In response to the ruling, a relative of the 21-year-old previously told PEOPLE: “Nick isn’t in a good place right now. He doesn’t have any money. This is symbolic more than anything, because they’re not going to get anything from him. You can’t get blood from a stone.”
The Gordon source added that filing for bankruptcy would likely be his next step.
Bobby Brown’s attorney previously told PEOPLE the singer intends to collect immediately.
“Bobby is relieved to have this chapter of the process behind him, but now he intends to actively pursue the collection against Nick Gordon,” Brown’s attorney, Craig Terrett, told PEOPLE. “We will be working with a collection attorney in Florida and we are moving forward quickly. We will be attaching the judgements to all those things in Florida.”
However, if Gordon “has no assets, then a bankruptcy most likely would wipe [his debt] out,” says Carl Linder, shareholder of Greenspoon Marder’s criminal law practice group in Florida.
If Gordon files for bankruptcy, Linder says a bankruptcy trustee would be appointed on the case and would “dig deep” into both Gordon’s current and past asset structure.
Because of Gordon’s young age, Linder suggests that he most likely would not have significant exempt assets to draw from.
“Now, if the court believes that Mr. Gordon has the ability in the future to earn money and to satisfy some of this judgment, then they may not discharge him from the bankruptcy,” explains Linder.
And if Gordon isn’t discharged — or still has to pay the $36 million he owes — Linder says that all of his earnings will get pulled into bankruptcy court as well.
“That judgment basically would follow Mr. Gordon throughout his adult life until it’s satisfied,” says Linder.
Linder explains that this ruling could create significant problems for Gordon in terms of destroying his credit, and the estate could potentially continue their pursuit on the collection of him.
“I don’t want to say definitively, but people in the entertainment industry will find ways to make sure that money is generated even if they’re not the legal owner of it,” says Linder.
On a $36 million judgment, Linder adds that it’s going to start collecting interest quickly, and in time, could reach $50 million. Linder says that Gordon could use this in his case to make a negotiation for a lesser amount.
As to whether Gordon could potentially face jail time for not paying the money he now owes?
“We’re not a country that has debtor prisons,” says Linder. “Although on occasion with debts, courts will hold clients in contempt of court for hiding assets and/or not disclosing all of their assets.”
Linder adds: “The reality is this kid probably doesn’t have anything to offer up.”