Legislative Wrap-Up, 0122 ALBJ, Vol. 83 No. 1 Pg. 62 (January, 2022)

PositionVol. 83 1 Pg. 62

Legislative Wrap-Up

No. Vol. 83 No. 1 Pg. 62

Alabama Bar Lawyer

January, 2022



Alabama Law Institute

The council and membership of the Alabama Law Institute met on December 20, 2021. Asa result of the meeting, a new slate of proposals is being put forward for consideration in the 2022 Legislative Session.

These bills represent 3,700 hours of intense effort by more than 122 lawyers who are volunteering their time on drafting committees to improve the laws of our state. We appreciate their efforts.

Also deserving of our appreciation are the legislative members of our Executive Committee who will work to see these efforts through to enactment: Representative Mike Jones, Senator Arthur Orr, Senator Rodger Smitherman, Representative Chris England, and Senator Will Barfoot.

In addition to the new proposals, there were also a couple of bills carried over from the 2021 session being presented again in 2022. The new bills for this session are:

Garnishment Condemnation Request Notification by Posting

Several million dollars is currently being held up in circuit clerks' accounts after being withheld from wages by the employers of judgment debtors. However, our state's circuit clerks are often unable to send the monies along to all the businesses successful in obtaining judgments against those who owe them money because of an inability to get the defendant served for a second time with a garnishment condemnation notice. After five years, the clerk must send the money on to the county commission, never to reach the business that is owed the money. Some of the larger counties are in very difficult positions by individually holding in excess of one million dollars in such funds at any given time.

As a result, the ALI proposes a notification by posting bill, limited in scope to post-trial garnishment condemnation motions. This bill proposes a very simple solution to the often unlikely, if not impossible, second personal service (after initially having been served with the lawsuit, many defendants have moved, quit their jobs, etc.).

The posting of the garnishment notice on the circuit clerk's community-accessible website and on a courthouse community-accessible bulletin board is a realistic approach calculated to provide a reasonable prospect of a defendant having a realistic opportunity to learn of the garnishment condemnation and his/her rights in that process. The bill addresses the constitutional issues raised in cases about the information a defendant must have access to for the notification to be meaningful - such as being apprised of possible exemption opportunities and the right to request a hearing on that issue.

Thirteen states, including Florida, Texas, and Virginia, now have some form of service by posting. This bill is modeled after Michigan's posting law and is appropriately limited in scope, applying only to the post initial service, post-trial stage of litigation. It makes no changes in the pre-judgment requirements for the initial service of lawsuits.

It is important to keep in mind the defendants have already been deprived of the money since it has been withheld from their...

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