New York Civil Practice Law and Rules § 5222. Restraining notice




(a) Issuance;  on whom served;  form;  service.  A restraining notice may be issued by the clerk of the court or the attorney for the judgment creditor as officer of the court, or by the support collection unit designated by the appropriate social services district.  It may be served upon any person, except the employer of a judgment debtor or obligor where the property sought to be restrained consists of wages or salary due or to become due to the judgment debtor or obligor.  It shall be served personally in the same manner as a summons or by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested or if issued by the support collection unit, by regular mail, or by electronic means as set forth in subdivision (g) of this section.  It shall specify all of the parties to the action, the date that the judgment or order was entered, the court in which it was entered, the amount of the judgment or order and the amount then due thereon, the names of all parties in whose favor and against whom the judgment or order was entered, it shall set forth subdivision (b) and shall state that disobedience is punishable as a contempt of court, and it shall contain an original signature or copy of the original signature of the clerk of the court or attorney or the name of the support collection unit which issued it.  Service of a restraining notice upon a department or agency of the state or upon an institution under its direction shall be made by serving a copy upon the head of the department, or the person designated by him or her and upon the state department of audit and control at its office in Albany;  a restraining notice served upon a state board, commission, body or agency which is not within any department of the state shall be made by serving the restraining notice upon the state department of audit and control at its office in Albany.  Service at the office of a department of the state in Albany may be made by the sheriff of any county by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, or if issued by the support collection unit, by regular mail.

(b) Effect of restraint;  prohibition of transfer;  duration.  A judgment debtor or obligor served with a restraining notice is forbidden to make or suffer any sale, assignment, transfer or interference with any property in which he or she has an interest, except as set forth in subdivisions (h) and (i) of this section, and except upon direction of the sheriff or pursuant to an order of the court, until the judgment or order is satisfied or vacated.  A restraining notice served upon a person other than the judgment debtor or obligor is effective only if, at the time of service, he or she owes a debt to the judgment debtor or obligor or he or she is in the possession or custody of property in which he or she knows or has reason to believe the judgment debtor or obligor has an interest, or if the judgment creditor or support collection unit has stated in the notice that a specified debt is owed by the person served to the judgment debtor or obligor or that the judgment debtor or obligor has an interest in specified property in the possession or custody of the person served.  All property in which the judgment debtor or obligor is known or believed to have an interest then in and thereafter coming into the possession or custody of such a person, including any specified in the notice, and all debts of such a person, including any specified in the notice, then due and thereafter coming due to the judgment debtor or obligor, shall be subject to the notice except as set forth in subdivisions (h) and (i) of this section.  Such a person is forbidden to make or suffer any sale, assignment or transfer of, or any interference with, any such property, or pay over or otherwise dispose of any such debt, to any person other than the sheriff or the support collection unit, except as set forth in subdivisions (h) and (i) of this section, and except upon direction of the sheriff or pursuant to an order of the court, until the expiration of one year after the notice is served upon him or her, or until the judgment or order is satisfied or vacated, whichever event first occurs.  A judgment creditor or support collection unit which has specified personal property or debt in a restraining notice shall be liable to the owner of the property or the person to whom the debt is owed, if other than the judgment debtor or obligor, for any damages sustained by reason of the restraint.  If a garnishee served with a restraining notice withholds the payment of money belonging or owed to the judgment debtor or obligor in an amount equal to twice the amount due on the judgment or order, the restraining notice is not effective as to other property or money.

(c) Subsequent notice. Leave of court is required to serve more than one restraining notice upon the same person with respect to the same judgment or order.  A judgment creditor shall not serve more than two restraining notices per year upon a natural person's banking institution account.

(d) Notice to judgment debtor or obligor.  Except where the provisions of section fifty-two hundred twenty-two-a of this article are applicable, pursuant to subdivision (a) of such section, if a notice in the form prescribed in subdivision (e) of this section has not been given to the judgment debtor or obligor within a year before service of a restraining notice, a copy of the restraining notice together with the notice to judgment debtor or obligor shall be mailed by first class mail or personally delivered to each judgment debtor or obligor who is a natural person within four days of the service of the restraining notice.  Such notice shall be mailed to the defendant at his or her residence address;  or in the event such mailing is returned as undeliverable by the post office, or if the residence address of the defendant is unknown, then to the defendant in care of the place of employment of the defendant if known, in an envelope bearing the legend “personal and confidential” and not indicating on the outside thereof, by the return address or otherwise, that the communication is from an attorney or concerns a judgment or order;  or if neither the residence address nor the place of employment of the defendant is known then to the defendant at any other known address.

(e) Content of notice.  The notice required by subdivision (d) of this section shall be in substantially the following form and may be included in the restraining notice:

NOTICE TO JUDGMENT DEBTOR OR OBLIGOR

Money or property belonging to you may have been taken or held in order to satisfy a judgment or order which has been entered against you.  Read this carefully.

YOU MAY BE ABLE TO GET YOUR MONEY BACK

State and federal laws prevent certain money or property from being taken to satisfy judgments or orders.  Such money or property is said to be “exempt”.  The following is a partial list of money which may be exempt:

1. Supplemental security income, (SSI);

2. Social security;

3. Public assistance (welfare);

4. Spousal support, maintenance (alimony) or child support;

5. Unemployment benefits;

6. Disability benefits;

7. Workers' compensation benefits;

8. Public or private pensions;

9. Veterans benefits;

10. Ninety percent of your wages or salary earned in the last sixty days;

11. Twenty-five hundred dollars of any bank account containing statutorily exempt payments that were deposited electronically or by direct deposit within the last forty-five days, including, but not limited to, your social security, supplemental security income, veterans benefits, public assistance, workers' compensation, unemployment insurance, public or private pensions, railroad retirement benefits, black lung benefits, or child support payments;

12. Railroad retirement;  and

13. Black lung benefits.

If you think that any of your money that has been taken or held is exempt, you must act promptly because the money may be applied to the judgment or order.  If you claim that any of your money that has been taken or held is exempt, you may contact the person sending this notice.

Also, YOU MAY CONSULT AN ATTORNEY, INCLUDING ANY FREE LEGAL SERVICES ORGANIZATION IF YOU QUALIFY.  You can also go to court without an attorney to get your money back.  Bring this notice with you when you go.  You are allowed to try to prove to a judge that your money is exempt from collection under New York civil practice law and rules, sections fifty-two hundred twenty-two-a, fifty-two hundred thirty-nine and fifty-two hundred forty.  If you do not have a lawyer, the clerk of the court may give you forms to help you prove your account contains exempt money that the creditor cannot collect. The law (New York civil practice law and rules, article four and sections fifty-two hundred thirty-nine and fifty-two hundred forty) provides a procedure for determination of a claim to an exemption.

(f) For the purposes of this section “order” shall mean an order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction directing the payment of support, alimony or maintenance upon which a “default” as defined in paragraph seven of subdivision (a) of section fifty-two hundred forty-one of this article has been established subject to the procedures established for the determination of a “mistake of fact” for income executions pursuant to subdivision (e) of section fifty-two hundred forty-one of this article except that for the purposes of this section only a default shall not be founded upon retroactive child support obligations as defined in paragraph (a) of subdivision one of section four hundred forty of the family court act and subdivision one of section two hundred forty and paragraph b of subdivision nine of section two hundred thirty-six of the domestic relations law.

(g) Restraining notice in the form of magnetic tape or other electronic means.  Where such person consents thereto in writing, a restraining notice in the form of magnetic tape or other electronic means, as defined in subdivision (f) of rule twenty-one hundred three of this chapter, may be served upon a person other than the judgment debtor or obligor.  A restraining notice in such form shall contain all of the information required to be specified in a restraining notice under subdivision (a), except for the original signature or copy of the original signature of the clerk or attorney who issued the restraining notice.  The provisions of this subdivision notwithstanding, the notice required by subdivisions (d) and (e) shall be given to the judgment debtor or obligor in the written form set forth therein.

(h) Effect of restraint on judgment debtor's banking institution account into which statutorily exempt payments are made electronically or by direct deposit. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (b) of this section, if direct deposit or electronic payments reasonably identifiable as statutorily exempt payments as defined in paragraph two of subdivision (l) of section fifty-two hundred five of this article were made to the judgment debtor's account during the forty-five day period preceding the date that the restraining notice was served on the banking institution, then the banking institution shall not restrain two thousand five hundred dollars in the judgment debtor's account.  If the account contains an amount equal to or less than two thousand five hundred dollars, the account shall not be restrained and the restraining notice shall be deemed void. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to limit a banking institution's right or obligation to restrain or remove such funds from the judgment debtor's account if required by 42 U.S.C. § 659 or 38 U.S.C. § 5301 or by a court order.  Nothing in this subdivision shall alter the exempt status of funds that are protected from execution, levy, attachment, garnishment or other legal process, under section fifty-two hundred five of this article or under any other provision of state or federal law, or affect the right of a judgment debtor to claim such exemption.

(i) Effect of restraint on judgment debtor's banking institution account.  A restraining notice issued pursuant to this section shall not apply to an amount equal to or less than the greater of two hundred forty times the federal minimum hourly wage prescribed in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938  [FN1] or two hundred forty times the state minimum hourly wage prescribed in section six hundred fifty-two of the labor law as in effect at the time the earnings are payable (as published on the websites of the United States department of labor and the state department of labor) except such part thereof as a court determines to be unnecessary for the reasonable requirements of the judgment debtor and his or her dependents.  This amount shall be equal to seventeen hundred sixteen dollars on the effective date of this subdivision, and shall rise to seventeen hundred forty dollars on July twenty-fourth, two thousand nine, and shall rise thereafter in tandem with the minimum wage.  Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to limit a banking institution's right or obligation to restrain or remove such funds from the judgment debtor's account if required by 42 U.S.C. § 659 or 38 U.S.C. § 5301 or by a court order.  Where a judgment debtor's account contains an amount equal to or less than ninety percent of the greater of two hundred forty times the federal minimum hourly wage prescribed in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 or two hundred forty times the state minimum hourly wage prescribed in section six hundred fifty-two of the labor law as in effect at the time the earnings are payable (as published on the websites of the United States department of labor and the state department of labor), the account shall not be restrained and the restraining notice shall be deemed void, except as to those funds that a court determines to be unnecessary for the reasonable requirements of the judgment debtor and his or her dependents.  Nothing in this subdivision shall alter the exempt status of funds which are exempt from execution, levy, attachment or garnishment, under section fifty-two hundred five of this article or under any other provision of state or federal law, or the right of a judgment debtor to claim such exemption.

(j) Fee for banking institution's costs in processing a restraining notice for an account.  In the event that a banking institution served with a restraining notice cannot lawfully restrain a judgment debtor's banking institution account, or a restraint is placed on the judgment debtor's account in violation of any section of this chapter, the banking institution shall charge no fee to the judgment debtor regardless of any terms of agreement, or schedule of fees, or other contract between the judgment debtor and the banking institution.

(k) The provisions of subdivisions (h), (i) and (j) of this section do not apply when the state of New York, or any of its agencies or municipal corporations is the judgment creditor, or if the debt enforced is for child support, spousal support, maintenance or alimony, provided that the restraining notice contains a legend at the top thereof, above the caption, in sixteen point bold type with the following language:  “The judgment creditor is the state of New York, or any of its agencies or municipal corporations, AND/OR the debt enforced is for child support, spousal support, maintenance or alimony.”.

[FN1]

 29 USCA § 201 et seq.



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