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Reach & Apply Injunctions: What are They All About?

by | Jan 20, 2019 | Experienced Debt Collectors

Reach and apply injunctions can be used as powerful weapons in many situations that arise in a fight for collection of debts with uncooperative borrowers. While we will discuss exactly how powerful this weapon can be in the following paragraphs, the important thing to remember here is these injunctions enable petitioners to pursue what they are owed.

The next significant matter is how effectively you can put the reach and apply injunctions to use, and to do that (a) you need an expert attorney on your team who has substantial experience successfully pursuing reach and apply injunctive relief in debt collection cases and (b) you need to  educate yourself on the subject – which is essentially why we are publishing this post today. Equip yourself with the knowledge of how reach and apply injunctions work and how an experienced Massachusetts collections attorney is a must have in your corner.

What is a Reach & Apply Injunction?

Let’s begin the discussion with understanding what this type of injunction is all about. These injunctions are enforced as a means to enable creditors to reach parties who owe their debtors money and collect these monies as payment for their own debts.

Reach and apply remedies can be the most important avenue to be used by creditors faced with the problem of a debtor who is unwilling to pay back the debt or is not able to do so by means of assets in hand

Understanding Reach & apply injunctions in Massachusetts’ Context

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is one where reach and apply injunctions have received due respect and consideration, owing to the high standards of justice practiced by the courts. The definitions and description of these injunctions are included in Section 3, titled Special Jurisdiction, of Chapter 214 of Massachusetts General Laws.

Chapter 214 Section 3 discusses all key situations wherein an extraordinary definition for jurisdiction limits is required and applied by the courts of the state. Paragraphs 6 to 9 of this chapter are dedicated to reach and apply injunctions, creating a comprehensive picture of the situations in which a reach and apply action is appropriate.

Paragraph 6 of the chapter gives the basic – and most detailed – description of what reach and apply injunctions can do for the unpaid creditor. It states,

“Actions by creditors to reach and apply, in payment of a debt, any property, right, title or interest, legal or equitable, of a debtor, within or without the commonwealth, which cannot be reached to be attached or taken on execution although the property sought to be reached and applied is in the possession or control of the debtor independently of any other person or cannot be reached and applied until a future time or is of uncertain value, if the value can be ascertained by sale, appraisal or by any means within the ordinary procedure of the court. In such action, the interest of the defendant in partnership property may be reached and applied in payment of the plaintiff’s debt; but unless it is a judgment debt, the business of the partnership shall not be enjoined or otherwise interrupted further than to restrain the withdrawal of any portion of the debtor’s share or interest therein until the plaintiff’s debt is established, and if either partner gives to the plaintiff a sufficient bond with sureties approved by the clerk, conditioned to pay to the plaintiff the amount of his debt and costs within thirty days after it is established, the court shall proceed no further therein than to establish the debt; and upon the filing of such bond, any injunction previously issued in such action shall be dissolved.”

Paragraph 7 of Chapter 214 highlights another important issue in relation to reach and apply injunctions and says,

“Actions to reach and apply shares or interests in corporations organized under the laws of the commonwealth or of the United States and located or having a general office in the commonwealth, whether the plaintiff is a creditor or not, and whether the action is founded upon a debt or not”

Furthermore, Paragraph 8 of Chapter 214 discusses the important issue of intent of the debtor and states,

“Actions to reach and apply in payment of a debt any property, right, title or interest, real or personal, of a debtor, liable to be attached or taken on execution in a civil action against him and fraudulently conveyed by him with intent to defeat, delay or defraud his creditors, or purchased, or directly or indirectly paid for, by him, the record or other title to which is retained in the vendor or is conveyed to a third person with intent to defeat, delay or defraud the creditors of the debtor.”

In this paragraph, the state courts of Massachusetts can take into consideration the apparent intent of the debtor against whom the reach and apply injunction is filed. It describes the probable ways in which the debtor might show their intent defraud or cheat the creditor and states that such actions would make such parties potential target of a reach and apply petition.

Paragraph 9, similarly, further discusses the matter of reach and apply remedies and particularly describes the procedure that may be used to reach and apply monies due from an insurance company to its insured It states,

“Actions to reach and apply the obligation of an insurance company to a judgment debtor under a motor vehicle liability policy, as defined in section thirty-four A of chapter ninety, or under any other policy insuring a judgment debtor against liability for loss or damage on account of bodily injury or death or for loss or damage resulting therefrom, or on account of damage to property, in satisfaction of a judgment covered by such policy, which has not been satisfied within thirty days after the date when it was rendered.”

Perfecting a Reach and Apply Action

Going after your debtor with a reach and apply injunction is a complex exercise that requires significant research and caution and immense preparation. The action often begins at the time that we prepare the complaint or after judgment when there is an impasse in payment of your debt after you have taken your debtor to court and it has been proven that the party is unable to pay back the money they owe you.

Many creditors pursue reach and apply injunctions post judgment. They file their complaint on a judgment, requesting the court to forego the defendant’s right to claim their own debts. You request the court to issue an order to restrain any transfers of monies or property of any kind to your debtor from their debtors.

This is only possible when you are able to prove that your debtor is owed monies from a third party (or parties), which requires careful research conducted by a lawyer who is skilled in collecting information that is presentable in a court of law by legal means.

The court will then hear your evidence and may allow you to reach the assets owed by a third party to your debtor and issue an order that applies these assets to be used as payment of your debt to the extent they fulfill it.

However, if you have a seasoned lawyer in your corner who understands your debtor might use the time the initial lawsuit gives them to collect their debts and hide the money one way or another, they will advise you to prepare for a reach and apply injunction at the beginning of the process.

With their experience and command of Massachusetts commercial debt law, the attorneys in the Law Offices of Alan M. Cohen & Associates LLC have repeatedly won injunctive relief for their clients by preparing for a reach and apply petition in the primary lawsuit. This can help our clients move to the top of the food chain.

What Kind of Situations Benefit Most from Reach and Apply Complaints

Reach and apply petitions are most effective when your debtor is a business entity that has customers that rely upon them for service and materials s. Contractors and other commercial debtors of virtually all kinds fit the bill and are often considered most vulnerable to reach and apply actions.

Reach and apply injunctions are a solid debt collection technique since most commercial debtors’ businesses heavily depends on what their clients pay them for services and/or supplies.

Therefore, if you are an independent service or materials provider working with a contractor who refuses to pay your bills or a supplier of commercial services and/or materials a reach and apply injunction can be your most useful tool to collect your delinquent receivables.


In short, reach and apply remedies are an important allowance of the state law in many states of the United States of America that helps creditors pursue and collect bad debts when their debtors are denying them payment or do not seem to have any assets or monies in their independent possession that would enable them to pay back their debt and honor the contract.

With a complex set of declarations, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has devised a clear set of situations where these injunctions will have power with the singular purpose of helping creditors receive what they are owed.

Contact Us

Our success in using reach and apply injunction in Massachusetts has helped Attorney Alan M. Cohen earn the highest rating from Martindale-Hubbell, an impartial peer review and rating agency recognized nationwide for his work as a debt collection attorney

You can contact us for any further information regarding your plans to pursue reach and apply action in Massachusetts by calling us on 508-763-6604 or sending Attorney Cohen an email directly to [email protected].