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Irwin Union Bank and Trust Co. v. Speedy Car Wash

December 16, 2003

IRWIN UNION BANK AND TRUST COMPANY, A WASHINGTON CORPORATION, RESPONDENT,
v.
SPEEDY CAR WASH, INC., A TEXAS CORPORATION, ET AL., DEFENDANTS,
v.
RAYMOND L. ZEUG, APPELLANT.



Hennepin County District Court File No. FJ-03-5007

Considered and decided by Randall, Presiding Judge; Minge, Judge; and Poritsky, Judge.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

A foreign-judgment creditor who seeks to obtain an immediate garnishment summons under Minn. Stat. §§á571.93 and 571.931 is required to file and subsequently serve a summons and complaint in a Minnesota action.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Poritsky, Judge*fn1

Reversed

OPINION

Respondent, a foreign corporation, obtained a default judgment in Texas against appellant. Respondent filed in Hennepin County district court a certified copy of the foreign judgment, together with an ex parte application for prejudgment garnishment of appellant's Minnesota assets. The district court issued an order permitting respondent to immediately issue a garnishment summons. After the summons was served, appellant moved to vacate the garnishment. His motion was denied. Because we hold that for a prejudgment garnishment summons to issue, a summons and complaint in a Minnesota action must be filed and subsequently served, we reverse.

FACTS

In October 2002, respondent Irwin Union Bank and Trust Company ("the bank" or "Union Bank") obtained a default judgment for $66,450 plus interest of $2,731 and attorney fees of $22,150 against appellant Raymond L. Zeug in Bexar County, Texas. Zeug maintained a bank account at the State Bank of Lucan in Lucan, Minnesota.

In March 2003, Union Bank filed with Hennepin County District Court a certified copy of the Texas judgment, an ex parte application for prejudgment garnishment, and a supporting affidavit informing the court that "[the bank] is reliably informed that were.á.á. Zeug given advance notice of a garnishment or other proceedings in Minnesota to domesticate or enforce the Texas judgment, [Zeug] would assign, secrete, or dispose of [his] non-exempt property presently on deposit with the State Bank of Lucan." The bank did not file a Minnesota summons and complaint. The district court, citing the prejudgment garnishment statute (Minn. Stat. §§á571.93,.931,.932, (2002)), authorized the bank to issue a garnishment summons, and the State Bank of Lucan froze Zeug's account. Zeug served and filed a motion to vacate the garnishment. Following a hearing, the district court denied Zeug's motion. He challenges that denial.

ISSUE

May a foreign-judgment creditor garnish the judgment debtor's assets under Minn. Stat. §§á571.93 and 571.931 (2002) without filing and subsequently serving a summons and complaint in a Minnesota action?

ANALYSIS

The construction of a statute is a question of law, which this court reviews de novo. Brookfield Trade Ctr., Inc., v. County of Ramsey, 584 N.W. 2d 390, 393 (Minn. 1998). The facts in this matter are undisputed. Whether a statute applies to the undisputed facts of a case is a question of law; the district court's decision ...


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