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The New Jersey law firm of LoFaro & Reiser, LLP represents creditors in actions to repossess leased and financed equipment and personal property. Our repossession cases include automobiles & trucks, heavy construction equipment, office machines, industrial machinery, restaurant equipment and other collateral pledged to secure a loan.
Under the Uniform Commercial Code which is applicable in New Jersey, repossession of a secured asset is permitted without Court intervention provided that it does not breach the peace. A lawsuit may be necessary if a borrower hides or secretes the asset, interferes with peaceful efforts to repossess the asset, or engages in other actions designed to thwart repossession.
The types of creditors that we represent in repo or replevin actions include:
- Automobile Finance Companies
- Banks & Financial Institutions
- Equipment Vendors
- Construction Contractors
- Leasing Creditors
- Mortgage Holders
Our New Jersey repo attorneys represent secured creditors in state and federal courts in New Jersey, including the Superior Court of New Jersey, United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, and United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey. Combining our knowledge of both state court and federal court rules and procedures enables our law firm to be an effective advocate for our clients in the pursuit of recovery of money, property and equipment.
In New Jersey, an action to repossess personal property is generally referred to as a replevin. A replevin action is considered a summary action, meaning that the court can adjudicate the matter without a full trial. Rule 4:67 of the New Jersey Court Rules governs summary actions in New Jersey. Pursuant to Rule 4:67-1, a replevin action may be filed either as an emergent application (or order to show cause) or by standard notice of motion.
Pursuant to Rule 4:61-5, [“T]he court shall try the action on the return day, or on such short day as it fixes. If no objection is made by any party, or the defendants have defaulted in the action, or the affidavits show palpably that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact, the court may try the action on the pleadings and affidavits, and render final judgment thereon.”
The court will set a hearing date to determine whether the creditor should be entitled to repossession. If the replevin action was filed by order to show cause, the court will also fix a date for the filing of objections by defendant. If the replevin action was initiated by a complaint and notice of motion, the defendant will have 7 days before the motion hearing date in which to file objections. In addition, Rule 4:61-3 of the New Jersey Court Rules allows the defendant the opportunity to file an answer contesting and counterclaim.
New Jersey Court Rule 4:61-4 authorizes the court to enter judgment for the plaintiff. If the defendant does not respond to the complaint, the court can enter a default judgment. Note: In a default judgment scenario, if the collateral has been delivered to the plaintiff by a sheriff or other officer the court is prohibited from entering a judgment for damages unless before the replevin action was filed plaintiff delivered a written notice to defendant demanding the return of the property and the defendant refused.
Once a judgment of replevin is entered, the court will enter a writ of replevin that permits the plaintiff to secure the assistance of the local county sheriff to recover the collateral. The writ of replevin process is governed by New Jersey Court Rule 4:61-1.
When delivering the writ of replevin to the sheriff, the plaintiff may be required to post a replevin bond or cash deposit. Once the sheriff levies on the collateral, the sheriff will cause the collateral to be delivered to plaintiff and/or its designated agent. Usually, the plaintiff hires a repo agent who will physically repossess the collateral under the direct supervision of the county sheriff. It may also be necessary to retain the services of a locksmith, though that should be incorporated into order entering judgment for replevin.
Need assistance in repossessing goods or chattel in New Jersey? Contact our New Jersey repo attorneys today, and one of our lawyers will respond to your inquiry within 24 – 48 hours. If your matter is urgent, please contact us at (201) 498-0400.
Serving Northern, Central and Southern New Jersey including Bergen County, Essex County, Hudson County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Morris County, Passaic County, Somerset County, Union County, and elsewhere in NJ.