The following contains the basic procedures for issuing a Citation to Discover Assets on a judgment debtor in Cook County Circuit Court. It is intended to provide a basic outline of the steps involved in the Citation proceeding and also provides citations to the Rules for reference.
Pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 277(a), supplementary proceedings are initiated following the entry of a final and enforceable judgment. The clerk’s issuance of a Citation to Discover Assets pursuant to Rule 277(b) begins these supplementary proceedings against a judgment debtor. A Citation need only be presented to the clerk who, upon payment of an $80.00 fee, will then issue the Citation. The Citation should be filed and then made returnable in the court where the judgment was entered or in any county in which the judgment debtor resides. In the event the Citation must be served on a third party, the supplementary proceedings must be conducted in the county in which the third-party Citation respondent resides. Il. Sup. Ct. R. 277(d).
The Citation must then be “served and returned in the manner provided by rule for service” pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/2-203 for individuals or Section 2-204 for business entities. Service of the Citation can be effectuated upon the judgment debtor or upon “any third party the judgment creditor believes has property of or is indebted to the judgment debtor.” Il. Sup. Ct. R. 277(a). The Citation requires that the judgment debtor or the third-party respondent appear for an examination at a time not less than five days from the date of service of the Citation. Il. Sup. Ct. R. 277(c). It may also require the production at the examination of any books, papers, or records in his or its possession or control which have or may contain information concerning the property or income of the debtor. Id.
Service of a Citation to Discover Assets prohibits the judgment debtor from transferring, disposing of or interfering with any property not exempt from execution or garnishment. The judgment debtor, however, is not required to withhold the payment of any money beyond double the amount of the judgment.
Rule 277 requires that the examination pursuant to a Citation summons may take place outside of the courtroom if the court so orders. In Cook County, the presiding judge usually requires that at least the initial examination be commenced in the courtroom. Several Cook County judges also insist that the judgment creditor’s attorney conduct a search on the Court’s computers before the Citation examination commences to determine whether any other citation or other liens exist, so that the Citation creditor will not be paid ahead of other valid liens.
Supplementary proceedings under judgments from the Law Division of the Cook County Circuit Court are not heard by the court that ordered the underlying judgment. In this situation, a Motion for Substitution of Judge as of Right may be made. By custom, if the judgment was obtained in the Cook County Circuit Court’s Chancery Division, the supplementary proceedings may be held in front of the same judge, at that judge’s discretion. One case, currently pending before the Appellate Court, First District, captioned Bank of America, N.A. v. Laurance H. Freed, et al., Docket No. 1-11-0749, has taken this issue up on appeal. A decision on this issue is expected early in 2013.
A supplementary proceeding under this rule continues until terminated by motion of the judgment creditor, order of the court, or satisfaction of the judgment. A supplementary proceeding, however, must terminate automatically six months from the date of (1) the respondent’s first personal appearance pursuant to the citation or (2) the respondent’s first personal appearance pursuant to subsequent process issued to enforce the citation, whichever is sooner. The court may, however, grant extensions beyond six months, as justice may require. Il. Sup. Ct. R. 277(F).