Document Type

Response or Comment

Publication Date



Garnishment is a proceeding provided by statutes found in every state, for the purpose of laying hold of something belonging to a defendant or judgment debtor but actually in the hands of someone else, and appropriating it to pay the debt due from the defendant or judgment debtor. If the proceeding is instituted ancillary to a pending suit, and before judgment, it is a species of attachment. If it is issued ancillary to a judgment already recovered it is a species of execution. If the third person summoned as garnishee is merely bailee of property belonging to the judgment debtor or defendant the garnishment differs from an actual levy into the hands of the sheriff under an attachment or execution only in the fact that the actual custody and possession remain with the garnishee instead of passing to the hands of the sheriff. If the garnishee has nothing in his hands belonging to the principal defendant and is only indebted to him, the garnishment merely stops payment, creates a lien on the sum due, and eventually causes the garnishee to pay into court for the benefit of the plaintiff instead of paying to the defendant according to his original liability. To repeat, it is in substance a seizure of the principal defendant's goods or choses in all cases, and appropriation of them to satisfaction of his obligations.