Q: I have a judgment but have not been paid, can Andalman & Flynn help?
A: Yes. Andalman & Flynn has the staff, resources and contacts to locate assets and execute on new and older judgments. The only concern is that judgments are valid in Maryland for 12 years, unless renewed for a longer period. If your judgment is older than that, Andalman & Flynn will investigate whether your judgment can still be renewed or if you have any other avenues of relief available to you.
Andalman & Flynn’s collections department is very experienced in enforcing judgments through garnishments on wages, bank accounts, and other property; liens on real property; and, sheriff’s levy and sale of real property.
Q: What is the difference between a small claim and a large claim case?
A: In Maryland, cases with a balance due of $5,000 or less are small claims, and are filed in the District Court of Maryland. Cases with a balance due of $5,001 to $30,000 are large claims and are also filed in the District Court of Maryland. The difference between the two is that the rules of evidence and discovery (disclosure of facts and documents prior to trial) do not apply in small claims cases.
Cases with a balance due of $30,001 and greater must be filed in the Circuit Court. Additionally, a jury trial may be requested on all cases where the balance due is $15,000 or more. All jury trials are heard in the Circuit Court, and a District Court case will be transferred to Circuit Court if a jury trial is requested.
Andalman & Flynn handles collections cases in Maryland’s District Court (small and large claims) and Circuit Court, including jury trials. If you are interested in more information about Andalman & Flynn’s collections department and services, please contact us.
Q: How long can I wait to file suit?
A: Generally, in Maryland, you must file suit within three (3) years after work was last performed or materials last provided. The time can be as short as one (1) year in specific cases, such as construction cases (see our articles on the Miller Act and Little Miller Act under Publications Collections). This three (3) year period, known as the statute of limitations, may be extended by actions of the debtor "such as payments or admitting to owing the debt" long after the statute of limitations has passed.
It is best to begin collection efforts as soon as possible while you still know the debtor’s location and situation, and have current information about assets and employment. The longer you wait to collect on your accounts, the less likely your collection efforts will succeed. If, however, you have older accounts that you have interested in pursuing, please contact our Collections Department to discuss your options.
Q: How much interest can I charge on my overdue accounts?
A: In Maryland, you can charge whatever interest is specified in your written agreement, subject to certain limitations. If your contract does not provide for a specific rate of interest, you can charge interest at the constitutional rate of 6% simple interest per year.
Q: What are Andalman & Flynn’s rates for collections services?
A: We can be retained on a contingency fee or hourly fee basis or a hybrid of the two. Costs and expenses are billed separately. Please contact our office for an assessment of your accounts and a personalized fee quote.
Q: How do I place my overdue accounts with Andalman & Flynn for collections?
A: Once you are an Andalman & Flynn client, you may transmit your overdue accounts to us in a manner that is convenient for you, such as via fax to 301-563-4014, hard copy by mail, e-mail addressed to [email protected], through our website, or even just by phone to our collections department at 240-247-0116.
Q: What documents do I need to provide to place an account with Andalman & Flynn for collection?
A: It depends on the type of account you are placing, but generally we need a copy of the contract or agreement governing the debt (if there is one), all correspondence pertaining to the debt, and an itemized invoice or statement of the balance owed. For some types of accounts, we have a referral form which makes it simple for you to transmit information to us.
Q: Once placed, how will I be updated about the status of my account(s)?
A: Andalman & Flynn sends a monthly report to each of our collections clients that provides a status of the client’s accounts. In addition, our staff is happy to answer any questions or concerns that you may have regarding a specific account; we welcome your inquiries by mail, email address to [email protected], calls to our collections department at 240-247-0116, or fax to 301-563-4014.
Q: Going to court can be expensive; what will be the costs if suit is filed?
A: In general, costs to locate the debtor, file suit, and serve the debtor range from $65 to $250 per suit, depending on the value of the account, location and number of debtors, and the amount of investigation necessary to serve the debtor with the suit papers.
Q: How will I be billed for costs?
A: Generally, we advance the costs and then either offset them on your monthly remittance, or mail invoices for costs separately, depending on your preference and the nature and quantity of your accounts.
Q: If suit is filed on my account(s), will I have to appear in court?
A: We cannot file suit on your behalf if you are unwilling to go to court under any circumstances. However, the majority of our cases do not require our clients to go to court. While it is unlikely that you will have to go to court, we cannot promise that you will never have to appear in court. The debtor always has the right to a full trial. If you have specific concerns about appearing in court, our attorneys are available to address those with you at any time before trial.
Q: If the debtor moves out of the area or out of the state, what are my options?
A: Our firm has the ability to collect most accounts, whether across the state or across the country. If a debtor moves out of the state, we will advise you of your options, including a cost-benefit analysis of continued pursuit. Then you decide whether to continue with Andalman & Flynn’s services to pursue that account. For our clients who send us accounts in bulk, or if you simply do not wish to worry about this on individual accounts, we can always set up parameters in advance of how you would like your out-of-state accounts handled, and then we would only contact you if there is a problem.
Q: What if I have an overdue account, but no written contract?
A: If there is no written contract, you can pursue a claim for payment on the basis of an oral contract, an implied contract or that it would be unfair to have provided the services/materials without being paid. Andalman & Flynn’s collections attorneys have proven themselves particularly successful and creative in collection accounts based upon oral and implied contracts. If you do not have written contracts for the work you perform, Andalman & Flynn’s collections attorneys can prepare such contracts for you. If you are interested in additional information about Andalman & Flynn’s collections department and services, please contact us.
Q: If I hire an attorney to collect my account, can I request attorney’s fees?
A: In Maryland, attorney’s fees are generally only allowed if the contract specifically provides for recovery of attorney’s fees or if provided by statute. If you contract is silent, you may not be entitled to attorney’s fees in addition to the balance due unless there is an attorney’s fee statute that applies. Andalman & Flynn’s collections attorneys can review your contracts to help protect your ability to collect if the account is not paid, and can draft language to entitle you to receive attorney’s fess and interest on your unpaid accounts.
Q: What can Andalman & Flynn’s attorneys do to collect my account(s) that I cannot?
A: Our team of highly trained collection paralegals and experience attorneys provide comprehensive collections services, including pre-litigation collections and negotiations, asset investigation, litigation, and post-judgment collections. Accordingly, we provide a seamless transition from each of these phases to the next.