How can I collect a civil judgment I won against a non-profit?

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How can I collect a civil judgment I won against a non-profit?

I sued a NJ non-profit and won money damages. They refuse to pay and will not answer interrogatories. I can’t find their bank information; it may not exist. However, I may be able to locate assets for the executive director. I sued “the entity, et al.” How can I seize his personal assets and argue that the non-profit was merely a vehicle for his personal business? They at times had 0 employees. Some board members listed had no idea their names were being used. They kept no minutes, etc. What can I do? What case(s) can I cite?

Asked on March 17, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, New Jersey

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A non-profit is just different form of a corporation, but it does not mean that it does not make money.  On the contrary, it needs to make money in order for it to do any of the intended charitable work for which is has the designation and tax exemption.  A corporation is set up to shield directors from personal liability.  If you want to sue them directly because of some fiduciary breach or error or omission then you have to name them in the suit and "et. al." is not going to get you a judgement against the personally.  Not only that, but you have to prove that the corporation is merely a shell as you say here and "pierce the corporate veil" in order to get to the director.  Not an easy thing to do but not impossible either.  You are going to need help at this point in time.  If the corporation itself owns nothing then you have nothing to go against.  Try looking in to who it does business with and serve informational subpoenas for those records.  Good luck to you.


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