Garnishment – Award of Costs to Garnisher

Townsquare Media Tuscaloosa License, LLC v. Moore, [Ms. 2210386, Oct. 7, 2022] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. Civ. App. 2022). The court (Fridy, J.; Thompson, P.J., and Hanson, J., concur; Moore and Edwards, JJ., concur in the result) affirms the Tuscaloosa Circuit Court’s judgment against the garnishee issued to collect a judgment against the former husband in a divorce proceeding. The garnishee, Townsquare Media Tuscaloosa License, LLC (“Townsquare”) failed to respond to the initial process of garnishment within 30 days of service. Ms. *2. After a conditional judgment was entered, Townsquare filed an answer and motion to set aside the conditional judgment asserting that the former husband was not employed by it at the time it was served with the garnishment. Ms. *3.

The court rejects Townsquare’s argument that the circuit court was required to set aside the conditional judgment because it answered within 30 days of its entry:

The plain language of § 6-6-457 [Ala. Code 1975] mandates that a final judgment must be entered if a garnishee does not answer or appear within thirty days of the entry of a conditional judgment. Contrary to Townsquare’s assertion, however, the inverse is not true; that is to say, no language in § 6-6-457 requires a trial court to set aside a conditional judgment simply because a garnishee has answered within the time allotted. Likewise, Olson [v. Field Enterprises Educational Corp., 45 Ala. App. 438, 231 So. 2d 765 (Civ. App. 1970] requires that a trial court wait thirty days before making a conditional judgment final. However, Olson does not support the proposition that the trial court must set aside a conditional judgment once the garnishee timely answers.

Ms. *8.

The court rejects Townsquare’s merits defense because it failed to provide the court transcripts of the evidentiary hearings, the court could not “determine whether there was evidence from which the trial court could have disbelieved Townsquare’s assertion that it was not indebted to the former husband and therefore was not liable to Moore for $25,000 plus costs. Thus, Townsquare has failed to provide us with a basis for reversing the final judgment. See Quick v. Burton, 960 So. 2d 678, 680-81 (Ala. Civ. App. 2006).” Ms. *11.

Finally, the court holds “[a] trial court may award costs to a successful garnisher.” Ms. *11.

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