Debt Collection
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Georgia Law


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STATUTES OF LIMITATIONS see
GEORGIA LAW ON APPROPRIATE RATES OF INTEREST
O.C.G.A. 7-4-2
(a) (1) (A) The legal rate of interest shall be 7 percent per annum simple interest where the rate percent is not established by written contract. Notwithstanding the provisions of other laws to the contrary, except Code Section 7-4-18, the parties may establish by written contract any rate of interest, expressed in simple interest terms as of the date of the evidence of the indebtedness, and charges and any manner of repayment, prepayment, or, subject to the provisions of paragraph (1) of subsection (b) of this Code section, acceleration, where the principal amount involved is more than $3,000.00 but less than $250,000.00 or where the lender or creditor has committed to lend, advance, or forbear with respect to any loan, advance, or forbearance to enforce the collection of more than $3,000.00 but less than $250,000.00.
(B) Where the principal amount is $250,000.00 or more, or the lender or creditor has committed to lend, advance, or forbear with respect to any loan, advance, or forbearance to enforce the collection of $250,000.00 or more, the parties may establish by written contract any rate of interest, expressed in simple interest terms or otherwise, and charges to be paid by the borrower or debtor.
(C) Nothing contained in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit the computation and collection of interest at a variable rate or on a negative amortization basis or on an equity participation basis or on an appreciation basis.
(2) Where the principal amount involved is $3,000.00 or less, such rate shall not exceed 16 percent per annum simple interest on any loan, advance, or forbearance to enforce the collection of any sum of money unless the loan, advance, or forbearance to enforce the collection of any sum of money is made pursuant to another law.
(3) As used in this Code section, the term "interest" means a charge for the use of money computed over the term of the contract at the rate stated in the contract or precomputed at a stated rate on the scheduled principal balance or computed in any other way or any other form. Principal includes such charges to which the parties may agree under paragraph (1) of this subsection. Amounts paid or contracted to be paid as either an origination fee or discount points, or both, on any loan secured by an interest in real estate shall not be considered interest and shall not be taken into consideration in the calculation of interest and shall not be subject to rebate as provided in paragraph (1) of subsection (b) of this Code section.
(b) (1) Upon acceleration of the maturity of any loan, advance of money, or forbearance to enforce the collection of any sum of money upon which interest has been precomputed, unearned interest shall be rebated to the debtor in such amount as would result in the rate of interest earned being no greater than the rate of interest established by the original contract. In the case of a loan in which the principal and the interest for the entire term of the loan are included in the face amount of the loan and the loan is to be paid back in weekly, monthly, quarterly, semiannual, or yearly installments, with the interest and principal portions of each installment determined under the pro rata method, any such rebate shall be determined on the pro rata method.
(2) Unless stipulated in the contract, there shall be no prepayment penalty.
(c) Nothing contained in this Code section shall be construed to amend or

§ 7-4-15. Interest on liquidated demands; promissory notes payable on demand
All liquidated demands, where by agreement or otherwise the sum to be paid is fixed or certain, bear interest from the time the party shall become liable and bound to pay them; if payable on demand, they shall bear interest from the time of the demand. In case of promissory notes payable on demand, the law presumes a demand instantly and gives interest from date.

Exception under which interest can be recovered in excess of the legal rate.

§ 7-4-16. Rate of interest on commercial accounts

Unless otherwise provided in writing signed by the obligor, a commercial account becomes due and payable upon the date a statement of the account is rendered to the obligor. The owner of a commercial account may charge interest on that portion of a commercial account which has been due and payable for 30 days or more at a rate not in excess of 1 1/2 percent per month calculated on the amount owed from the date upon which it became due and payable until paid. "Commercial account" means an obligation for the payment of money arising out of a transaction to sell or furnish, or the sale of, or furnishing of, goods or services other than a "retail installment transaction" as defined in paragraph (10) of subsection (a) of Code Section 10-1-2.

But look at ADC Construction Co. v. Hall, 202 Ga.App. 199, which held that a commercial account does not constitute a contract or obligation as required under this statute.

§ 7-4-18. Rate greater than 5 percent per month prohibited

(a) Any person, company, or corporation who shall reserve, charge, or take for any loan or advance of money, or forbearance to enforce the collection of any sum of money, any rate of interest greater than 5 percent per month, either directly or indirectly, by way of commission for advances, discount, exchange, or the purchase of salary or wages; by notarial or other fees; or by any contract, contrivance, or device whatsoever shall be guilty of a misdemeanor; provided, however, that regularly licensed pawnbrokers, as defined in Code Section 44-12-130, are limited in the amount of interest they may charge only by the limitations set forth in Code Section 44-12-131.
(b) This Code section shall not be construed as repealing or impairing the usury laws now existing but shall be construed as being cumulative thereof.
(c) Nothing contained in Code Section 7-4-2 or 7-4-3 shall be construed to amend or modify the provisions of this Code section.
§ 13-6-13. Interest
In all cases where an amount ascertained would be the damages at the time of the breach, it may be increased by the addition of legal interest from that time until the recovery.

§ 51-12-14. Interest on unliquidated damages
(a) Where a claimant has given written notice by registered or certified mail or statutory overnight delivery to a person against whom claim is made of a demand for an amount of unliquidated damages in a tort action and the person against whom such claim is made fails to pay such amount within 30 days from the mailing or delivering of the notice, the claimant shall be entitled to receive interest on the amount demanded if, upon trial of the case in which the claim is made, the judgment is for an amount not less than the amount demanded. However, if, at any time after the 30 days and before the claimant has withdrawn his or her demand, the person against whom such claim is made gives written notice by registered or certified mail or statutory overnight delivery of an offer to pay the amount of the claimant's demand plus interest under this Code section through the date such notice is given, and such offer is not accepted by the person making the demand for unliquidated damages within 30 days from the mailing or delivering of such notice by the person against whom such claim is made, the claimant shall not be entitled to receive interest on the amount of the demand after the thirtieth day following the date on which the notice of the offer is mailed or delivered even if, upon trial of the case in which the claim is made, the judgment is for an amount not less than the sum demanded pursuant to this Code section.
(b) Any written notice referred to in subsection (a) of this Code section shall specify that it is being given pursuant to this Code section.
(c) The interest provided for by this Code section shall be at an annual rate equal to the prime rate as published by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, as published in statistical release H. 15 or any publication that may supersede it, on the thirtieth day following the date of the mailing of the last written notice plus 3 percent, and shall begin to run from the thirtieth day following the date of the mailing or delivering of the written notice until the date of judgment. This subsection shall apply to all civil actions filed on or after the effective date of this subsection.
(d) Evidence or discussion of interest on liquidated damages, as well as evidence of the offer, shall not be submitted to the jury. Interest shall be made a part of the judgment upon presentation of evidence to the satisfaction of the court that this Code section has been complied with and that the verdict of the jury or the award by the judge trying the case without a jury is equal to or exceeds the amount claimed in the notice.
(e) This Code section shall be known and may be cited as the "Unliquidated Damages Interest Act."

GARNISHMENT
§ 18-4-20. What is subject to garnishment
(a) As used in this Code section, the term:
(1) "Disposable earnings" means that part of the earnings of an individual remaining after the deduction from those earnings of the amounts required by law to be withheld.
(2) "Earnings" means compensation paid or payable for personal services, whether denominated as wages, salary, commission, bonus, or otherwise, and includes periodic payments pursuant to a pension or retirement program.
(b) All debts owed by the garnishee to the defendant at the time of service of the summons of garnishment upon the garnishee and all debts accruing from the garnishee to the defendant from the date of service to the date of the garnishee's answer shall be subject to process of garnishment; and no payment made by the garnishee to the defendant or to his order, or by any arrangement between the defendant and the garnishee, after the date of the service of the summons of garnishment upon the garnishee, shall defeat the lien of such garnishment.
(c) All property, money, or effects of the defendant in the possession or control of the garnishee at the time of service of the summons of garnishment upon the garnishee or coming into the possession or control of the garnishee at any time from the date of service of the summons of garnishment upon the garnishee to the date of the garnishee's answer shall be subject to process of garnishment except, in the case of collateral securities in the hands of a creditor, such securities shall not be subject to garnishment so long as there is an amount owed on the debt for which the securities were given as collateral.
(d) (1) Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this Code section, the maximum part of the aggregate disposable earnings of an individual for any work week which is subject to garnishment may not exceed the lesser of:
(A) Twenty-five percent of his disposable earnings for that week; or
(B) The amount by which his disposable earnings for that week exceed 30 times the federal minimum hourly wage prescribed by Section 6(a)(1) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, U.S.C. Title 29, Section 206(a)(1), in effect at the time the earnings are payable.
(2) In case of earnings for a period other than a week, a multiple of the federal minimum hourly wage equivalent in effect to that set forth in subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1) of this subsection shall be used.
(e) The limitation on garnishment set forth in subsection (d) of this Code section shall apply although the garnishee may receive a summons of garnishment in more than one garnishment case naming the same defendant unless the garnishee has received a summons of garnishment based on a judgment for alimony or the support of a dependent, in which case the limitation on garnishment set forth in subsection (f) of this Code section shall apply although the garnishee may receive a summons of garnishment in more than one garnishment case naming the same defendant. No garnishee shall withhold from the disposable earnings of the defendant any sum greater than the amount prescribed by subsection (d) or subsection (f) of this Code section, as applicable, regardless of the number of summonses served upon the garnishee.
(f) The exemption provided by subsection (d) of this Code section shall not apply if the judgment upon which the garnishment is based is a judgment for alimony or for the support of any dependent of the defendant, provided the summons of garnishment shall contain a notice to the garnishee that the garnishment is based on the judgment for alimony or the support of a dependent. In any case in which the garnishment is based on the judgment, the maximum part of the aggregate disposable earnings of an individual for any workweek which is subject to garnishment shall be 50 percent of the individual's disposable earnings for that week.
(g) Except as provided in Article 7 of this chapter for a summons of continuing garnishment for support, the summons of garnishment, including a summons of continuing garnishment pursuant to Article 6 of this chapter, shall on its face state the total amount claimed to be due at the time of the summons and the amount subject to garnishment shall not exceed the amount so shown on the summons of garnishment.
(h) The summons of garnishment, including a summons of continuing garnishment, may on its face set forth, if known, the social security number of the defendant.
(i) A summons of garnishment upon a financial institution, or an attachment thereto, shall state with particularity all of the following information, to the extent reasonably available to the plaintiff:
(1) The name of the defendant, and, to the extent such would reasonably enable the garnishee to answer properly the summons, all known configurations, nicknames, aliases, former or maiden names, trade names, or variations thereof;
(2) The service address and the current addresses of the defendant and, to the extent such would reasonably enable the garnishee to answer properly the summons of garnishment and such is reasonably available to the plaintiff, the past addresses of the defendant;
(3) The social security number or federal tax identification number of the defendant; and
(4) Account, identification, or tracking numbers known or suspected by the plaintiff to be used by the garnishee in the identification or administration of the defendant's funds or property.

A misspelling of any information required by paragraph (1) or (2) of this subsection, other than the surname of a natural person defendant, shall not invalidate a summons of garnishment, so long as such information is not misleading in a search of the garnishee's records.

ATTORNEY’S FEES
§ 13-1-11. Attorney's fees in notes, etc., in addition to interest
(a) Obligations to pay attorney's fees upon any note or other evidence of indebtedness, in addition to the rate of interest specified therein, shall be valid and enforceable and collectible as a part of such debt if such note or other evidence of indebtedness is collected by or through an attorney after maturity, subject to the following provisions:
(1) If such note or other evidence of indebtedness provides for attorney's fees in some specific percent of the principal and interest owing thereon, such provision and obligation shall be valid and enforceable up to but not in excess of 15 percent of the principal and interest owing on said note or other evidence of indebtedness;
(2) If such note or other evidence of indebtedness provides for the payment of reasonable attorney's fees without specifying any specific percent, such provision shall be construed to mean 15 percent of the first $500.00 of principal and interest owing on such note or other evidence of indebtedness and 10 percent of the amount of principal and interest owing thereon in excess of $500.00;
(3) The holder of the note or other evidence of indebtedness or his attorney at law shall, after maturity of the obligation, notify in writing the maker, endorser, or party sought to be held on said obligation that the provisions relative to payment of attorney's fees in addition to the principal and interest shall be enforced and that such maker, endorser, or party sought to be held on said obligation has ten days from the receipt of such notice to pay the principal and interest without the attorney's fees. If the maker, endorser, or party sought to be held on any such obligation shall pay the principal and interest in full before the expiration of such time, then the obligation to pay the attorney's fees shall be void and no court shall enforce the agreement. The refusal of a debtor to accept delivery of the notice specified in this paragraph shall be the equivalent of such notice.
(b) Obligations to pay attorney's fees contained in security deeds and bills of sale to secure debt shall be subject to this Code section where applicable.

Attorneys fees in non-contractual situations. Consumer Fraud
§ 10-1-399. Private actions, notice before filing
(a) Any person who suffers injury or damages as a result of a violation of Chapter 5B of this title, as a result of consumer acts or practices in violation of this part, as a result of office supply transactions in violation of this part or whose business or property has been injured or damaged as a result of such violations may bring an action individually, but not in a representative capacity, against the person or persons engaged in such violations under the rules of civil procedure to seek equitable injunctive relief and to recover his general and exemplary damages sustained as a consequence thereof in any court having jurisdiction over the defendant; provided, however, exemplary damages shall be awarded only in cases of intentional violation. Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, a debtor seeking equitable relief to redress an injury resulting from a violation of paragraph (20) of subsection (b) of Code Section 10-1-393, upon facts alleged showing a likelihood of success on the merits, may not, within the discretion of the court, be required to make a tender. Nothing in this subsection or paragraph (20) of subsection (b) of Code Section 10-1-393 shall be construed to interfere with the obligation of the debtor to a lender who is not in violation of paragraph (20) of subsection (b) of Code Section 10-1-393. A claim under this Code section may also be asserted as a defense, setoff, cross-claim, or counterclaim or third-party claim against such person.
(b) At least 30 days prior to the filing of any such action, a written demand for relief, identifying the claimant and reasonably describing the unfair or deceptive act or practice relied upon and the injury suffered, shall be delivered to any prospective respondent. Any person receiving such a demand for relief who, within 30 days of the delivering of the demand for relief, makes a written tender of settlement which is rejected by the claimant may, in any subsequent action, file the written tender and an affidavit concerning this rejection and thereby limit any recovery to the relief tendered if the court finds that the relief tendered was reasonable in relation to the injury actually suffered by the petitioner. The demand requirements of this subsection shall not apply if the prospective respondent does not maintain a place of business or does not keep assets within the state. The 30 day requirement of this subsection shall not apply to a debtor seeking a temporary restraining order to redress or prevent an injury resulting from a violation of paragraph (20) of subsection (b) of Code Section 10-1-393, provided that said debtor gives, or attempts to give the written demand required by this subsection at least 24 hours in advance of the time set for the hearing of the application for the temporary restraining order. Such respondent may otherwise employ the provisions of this Code section by making a written offer of relief and paying the rejected tender into court as soon as practicable after receiving notice of an action commenced under this Code section. All written tenders of settlement such as described in this subsection shall be presumed to be offered without prejudice in compromise of a disputed matter.
(c) Subject to subsection (b) of this Code section, a court shall award three times actual damages for an intentional violation.
RECOVERING EXPENSES OF LITIGATION
§ 13-6-11. Expenses of litigation
The expenses of litigation generally shall not be allowed as a part of the damages; but where the plaintiff has specially pleaded and has made prayer therefore and where the defendant has acted in bad faith, has been stubbornly litigious, or has caused the plaintiff unnecessary trouble and expense, the jury may allow them.

Domestication of Foreign Judgments
FOREIGN JUDGMENTS
Statute of limitations on foreign judgments
§ 9-3-20. Actions upon foreign judgments
All actions upon judgments obtained outside this state, except judgments for child support or spousal support, or both, shall be brought within five years after such judgments have been obtained.
However , this limitation does not apply to foreign judgments pursued under the Enforcement of Foreign Judgment Law.
Domestication of foreign judgments—from a state which has not adopted a law substantially similar to Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgment Act

§ 9-3-20 applies. Generally, the Georgia courts have held that where a properly authenticated copy of a foreign judgment is filed with the court and on its face a lack of jurisdiction is not evident, jurisdiction will be presumed by the court and a prima facie case is made in favor of domestication of the foreign judgment.


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