Associated Bank, N.A. v. Collier (WI)

Summary: A judgment lien is invalid unless the clerk dockets the judgment.


Associated Bank, N.A. v. Collier, 2011 AP 2597 (Wis. Ct. App. 2012).


Facts:  In December of 2009, Associated Bank, N.A. (Associated) filed a foreclosure action and won an $11 million default judgment against Jack Collier (Collier).  SB1 Waukesha County, LLC (SB1) bought approximately $8.6 million of Associated’s judgment against Collier. In September of 2011, SB1 initiated a foreclosure proceeding in order to collect on the judgment against Collier.  Orders to appear were entered against Collier and Jeffrey Keierleber (Keierleber).  Personal service was made on Keierleber, but not on Collier.

Meanwhile, Keierleber commenced six lawsuits on behalf of himself, companies he owned, or companies that he and Collier owned, including Decade Properties, Inc. (Decade).  Each complaint looked to enforce a claimed loan right and money judgment against Collier or business partially owned by Collier.  Collier accepted service of these complaints despite still being unserved with SB1’s order.  The parties to the six actions executed stipulations agreeing to judgment amounts in each of them.  This included a $654,646.83 judgment in favor of Decade, filed in the clerk’s office on October 22, 2010.  Subsequently, Decade began supplemental proceedings against Collier.  In November of 2010, Collier accepted service and appeared for a supplemental examination.  In April of 2011, SB1 served Collier with an order to appear and a motion for appointment of receiver.  Collier failed to appear.

Decade moved to intervene in the SB1 action in order to assert its lien priority.  At this time Decade discovered that its October 2010 judgment against Collier was undocketed.  Despite paying the docketing fee, filing the judgment, and receiving a receipt and conformed copy of the judgment, the clerk failed to enter the judgment in the judgment and lien docket.  SB1 made a Motion for Turnover of all Collier’s rights, title and interest in various assets and associated with the six stipulations and judgments.  Decade moved for summary judgment and a determination of its lien priority over SB1.

The court held that all of SB1’s liens were superior to Decade’s lien because Decade’s judgment had not been perfected and was not executable when it served Collier with the Order to Appear.  This meant that Decade could not have obtained a creditor’s lien.  For this reason the court granted SB1’s Motion for Turnover.  Decade appealed.


Holding:  Affirmed.  In order for a judgment to create a lien it must be rendered, perfected and entered.  In order to enter the judgment, the party must file the judgment in the clerk’s office and the clerk must enter the judgment in the judgment and lien docket.  Decade’s judgment was not docketed in the judgment and lien docket and therefore could not be executed.  Because a judgment must be properly docketed to become a lien, Decade did not have a lien.  While the first creditor to serve the debtor with an Order to Appear has a superior lien, Decade did not have a valid Order to Appear.

The court rejects Decade’s contention that the circuit court incorrectly ruled that the equities favored SB1.  This was based upon Decade’s failure to check whether its judgment had been docketed, the court’s belief that Collier evaded service from SB1, and its belief that Decade’s lawsuits were a dilatory tactic.  For these reasons the appellate court affirmed the holding of the circuit court.

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By: ATG Underwriting Department | Posted on: Fri, 01/11/2013 - 9:59am