Of Debts-and Jerry Jones’ Airplane

More proof collecting debt in Dallas can be fun.

A client in California had obtained a judgment using another law firm about 11 years ago. Judgments are only good for 10 years and then they become dormant for two years before they are no longer valid.  So after we were hired to work on this case we filed a motion to revive the judgment and began researching the defendants.

The defendants had done a great job of making themselves appear destitute. But in searching the Dallas Business Journal we discovered an article about the defendants where they had purchased an airplane from Jerry Jones. Mr. Jones owns the Dallas Cowboys, so we figured these debtors had come into some money.

So, in addition to the usual approach of inundating the defendants with post-judgment discovery,  we issued a deposition subpoena for Mr. Jones and to the author of the Dallas Business Journal article to give each of them a chance to testify about the airplane transaction.

Needless to say, this upset the judgment debtors’ apple cart. They then filed a flurry of motions trying to block our attempts to learn about the airplane transaction and to stop us from digging “too deep,” as their lawyer would say.  But time after time the Judge agreed with us that we were entitled to any and all information about their financial lives.

After we began obtaining the evidence, it was clear that these defendants were doing quite well in their business and it was obvious that collecting this judgment was just a matter of time. So we pressed the subpoena for Mr. Jones and for others related to him.

In the face of those subpoenas and the repeated losses at the courthouse, the defendants eventually settled with the client on a basis the client found most favorable.

A relentless and aggressive approach in these matters is very often the only chance you have of recovering the debt.  Many times, at first glance, debtors appear to be unable to pay.  The path of least resistance is to let it go.  But no one ever collected a debt by “letting it go.”

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