Writ of execution: goodbye airplane.
Writ of execution: A Texas collections lawyer’s friend.
This was an unusual use of a writ of execution. Another lawyer had obtained the judgment, but as is so often the case, was not sure how to collect the judgment. Before doing much we investigated the basic assets of the debtor. The debtor’s homestead was in the country. We hired an investigator to drop by the house to see what the home was like. He observed that the home had access to a small air strip. But we did not see a plane registered to the debtor in the public records we inspected. We asked the investigator to see what he could find out and it turned out that the debtor owned an experimental aircraft that was unregistered, but apparently of great value. He parked the plane at his home in the country. Apparently, he was unconcerned that we could do anything about the aircraft and so he just left it unattended in his yard. In our experience, this is standard debtor behavior. They don’t understand that a motivated creditor can be a disaster for them.
We found a qualified pilot and caused a writ of execution to be issued. Then we headed to his house with the sheriff and the pilot and presented the debtor with the writ of execution. Given the state of the aircraft, we had no actual intention of leaving with the plane, we didn’t know if it was safe to fly. But the debtor had no idea of the bluff.
In the face of losing the airplane to the pilot we brought to his house to fly his plane out of his home airstrip, the matter settled. In about five minutes.
A Writ of execution, when handled precisely, can be very effective. We think of them as rifles, not shotguns.