Georgia Garnishment Statute Found to be Unconstitutional

On September 8, 2015, a federal judge halted garnishments in Gwinnett County, ruling that the state law that governs the process is unconstitutional.

According to the Judge in the case, the law is flawed in three respects: (1) it fails to require that debtors be notified of certain exemptions that can be used to protect their property from garnishment; (2) it does not require that debtors be notified of the procedure for claiming those exemptions; and (3) Georgia law does not provide a speedy-enough procedure for debtors to resolve claims that their property is exempt from garnishment.

Tuesday’s decision only immediately affects Gwinnett County because the lawsuit was brought against the clerk of court there. But it very well may lead to changes in the state’s garnishment law.  Until the garnishment forms are changed or the statute is altered, garnishments are open to attack on these grounds.