Unsuccessful Garnishment Attorneys Fees

In light of the liability for attorney's fees for an unsuccessful garnishment under chapter 525, the preferable remedy nearly always will be an action pursuant to section 379.200. If both remedies are available a section 379.200 action has the advantage of not subjecting the unsuccessful litigant to liability for attorney's fees. Under the garnishment statute and rule, a garnishee may claim, and the court shall grant, an allowance for expenses and counsel fees attending the defense of proceedings against a garnishee if the plaintiff fails to recover under a garnishment of execution. Section 525.240, RSMo 2000. Additionally, Rule 90.12(b) provides that "if the garnishor files exceptions to the garnishee's interrogatory answers but does not obtain a judgment against the garnishee, all of the costs attending such garnishment shall be taxed against the garnishor." The rule further mandates that "the court in such a case shall render judgment in favor of the garnishee and against the garnishor for an amount sufficient to indemnify the garnishee for time and expenses, including attorney's fees". The only requirements the rule imposes on the entitlement of garnishee to recover its expenses is, first, that the garnishor file exceptions to the garnishee's interrogatory answers and, second, that garnishor not obtain a judgment against the garnishee.