News 4 Investigates: Winning a judgment doesn't mean getting pai - KMOV.com

News 4 Investigates: Winning a judgment doesn't mean getting paid

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Winning a judgment, doesn't guarantee you'll get paid, as Investigative Reporter, Chris Nagus reports. (Credit: KMOV) Winning a judgment, doesn't guarantee you'll get paid, as Investigative Reporter, Chris Nagus reports. (Credit: KMOV)
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

In Missouri and Illinois, civil courts decide winners and losers on a regular basis, but in many cases winning doesn't mean collecting. 

Dennis Lardge of St. Louis contacted News 4 after he received a default judgment for $150,000 in his favor. The judgment was against the Riverview West Florissant Development Corporation. 

Lardge claimed he was injured after he fell on an outdoor staircase maintained by Riverview West Florissant Development Corporation.

Rolandis Nash said the organization helps low income seniors with home improvement projects, and said the court judgment equals more than his organizations annual budget. 

Nash said the Riverview West Florissant Development Corporation has no plans to pay Lardge. 

Lardge believes the response is unfair, despite owing on a number of judgments himself. 

According to Missouri court records, Lardge has been sued by a former landlord, credit card company, MSD, and also owes a substantial amount in child support. 

Lardge has also filed bankruptcy to avoid paying creditors including gambling debts. 

Investigative Reporter Chris Nagus asked Lardge, "If you haven't paid these people back why should these people pay you?" 

Lardge responded "because I'm injured, these people were not injured." 

St. Charles County Attorney Shannon Norman isn't representing Lardge, but she is familiar with the challenges associated with collecting judgments.

"Getting a judgment doesn't mean getting your money," said Norman. 

Norman said there are several ways to maximize your chances of collecting. 

1.) Garnishing the debtors paycheck. 

2.) Garnishing the debtors bank account 

3.) A judgment debtors exam. According to Norman a judgment debtors exam requires the owing party to appear in court so he/she can be questioned about assets.

Norman said we don't have "debtors prisons" so failure to pay doesn't mean the debtor will go to jail.

Obtaining a judgment is often the easy part, while getting paid is the tough part. 

According to Norman, "it's unfortunate, but if you can't garnish wages and can't find their bank account you're probably not going to get your money."

Lardge told News 4 he would pay off some of his past debts if he's able to collect on his current lawsuit.

He added "once a judge says judgment goes to you I can't see how you can't start getting some flow of income coming in." 

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