. The bill states that the Civil Practice Act shall only apply in proceedings in superior and state courts. The bill also makes it so that that a person or entity not originally named as a garnishee in an action may not be added as a garnishee by any amended pleading unless it is shown that the amended pleading was done to correct or clarify the identity of an intended garnishee. SB 443 further clarifies which costs may be added to subsequent garnishment balances, and that collateral in the hands of a creditor is not subject to garnishment as long as there is a balance owed to the creditor even if that balance is not due. The bill extends the length of continuing garnishments from six months to three years and provides exemptions to current time limits for additional or renewed summons in single garnishments to account for this extended timeline. The bill provides a definition for “private student loan” and reduces the maximum amount of income that can be subject to garnishments arising from one of these loans. SB 443 clarifies when a garnishee may answer a summons without liability for lack of knowledge of a defendant's disposable earnings. The bill also establishes a form that is to be used when the parties agree to lower the garnishment from the statutorily allowed maximum and provides guidelines regarding the form. SB 443 also provides several modifications and clarifications regarding notice including relaxing the requirements regarding proof that a defendant has received notice. The bill states that garnishees are allowed to a physical answer and that courts may not reject such filling even when the court is overwise subject to e-filling requirements. Additionally, any individual or organization providing payroll services to a garnishee has been added to the list of entities that can file answers on behalf of that garnishee. The bill also allows a court to decline to hear or issue a denial of a defendant's claim which is filed after the dismissal of a garnishment action against the defendant. Except in instances of continuing garnishments, courts are allowed to decline or dismiss any claim filed by defendant which comes after a judgment is entered, an order to disburse funds is issued, or money or other property subject to garnishment is distributed by the court. The bill further states that no claim by a defendant can succeed if it was capable of being raised and adjudicated in any clam previously made in the same garnishment action by the defendant. SB 443 also states that a defendant may file a transverse against a garnishee's motion to modify a default judgment and outlines how the transverse is to be adjudicated. SB 443 removes the court’s discretion to disallow the amendment of a summons of garnishment when the amount shown to be due on a plaintiff's affidavit is incorrect. The bill also provides clarification on when. SB 443 makes several modifications to Code Section 18-4-23 of the OCGA relating to relief of liability in garnishment proceedings. The bill states that plaintiffs are entitled the process of continuing garnishments against both employees of and people who are “under periodic obligations for payment” to the defendant. Finally, SB 443 updates relevant forms to confirm to changes to the law made by the bill.

Bill Summary from the State Site - Click for the State Summary Page / Click for Current Full Text