In the case of In Re Wilkinson, the United States Bankruptcy Court at Alexandria, Virginia denied the debtor's motion to avoid the creditor's execution lien; the debtor's wages had been garnished in execution of a judgment lien more than 90 days before the debtor filed his Chapter 7 petition. The Bankruptcy Court ruled that the debtor could not recover the garnished wages from the judgment creditor even though the order directing payment of the garnished wages to the creditor was entered within the 90-day period.
The Bankruptcy Court stated that the issue was not whether a debtor could recover funds withheld from his wages more than 90 days before he filed his Chapter 7 petition, but whether the order of payment requiring the employer to pay those funds to the judgment creditor was entered within 90 days of the bankruptcy filing.
The Bankruptcy Court concluded that the debtor could not succeed under the lien avoidance provisions of Bankruptcy Code §522 (f) because he no longer had an interest in the garnished funds as of the date he filed his petition. The Bankruptcy Court also concluded that the debtor could not succeed by stepping into the trustee's shoes under Bankruptcy Code §522 (h) and recovering the funds paid over to the judgment creditor as a preference because the judgment creditor's execution lien became fixed outside the 90-day preference period, and the payment within the preference period did not enable the creditor to obtain more than it would in a Chapter 7 liquidation.
Accordingly, the Bankruptcy Court denied the debtor's motion to avoid the execution lien.