Debt Collections During COVID-19: State and Local Limitations

As the global coronavirus pandemic continues, many states and local court systems have implemented new rules on debt collection and post-judgment remedies during the pandemic. Some states have temporarily halted debt collection, while others have limited the seizure of certain assets.

Here are the rules that some states and local court systems have already enacted to protect individuals from creditors:

Massachusetts – One of the first states to take action to limit debt collection, the Massachusetts Attorney General prohibited debt collectors from initiating new collection lawsuits, garnishments, seizures, or attachments during the health emergency.

New Mexico – Effective June 8, 2020, New Mexico’s Supreme Court suspended the issuance of new writs of garnishment and writs of execution for consumer debt collection until further notice.

Pennsylvania – By order from the President Judge for the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, no new writs of execution or attachment seeking the enforcement of money judgments will be issued until further order from the court. In addition, any writs of execution already issued but not served will not be served until further order from the court.

Washington, D.C. – As part of a number of measures passed by the mayor, creditors and collectors are prohibited from initiating or threatening a collections lawsuit, or acting upon a garnishment, seizure, attachment, or repossession during the health emergency and for 60 days thereafter.

Given the economic toll that the coronavirus will inevitably have on individuals and the call for a moratorium on debt collection by bar associations and city councils alike, more states are likely to enact at least some limitations or temporary stays on collections proceedings.

Ansa Assuncao, LLP continues to monitor the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on post-judgment remedies and collections proceedings. Our legal team can help navigate and advise on the legal issues arising from the coronavirus pandemic. Contact our legal team for assistance.

Tanisha A. Williams is an Associate in our Pennsylvania office.