People who have to file bankruptcy often have judgments against them from before their bankruptcy case was filed. Bankruptcy discharges the personal obligation, but does not remove the judgment from the state court records.
Minn. Stat. 548.181 provides a simple mechanism to remove pre-bankruptcy judgments from the state court records. The statute states that there is a $5 fee payable to the court administrator for each judgment.
Unfortunately, in the last year or so court administration has been requiring the payment of a full filing fee — $324.00 in Stearns County — to discharge judgments. The theory is that the application to discharge judgment is the “first paper filed in an action”, and that you must pay the full filing fee in order to “file the first paper in an action”.
There is a bill in the Minnesota Legislature that would change this result, by providing that “This paragraph does not apply to the filing of 1.17 an Application for Discharge of Judgment. An Application for Discharge of Judgment filed by a party shall not be considered a first paper filed in an action.”
The bill in the House is called HF 652; the companion bill in the Senate is called SF 999.
I hope our legislators will pass this bill this Spring.