25-13-402. How writ executed. (1) (a) The sheriff or levying officer shall, subject to subsections (6) and (7), execute the writ against the property of the judgment debtor not later than 120 days after receipt of the writ by:
(i) levying on a sufficient amount of property if there is sufficient property;
(ii) collecting or selling the things in action; and
(iii) selling the other property and paying to the judgment creditor or the judgment creditor's attorney as much of the proceeds as will satisfy the judgment.
(b) (i) If the third party is a corporation or other legal entity, service must be accomplished by personally serving the writ upon an officer or supervising employee of the third party or upon a department or person designated by the third party or by serving the writ by mail, as provided in subsection (1)(b)(ii).
(ii) Service by mail upon a corporation or other legal entity must be consented to in writing by the corporation or other legal entity and may be made by mailing a copy of the writ to an officer or supervising employee of the third party or to a department or person designated by the third party. Service may be mailed out of state, at the direction of the third party, if the third party processes garnishments or levies from a location outside the state. If service is by mail, it must be accompanied by a notice that the officer or employee receiving the writ is required to forward the writ to the person responsible for processing the levy for the third party if the officer or employee initially receiving the writ is not the proper party to process the levy. The writ must be considered served on the date and time that the writ is received by the officer, supervising employee, or designee of the third party, but not later than 5 business days after it is mailed.
(c) A levy under subsection (1)(b) is effective when the writ is served by personal service or by mail as provided in subsection (1)(b)(ii).
(2) Any proceeds in excess of the judgment and accruing costs must be returned to the judgment debtor unless otherwise directed by the judgment or order of the court. When the sheriff or levying officer determines that there is more property of the judgment debtor than is sufficient to satisfy the judgment and accruing costs, the sheriff or levying officer shall levy only on the part of the property that the judgment debtor may indicate if the property indicated is sufficient to satisfy the judgment and costs.
(3) With respect to property held by a third party, including but not limited to banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions and those parties identified in 25-13-306, the third party shall respond to the levy based on the assets held at the time of levy. Response must be made within 10 business days following the date of the levy by delivering the assets or payments to the sheriff or levying officer.
(4) Except for perishable property, the sheriff or levying officer shall hold any property or money levied upon for 10 days, excluding weekends and holidays, following notification of execution upon the judgment debtor. After that time, the sheriff or levying officer may sell the property and pay the money to the judgment creditor.
(5) If the first levy is not sufficient to satisfy the writ, the sheriff or levying officer may levy, from time to time and as often as necessary, within the 120 days until the judgment is satisfied or the writ expires.
(6) (a) A levy upon the earnings of a judgment debtor continues in effect for 120 days or until the judgment is satisfied, whichever occurs first. The levy applies to earnings due on or after the date of service through the expiration of the writ. Earnings withheld from a judgment debtor must be remitted to the sheriff or levying officer within 5 days of the day the earnings are withheld.
(b) The sheriff or levying officer shall clearly mark the expiration date upon all served copies of the writ and notice.
(c) Except as provided in subsection (8), multiple levies served under this subsection (6) have priority according to the date and time of service upon the employer.
(d) The return of service on a levy upon the earnings of a judgment debtor is returned in the same manner provided for in 25-13-404.
(7) (a) A levy upon a state tax refund or any other funds that are due to the judgment debtor from a Montana state agency continues in effect for 120 days or until the judgment is satisfied, whichever occurs first.
(b) Upon written consent of the department of revenue, service of the writ on the department may be accomplished by electronic means.
(c) The levy applies to any funds due on or after the date of service through the expiration of the writ.
(d) Payment of funds withheld from a judgment debtor must be remitted to the sheriff or levying officer within 10 days of the date the funds would have been sent to the judgment debtor in the normal course of business. Any levy on state funds is subordinate to the department of revenue's right of offset for delinquent taxes or other debt as provided in 15-30-2609, 15-30-2629, 15-31-404, 15-36-315, 15-39-106, 15-39-109, 15-68-516, 15-70-110, 15-72-113, Title 17, chapter 4, and 39-51-1307.
(8) This section is not intended to supersede any state or federal laws regarding priority that must be given to certain levies and executions.
History: En. Sec. 198, p. 83, Bannack Stat.; re-en. Sec. 220, p. 180, L. 1867; re-en. Sec. 270, p. 85, Cod. Stat. 1871; amd. Sec. 320, p. 125, L. 1877; re-en. Sec. 320, 1st Div. Rev. Stat. 1879; re-en. Sec. 331, 1st Div. Comp. Stat. 1887; re-en. Sec. 1224, C. Civ. Proc. 1895; re-en. Sec. 6827, Rev. C. 1907; re-en. Sec. 9431, R.C.M. 1921; Cal. C. Civ. Proc. Sec. 691; re-en. Sec. 9431, R.C.M. 1935; R.C.M. 1947, 93-5823; amd. Sec. 3, Ch. 88, L. 1987; amd. Sec. 26, Ch. 548, L. 1987; amd. Sec. 5, Ch. 89, L. 1999; amd. Sec. 9, Ch. 515, L. 2001; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 560, L. 2001; amd. Sec. 68, Ch. 114, L. 2003; amd. Sec. 4, Ch. 510, L. 2003; amd. Sec. 5, Ch. 392, L. 2005; amd. Sec. 3, Ch. 457, L. 2007; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 200, L. 2013.