Rules of Domestic Relations Procedure

Rules of Domestic Relations Procedure Domestic Relations Procedure Rule 4.2: Trustee process

Identical to Mass.R.Civ.P. 4.2


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(a) Availability of trustee process

Subsequent to the commencement of any personal action under these rules, except actions only for specific recovery of goods and chattels, for malicious prosecution, for slander or libel, or for assault and battery, trustee process may be used, in the manner and to the extent provided by law, but subject to the requirements of this rule, to secure satisfaction of the judgment for damages and costs which the plaintiff may recover, provided, however, that no person shall be adjudged trustee for any amount due from him to the defendant for wages or salary for personal labor or services of the defendant except on a claim that has first been reduced to judgment or otherwise authorized by law; and in no event shall the attachment exceed the limitations prescribed by law.

(b) Summons to trustee: Form

The summons to a trustee shall bear the signature or facsimile signature of the clerk, be under the seal of the court, be in the name of the Commonwealth, contain the name of the court, the names and residences (if known) of the parties and the date of the filing of the complaint, bear teste of the first justice of the court to which it is returnable who is neither a party nor a trustee; state the name and address of the plaintiff's attorney (if any), be directed to the trustee, shall notify him that the goods, effects or credits of the defendant in the hands of the trustee have been attached to the value of the amount authorized by the court, shall state the time within which these rules require the trustee to answer, shall notify him that in case of his failure to do so he will be defaulted and adjudged trustee as alleged, and, if wages, a pension, or a bank account is sought to be attached, shall notify him of such amount of wages, pension, or bank account as are by law exempt from attachment and shall direct him to pay over to the defendant the exempted amount. The summons to the trustee shall also state the name of the justice who entered the order approving the trustee attachment and the date thereof.

(c) Same: Service

The trustee summons may be procured in blank from the clerk and shall be filled out by the plaintiff or the plaintiff's attorney as provided in subdivision (b) of this rule, either of whom shall deliver to the person who is to make service the original trustee summons upon which to make his return and a copy thereof.

No trustee summons may be served unless attachment on trustee process for a specified amount has been approved by order of the court. Except as provided in subdivision (g) of this rule, the order of approval may be entered only after notice to the defendant and hearing and upon a finding by the court that there is a reasonable likelihood that the plaintiff will recover judgment, including interest and costs, in an amount equal to or greater than the amount of the trustee process over and above any liability insurance shown by the defendant to be available to satisfy the judgment.

An action in which trustee process is sought may be commenced only by filing the complaint with the court, together with a motion for approval of attachment on trustee process. The motion shall be supported by affidavit or affidavits meeting the requirements set forth in Rule 4.1(h) . Except as provided in subdivision (g) of this rule, the motion and affidavit or affidavits with the notice of hearing thereon shall be served upon the defendant in the manner provided by Rule 4, at the same time the summons and complaint are served upon him; and the defendant shall also be served with a copy of the trustee summons in cases where attachment has been approved ex parte as provided in subdivision (g) of this rule. Inclusion of a copy of the complaint in the notice of hearing shall not constitute personal service of the complaint upon the defendant. The notice shall inform the defendant that by appearing to be heard on the motion for approval of an attachment on trustee process he will not thereby submit himself to the jurisdiction of the court nor waive service of the complaint and summons upon him in the manner provided by law.

Except as provided in subdivision (f) of this rule, any trustee process shall be served within 30 days after the date of the order approving the attachment. Promptly after the service of the trustee summons upon the trustee or trustees, a copy of the trustee summons with the officer's endorsement thereon of the date or dates of services shall be served upon the defendant in the manner provided by Rule 5.

(d) Answer by trustee; subsequent proceedings

A trustee shall file, but need not serve, his answer, under oath, or signed under the penalties of perjury, within 20 days after the service of the trustee summons upon him, unless the court otherwise directs. The answer shall disclose plainly, fully, and particularly what goods, effects or credits, if any, of the defendant were in the hands or possession of the trustee when the trustee summons was served upon him. The proceedings after filing of the trustee's answer shall be as provided by law.

(e) Trustee process on counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party complaint

Trustee process may be used by a party bringing a counterclaim, a cross-claim, or a third-party complaint in the same manner as upon an original claim. Such party may use trustee process, even though the trustee does not reside or maintain a usual place of business in the county where the action is pending.

(f) Subsequent trustee process

Either before or after expiration of the applicable period prescribed in subdivision (c) of this rule for serving trustee process, the court may, subject to the provisions of subdivision (g) of this rule, order another or an additional service of the trustee summons upon the original trustee.

(g) Ex parte hearings on trustee process

An order approving trustee process for a specific amount may be entered ex parte upon findings by the court that there is a reasonable likelihood that the plaintiff will recover judgment in an amount equal to or greater than the amount of the trustee process over and above any liability insurance known or reasonably believed to be available, and that either (i) the person of the defendant is not subject to the jurisdiction of the court in the action, or (ii) there is a clear danger that the defendant if notified in advance of the attachment on trustee process will withdraw the goods or credits from the hands and possession of the trustee and remove them from the state or will conceal them, or (iii) there is immediate danger that the defendant will dissipate the credits, or damage or destroy the goods to be attached on trustee process. The motion for an ex parte order shall be accompanied by a certificate by the plaintiff or his attorney of the amount of any liability insurance which he knows or has reason to believe will be available to satisfy any judgment against the defendant in the action. The motion, in the filing of which the plaintiff's attorney shall be subject to the obligations of Rule 11, shall be supported by affidavit or affidavits meeting the requirements set forth in Rule 4.1(h)

(h) Dissolution or modification of ex parte trustee process

On two days' notice to the plaintiff or on such shorter notice as the court may prescribe, a defendant whose goods or credits have been attached on trustee process pursuant to an ex parte order entered under subdivision (g) of this rule may appear, without thereby submitting his person to the jurisdiction of the court, and move the dissolution or modification of the trustee process, and in that event the court shall proceed to hear and determine such motion as expeditiously as the ends of justice require. At such hearing the plaintiff shall have the burden of justifying any finding in the ex parte order which the defendant has challenged by affidavit. Nothing herein shall be construed to abolish or limit any means for obtaining dissolution, modification or discharge of an attachment that is otherwise available by law.

(i) Form of hearing

At any hearing held under this rule, either party may adduce testimony and may call witnesses (including any opposing party). The court, for cause shown on the evidence so adduced, may make such interlocutory orders concerning disposition of the goods or credits sought to be subject to trustee process as justice may require. 




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