At our University Place-based law firm, we have always been committed to providing valuable information and insights to our clients and readers. In our continued effort to serve the community, we are excited to announce a new blog series focused on debt collection practices in various counties across Washington State. While the law itself does not change from county to county, certain practices and procedures may vary. In this series, we will explore these differences, starting with Pierce County, which includes Tacoma, one of the largest cities in the region.
On a personal note, Tacoma is where the founders of Baner and Baner Law Firm chose to live after law school despite having almost no connections to the area.
Pierce County: District Court vs. Superior Court
Tacoma is home to both the District Court and the Superior Court of the county. Some counties have multiple locations, but not Pierce. The District Court is responsible for handling small claims cases, while the Superior Court deals with a wide range of other cases, including personal injury and family law. Interestingly, both the District Court and the Superior Court share the same physical location in Tacoma. This is not always the case.
One unique feature of Pierce County is the use of the LINX (Legal Information Network Exchange) system by the Superior Court. LINX is a highly efficient electronic filing system required for all attorneys appearing in Pierce County Superior Court. It is the best such system in the State by far.
However, LINX and efiling are not required for Pierce County District Court, which relies mostly on paper filings. This is somewhat of a paradox: Superior Court has the best efiling in the state, but district court has none.
Handling Collection Matters in Pierce County Courts
In Pierce County Superior Court, most debt collection matters are handled by commissioners, not judges. Judge's, like elsewhere, will rule on summary judgments or trials. On the other hand, Pierce County District Court handles debt collection matters through judges, as there are no commissioners.
Ex parte filing fees in Pierce are $40 for superior and $20 for district court. Both courts allow for ex parte filings via their respective clerk's addresses.
Transferring Judgments Between Courts
It is possible to transfer a judgment obtained in Pierce County District Court to Pierce County Superior Court. This practice is not common, but it can be advantageous if the debtor in the case owns or will own real property in Tacoma or other parts of Pierce County.
Wrapping it up
Understanding the nuances of debt collection practices in Pierce County is essential for those navigating the legal system. In the coming months, we will explore the specific practices and procedures in other major counties across Washington State. Stay tuned for more insights and information in our county-by-county debt collection series. In the meantime please reach out to us for all of your debt collection needs.