The Life of a Judgment (Lien) in Florida

A current case chosen by the Fifth District Court of Appeals talks about the statutory framework for improving and keeping a judgment lien on genuine property in Florida. The viewpoint is Sun Radiance Const., Inc. v. Cypress Healing Corp.,– So. 3d–, 2010 WL 4536803 (Fla. 5th DCA 2010).

According to Fla. Stat. 55.10, a judgment becomes a lien on real estate in any county when a licensed copy of it is recorded in the official records or judgment lien record of that county and runs as a lien for a preliminary duration of ten years from the date of the recording; and the judgment lender might extend the ten years period by complying with Fla. Stat. 55.10( 2 ):
“The lien attended to in subsection (1) or an extension of that lien as supplied by this subsection may be extended for an additional period of 10 years, subject to the limitation in subsection (3 ), by rerecording a qualified copy of the judgment, order, or decree prior to the expiration of the lien or the expiration of the extended lien and by simultaneously taping an affidavit with the present address of the person who has a lien as an outcome of the judgment, order, or decree. The extension will work from the date the accredited copy of the judgment, order, or decree is rerecorded.”

The question presented in the Sun Radiance Building case was whether the judgment lender could rerecord its judgment after the expiration of the initial ten years period, and therefore establish a brand-new lien on real estate. Due to the fact that the statute doesn’t specifically foreclose this possibility, the court permitted the judgment financial institution to do so. According to the court, the only impact of the judgment financial institution’s failure to rerecord the judgment prior to the expiration of the initial 10 year duration was to trigger the judgment financial institution to lose the concern over subsequent lienholders produced by the earlier recording and to establish top priority just over liens established after the later recording.
This ruling talks about the capability to keep a judgment lien on genuine property for the life of the judgment, but it does not go over the life of the judgment itself. That matter is contained in a different statute- Fla. Stat. 95.11( 1 ), which sets a twenty years statute of restrictions on judgment enforcement actions. However the analysis doesn’t end there. There is caselaw enabling a judgment financial institution to file an action on a judgment prior to its expiration and actually renew the judgment, by method of a brand-new judgment, helpful for another twenty years. See Petersen v. Whitson, 14 So. 3d 300 (Fla. 2d DCA 2009). And presumably, based upon the Petersen court’s reasoning, when the 2nd judgment is set to lapse, the judgment lender may file another new suit and get a 3rd judgment (and so on).

Based on these statutes and cases, read together, a judgment in Florida can basically be good permanently. Likewise, a judgment lien can be great forever, limited by its recording only in terms of its priority. This analysis uses similarly to judgments coming from Florida, judgments entered in other states tape-recorded in Florida pursuant to the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act, see Haigh v. Planning Bd. of Town of Medfield, 940 So. 2d 1230 (Fla. fifth DCA 2006), and judgments gone into in foreign countries recorded in Florida pursuant to the Uniform Foreign Cash Judgments Recognition Act, see Nadd v. Le Credit Lyonnais, S.A., 804 So. 2d 1226 (Fla. 2001).

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