Discharge or Release of Garnishee Law & Legal Definition


Garnishment is a legal proceeding whereby money or property due to a debtor but in the possession of another is applied to the payment of the debt owed to the plaintiff. If the garnishee owes a debt to the defendant and s/he pays the debt or an amount sufficient to cover the plaintiffs claim the garnishee shall be discharged of all liability for the amount paid. When the repayment obligation has been met, a notice of release will be filed with the court to remove the garnishment order.

Example of a State Statute (Wisconsin) on release of Garnishee

Wis. Stat. § 812.13. Payments by garnishee; releases.

(1) If the answer shows a debt due to the defendant, the garnishee may pay the debt or an amount sufficient to cover the plaintiffs claim, as stated in the garnishee complaint and disbursements, not to exceed 40, to the clerk of the court. If prior to so doing, the plaintiff in writing requests the garnishee to pay the sum to the clerk, the garnishee shall, within 5 days after receipt of the request, pay the sum to the clerk. The clerk shall give a receipt for payment to the garnishee. The payment shall discharge the garnishee of all liability for the amount paid.

(2) If the debt disclosed is not due, this section shall apply when it becomes due, with like effect.

(3) If the garnishee fails to pay such sum within 5 days after receipt of such request, the plaintiff shall be entitled to judgment against the garnishee for the amount disclosed, when due, either before or after judgment in the original action and may collect the same by execution; but in case no judgment has been rendered in the principal action the execution against the garnishee shall require the sheriff to pay the money collected into court to abide the event of the principal action. Moneys paid into court shall be paid to the plaintiff when final judgment is rendered in the plaintiffs favor, and to the extent of satisfying the same, upon order of the court, and any balance to the party entitled thereto.

(4) If no such request is made and the garnishee does not elect to pay such sum to the clerk, the garnishee shall hold the same until order of the court. Any stipulation between the plaintiff and defendant shall be filed with the court.

(5) If judgment is against the plaintiff such moneys shall be paid to the defendant.