Civil Causes of Action - Attachment Law and Legal Definition

An attachment is a court order directing a sheriff or other law enforcement officer to seize property of a defendant in order to satisfy a judgment won by the plaintiff. It may also be the seizing of money or property prior to getting a judgment in court, with the expectation that the plaintiff will win the case and the defendant may sell assets or flee the jurisdiction so that plaintiff will be unable to recover money later.

Because of the due process concerns involved, an attachment may be made only after a hearing before a judge in which both sides can argue the danger that the party being sued (defendant) is likely to leave the area or otherwise avoid probable payment. A temporary attachment may be allowed by court order without both parties being present based on a declaration of the party seeking the attachment that there is clear proof that the defendant is going to flee. A bond may be required to be posted by the plaintiff to cover damages to the defendant if the attachment proves not to have been necessary.