Collecting Judgment

If the court enters a judgment against the defendant, or if the defendant has filed a counterclaim and is granted judgment against the plaintiff, it is the duty of the losing party to pay without delay. After payment is received the court must be notified in writing that the judgment has been satisfied (PDF).

A money judgment in the plaintiff’s favor does not necessarily mean the money will be paid. The small claims court does not collect the judgment for the plaintiff. If no appeal is made and the judgment is not paid within 30 days, the plaintiff may submit a written request (PDF) to the District Court for the judgment to be entered in the civil docket of the court. The clerk will assign and notify the plaintiff of the new case number.

At that time, the plaintiff may proceed with a method of collection such as garnishment of wages or bank accounts, or an execution may be entered on personal property of the judgment debtor. The plaintiff may wish to consult an attorney or collection agency. The plaintiff may request the amount of the judgment be increased by the amount of the costs incurred in collecting the judgment.

Superior Court Judgment

In the alternative, upon payment of a $20 fee to the District Court the plaintiff can request a transcript of the judgment, which the plaintiff can file in Superior Court for a fee of $20. When this is done it creates a Superior Court judgment, which can then be used to place real estate property liens on all local real estate in the name of the judgment debtor. Placing such liens requires providing documents to the county Auditor's Office Recording Division.

No appeal is allowed from a judgment where the amount claimed was less than $250. No appeal is permitted by the plaintiff where the amount claimed was less than $1,000. If an appeal is taken to Superior Court, the appealing party is required to follow the procedures set out in Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 12.36. An appeal must be filed within 30 days of entry of judgment. Detailed instructions for filing a small claims appeal are available from the District Court.