Tax Liens – One of the most common liens found when researching public records is that of the Tax Lien. A tax lien is a lien filed against a debtor (individual or company) for unpaid taxes. Tax liens can come from all levels of government including Federal Tax Liens, State Tax Liens, County Tax Liens and even City Tax Liens (local level tax liens may have slightly different names). Depending on the state, tax liens can be filed at the state and/or local recording offices.
Federal Tax Lien – IRS Tax Liens take priority in any deal. We can conduct a 10 year search on your debtor name to search for any Federal Tax liens that are on file. Federal tax liens are filed at the place of residence of the taxpayer. In the case of a company, that would be where the company’s executive offices and where executive decisions are made. For small businesses, this is usually the principal place of business.
State Tax Lien – Similarly, State and local taxing authorities may place a lien on the business’s property for unpaid state and local taxes. We can conduct 10 year searches for open liens in the necessary jurisdiction on any name to look for liens filed by the applicable state taxing departments. State tax liens are filed with the recorder of deeds and the circuit court where an individual resides or a business is located. .
Pending Civil Lawsuits, commonly referred to as Civil Litigation or Civil Actions, are court proceedings initiated by a plaintiff(s) to seek legal, monetary, or equitable relief from another party referred to as the defendant(s). In a civil lawsuit, the defendant(s) may also file a claim or cross-action against the plaintiff(s) to seek legal, monetary, or equitable relief. If a case is not settled between the parties, a trial takes place and the court or jury will then issue a judgment in favor of the prevailing party. A judgment can consist of monetary damages, court orders, injunctions, or other court resolutions.
Civil lawsuits are filed at all levels of government including local court systems, state court systems, and federal court systems. Within each court system, there are different courts assigned the authority or jurisdiction to process various types of civil matters. Most commonly these courts are called small claims courts, limited jurisdiction courts, and general jurisdiction courts. These courts process all types of case matters from evictions to complex litigation, with the exception of bankruptcy or criminal matters.
For years, NSI has performed public record searches of the civil court systems and located relevant case information for clients. NSI can perform a general index search, obtain related case documents, or perform specific case research at your request. NSI also maintains a vast network of research specialists with years of experience in performing civil litigation searches, you can be assured NSI will perform a diligent and comprehensive civil litigation search.
Civil Judgments/Judgment Lien –
- Judgment: The official decision of a court of law. It is a court’s decision granting or denying a plaintiff’s claim. Depending on the nature of the case, it could include an official determination of the amount due from a defendant to a plaintiff.
- Judgment Lien: A judgment lien follows a judgment and is an encumbrance on property, real and/or personal, typically against the real estate of a judgment debtor.
Judgment liens are created after a judgment is recorded in the local filing office (County Recorder, Recorder of Deeds, County Clerk etc.) where the real property records are located – not in the court. It is true that a judgment can automatically become a judgement lien in some jurisdictions but in the large majority of states, a judgment lien does not occur automatically just because a judgment has been entered by the court.
In many states when a judgment has been rendered in a court action, that judgment can be filed with a local or state recording office to create a lien. Many jurisdictions refer to this lien as a Judgment Lien or an Abstract of Judgment Lien. A judgment lien is a lien created after a party loses a case in court and a judgment is entered against them. Judgment liens can attach to real estate located in the county where the lien is recorded or the judgment is entered. Judgment liens can also attach to personal property, vehicles and after-acquired property – property the debtor acquires after the lien arises.
These liens act as a public notification of the judgment and can prevent the debtor from entering into various corporate or real estate transactions until the judgment has been satisfied. The judgment itself is also a matter of public record and can be searched on the court record systems where the case was processed.
Mechanics Lien – A Mechanic Lien is a lien filed by a contractor (or related vendor) when payment has not been made for the services provided by that contractor on an improved piece of real property. The lien seeks to guarantee payment in the future by preventing the homeowner from obtaining a full title or selling the property before paying for the contracted services. When a mechanic’s lien can be filed varies based on state and/or local laws, but is typically after the contractor’s work has been completed.
EPA/ERISA Liens- EPA Lien is a legal claim against the title of property to secure the payment of a debt or the performance of an obligation. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is authorized to file environmental liens and many States also allow their environmental agencies to file liens on contaminated property to secure the recovery of response costs. Some State Liens can also attach to revenues of responsible parties. Typically, a lien placed upon a property is given priority based upon the order in which they are recorded. In some states, provisions may allow an environmental enforcement agency to impose upon a contaminated parcel which takes priority over any prior liens on the parcel, which is a super priority lien.
To establish its priority among other secured parties and creditors, EPA must file notice of the lien “in the appropriate office within the State (or county or other governmental subdivision), as designated by State law, in which the real property subject to the lien is located.
“ERISA” Lien aka Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 is a federal law that governs retirement, health, life, and disability benefits for Americans. ERISA sets minimum standards for most voluntarily established pension and health plans in the private industry to provide protection for individuals in these plans. It was created to protect the employee and their funds that were contributed to covered plans via payroll deductions. To establish its priority among other secured parties and creditors, ERISA must file notice of the lien “in the appropriate office within the State (or county or other governmental subdivision), as designated by State law, in which the real property subject to the lien is located.
Lis Pendens – lis pendens is a written notice that a lawsuit has been filed concerning real estate, involving either the title to the property or a claimed ownership interest in it. The notice is usually filed in the county land records office. Recording a lis pendens against a piece of property alerts a potential purchaser or lender that the property’s title is in question, which makes the property less attractive to a buyer or lender. Once the notice is filed, the legal title of anyone who nevertheless purchases the land or property described in the notice is subject to the ultimate decision of the lawsuit.
Bankruptcy – Bankruptcy Cases are legal proceedings pertaining to financial matters and are processed through the federal court system, specifically by the United States Bankruptcy Court (USBC). The most common types of bankruptcy cases are Chapter 7 (Straight Bankruptcy/Liquidation), Chapter 11 (Reorganization), and Chapter 13 (Debt Adjustment) cases. These cases can be lengthy lasting for months or even years and often become complex as related civil matters from other local, state, and federal courts may arise.
NSI can perform record searches of the USBC indexing systems and locate relevant case information for clients. We can assist in obtaining docketing information, case copy retrievals including petitions, motions, discharges, schedules and all other case related documents. NSI also maintains a network of research specialists that can access older case files stored by the National Archive Centers nationwide.
Criminal Lawsuits, commonly referred to as Criminal Cases or Criminal Proceedings, are court proceedings initiated by a government agency representing the people (most commonly referred to as the District Attorney’s Office) to seek justice for a crime allegedly committed by the defendant. The attorney representing the interest of the people is called the prosecutor, while the attorney representing the defendant is either a public defender or private criminal defense attorney. In few cases, the defendant will actually represent himself/herself. If the defendant pleads innocent, then a trial will take place unless a plea bargain is made between the prosecutor and defendant. At the end of the trial, the judge or jury will issue a verdict based the information presented during trial using the standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Typically sentencing takes places soon thereafter and results in monetary fines, probation, incarceration, and/or other court sentencing options.
Criminal lawsuits are filed at all levels of government including local court systems, state court systems, and federal court systems. Within each court system, there are different courts assigned the authority or jurisdiction to process various types of criminal matters. The names of these courts vary from state to state, however these courts process all types of criminal matters from infractions, to misdemeanors and felonies.
For years, NSI has performed criminal history searches of the criminal court systems and located relevant case information for clients. NSI can perform court index searches, obtain related documents, or perform specific case research at your request. With a vast network of research specialists, NSI can provide you with accurate and comprehensive criminal searches to assist in due diligence or pre-screening for potential employees.
Real Estate Documents – Mortgage, Assignment, Deed, etc.
Current Owner Residential/Commericial – A Current Owner Search (or Ownership and Encumbrance/O&E Search) provides all deeds leading back to the most recent vesting deed. Also included in the search are any open mortgages, supporting documents or other liens filed on or against the property from the current vesting deed forward, along with any judgment and/or liens on file against the current owners. Current property assessment, tax card information and any delinquencies are also included. An O&E Report is an uninsured, informational only report often used a preliminary source of information for lenders, attorneys and real estate professionals. NSI’s network of experienced local researchers are knowledgeable in searching and obtaining the necessary documents required to complete a comprehensive and accurate O&E report.
Need a document or form from another agency or department? Give us a call and let NSI solve your problem.
Not only does NSI file documents at the state level, we file documents at the county and local level. Real estate documents such as mortgages, amendments, deeds, release of mortgage, etc. can be filed at the local level. Also, tax lien releases, fixtures, UCC forms, and many miscellaneous documents can be filed at the county and local level. We specialize in walk in service in Ohio and Indiana.
For more information on criminal searches or to place an order, please contact a representative in our Client Services Department.