Special Civil Part Court Officer Post-Judgment Dollarage and Mileage in New Jersey

Special Civil Part Court Officers are unsalaried independent contractors who are officers of the court.

They serve or execute process, writs, orders, executions, notices and warrants for removal in landlord/tenant eviction cases as ordered by the Court.

Their income consists of statutory fees paid by litigants for service of process issued by the Court, retention of a percentage of the money they collect pursuant to writs of execution, and fees for serving and executing warrants for removal in tenancy actions.[1]

New Jersey Statutes Annotated 22A:2-37.2 governs Superior Court Special Civil Part Court Officer fees in connection with various functions (both pre and post judgment). [2]

This statute entitles Special Civil Part Court Officers to a commission (referred to as “dollarage”) equal to 10% of every dollar collected on execution, writ of attachment or any order issued and assigned to that court officer when the writ “may be the effective cause in producing payment or settlement of a judgment or attachment.”

Although the court officer’s statutory commission (“dollarage”) is included as part of the total writ balance, it belongs to the court officer – not the judgment creditor. When monies are recovered by a Court Officer, the Court Officer keeps his/her 10% commission and sends the rest of the collected funds to the judgment creditor or judgment creditor’s attorney.

In some instances, accounts are resolved/settled with judgment debtors by the judgment creditor’s attorney after a writ of execution has been issued to a court officer. Indeed, writs of execution often prompt judgment debtors to contact the judgment creditor’s attorney in an effort to resolve such cases.

Because New Jersey law requires payment of the court officer’s commission whenever a writ of execution is the cause of a collection/settlement, the statutory 10% commission must be paid to a court officer whenever payment is received directly from a judgment debtor.

Court officers are also entitled to “mileage” – a fee for the distance traveled in serving or executing any process, writ, order, execution, notice or warrant. “Mileage for Special Civil Part Court Officers is calculated based on the distance between the courthouse to the center of the destination (town or location).” [3]

Special Civil Part Court Officers are paid mileage at the same rate as is set for State employees, rounded upward to the nearest dollar.[4]  

Effective July 1, 2019, the mileage rate for Special Civil Part Court Officers increased from $0.31 to $0.35 per mile.[5]

Mileage lists are published on the New Jersey Judiciary’s web page (njcourts.gov).[6]

1 N.J.S.A. §22A:2-37.2(c); Notice of Special Civil Part Court Officer Appointment Opportunity, Special Civil Part Essex County

[2] N.J.S.A. §22A:2-37.2(c) provides, in relevant part:

[T]he following fees for officers of the Special Civil Part shall be taxed in the costs and collected on execution, writ of attachment or order in the nature of any execution on any final judgment, or on a valid and subsisting levy of an execution or attachment which may be the effective cause in producing payment or settlement of a judgment or attachment:

(3) On every dollar collected on execution, writ of attachment, or any order:          $ 0.10.

[3] Notice to the Bar, “Special Civil Part – Revisions to the Special Civil Part Mileage Lists,” June 25, 2019.

[4] N.J.S.A. §22A:2-37.2(b)

[5] Notice to the Bar, “Special Civil Part – Revisions to the Special Civil Part Mileage Lists,” June 25, 2019.

[6] Mileage lists are also posted at this URL: https://www.njcourts.gov/forms/10537_scp_mileage_list.pdf.

Post Judgment Remedies in New Jersey: Bank Executions

New Jersey law permits judgment creditors to levy upon a judgment debtor’s personal property or debts due to the judgment debtor from third parties.[1] Typically, this involves a levy upon a bank account (although levies can be made upon commissions due, rents due, etc.).

“A levy pursuant to a writ of execution is the court officer’s method of taking control of property.”[2]

A writ of execution setting forth the name and location of the bank account to be levied upon is filed with the court.  After the writ is processed by the court, it is issued to a court officer or sheriff, who then serves the execution upon the judgment debtor’s bank.

If a successful levy is made, the court officer or sheriff sends an affidavit of levy to the judgment creditor’s attorney setting forth the date and amount of the monies attached. The judgment debtor’s account is now “frozen” up to the amount levied upon; these funds are unavailable to the judgment debtor.  

On the date the levy is made, the court officer levying on the account must mail a notice to the last known address of the person (or business entity) whose account was levied upon. This notice must state that a levy was made, describe exemptions from levy and how such exemptions may be claimed.[3]

After receiving a copy of the court officer’s affidavit of levy, a motion for a “turnoverorder must be filed. The turnover motion seeks a court order directing the bank (or other third party) to turn over the monies levied upon to the court officer or sheriff. As one judge put it, “[t]he turnover proceeding is the mechanism by which courts … direct a bank holding the debtor’s funds to pay those funds over to creditors rather than to the debtor.”[4] 

New Jersey Court Rules provide, however, that “no turnover of funds…may be made, in any case, until 20 days after the date of the levy and the court has received a copy of the properly completed notice to debtor.” [5]

Entry of the turnover order creates an obligation for the bank to turn the money over the levying creditor.

Once the court officer receives a filed copy of the court order, he or she recovers the monies from the bank (or other third party) and remits the same to the creditor or creditor’s attorney.

[1] N.J.S.A. §2A:17-63. This statute provides:

Order to garnishee to pay debt After a levy upon a debt due or accruing to the judgment debtor from a third person, herein called the garnishee, the court may upon notice to the garnishee and the judgment debtor, and if the garnishee admits the debt, direct the debt, to an amount not exceeding the sum sufficient to satisfy the execution, to be paid to the officer holding the execution or to the receiver appointed by the court, either in 1 payment or in installments as the court may deem just.

[2] Sylvan Equip. v. Washington & Son, Inc. 292 N.J. Super. 568, 573 (N.J. Super., 1995)

[3] NJ Court Rule 4:59-1(h)

[4] Judge Donald Steckroth in In re Flores, No. 10-34546, United States Bankruptcy Court (D.N.J. Jan. 6, 2011) citing N.J.S.A. §2A:17-63

[5] NJ Court Rule 4:59-1(h)

Post Judgment Remedies in New Jersey: Wage Executions

A wage execution is an order issued by a judge directing an employer to deduct money from a judgment-debtor’s wages.

N.J.S.A. § 2A:17-50 allows execution (garnishment) of the “wages, debts, earnings, salary, income from trust funds, or profits of the judgment debtor.” The amount to be deducted on a wage execution may not exceed 10% of the defendant’s gross salary. Monies may not be withheld if disposable weekly earnings are less than $217.50 per week or $435.00 every 2 weeks.

The proceedings are initiated by sending the judgment debtor a Notice of Application for wage execution by certified and ordinary mail. The Notice advises the defendant that the judgment creditor is seeking a wage execution order; that the defendant must file a written objection within ten (10) days; that if the defendant objects within ten days, the matter will be scheduled for hearing; and that if no objection is filed, no further notice will be given and an Order will be signed by the Judge as a matter of course.

Once the wage execution is served upon the defendant’s place of business by the court officer or sheriff it becomes a lien and continuing levy upon the defendant’s wages, earnings, salary or profits due. Unlike some other jurisdictions, there is no need to “renew” the wage execution; it remains in effect until it is fully satisfied or the defendant leaves the place of business. Remittances are made by court officers and sheriffs on a regular basis.

Only one wage execution may be satisfied at a time, and such executions are satisfied in the order of priority in which they are served.

Under New Jersey law, the judgment debtor can request–and is entitled to–a hearing to challenge the wage execution even after it is served.

As compensation for an employer’s administrative expenses, the employer is entitled to retain 5% of the funds deducted under a wage execution. N.J.S.A. §2A:17-53.

If the employer or other entity required to make payment fails or refuses to make the deductions/payments required by the execution, the employer may be sued by the judgment creditor. N.J.S.A.§2A:17-54