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December 16, 2017
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The Florida Statutes

The 2017 Florida Statutes

Title XXXIII
REGULATION OF TRADE, COMMERCE, INVESTMENTS, AND SOLICITATIONS
Chapter 559
REGULATION OF TRADE, COMMERCE, AND INVESTMENTS, GENERALLY
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F.S. 559.917
559.917 Bond to release possessory lien claimed by motor vehicle repair shop.
(1)(a) Any customer may obtain the release of her or his motor vehicle from any lien claimed under part II of chapter 713 by a motor vehicle repair shop for repair work performed under a written repair estimate by filing with the clerk of the court in the circuit in which the disputed transaction occurred a cash or surety bond, payable to the person claiming the lien and conditioned for the payment of any judgment which may be entered on the lien. The bond shall be in the amount stated on the invoice required by s. 559.911, plus accrued storage charges, if any, less any amount paid to the motor vehicle repair shop as indicated on the invoice. The customer shall not be required to institute judicial proceedings in order to post the bond in the registry of the court, nor shall the customer be required to use a particular form for posting the bond, unless the clerk shall provide such form to the customer for filing. Upon the posting of such bond, the clerk of the court shall automatically issue a certificate notifying the lienor of the posting of the bond and directing the lienor to release the customer’s motor vehicle.
(b) The lienor shall have 60 days to file suit to recover the bond. The prevailing party in that action may be entitled to damages plus court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees. If the lienor fails to file suit within 60 days after the posting of such bond, the bond shall be discharged.
(2) The failure of a lienor to release or return to the customer the motor vehicle upon which any lien is claimed, upon receiving a copy of a certificate giving notice of the posting of the bond and directing release of the motor vehicle, shall subject the lienor to judicial proceedings which may be brought by the customer to compel compliance with the certificate. Whenever a customer brings an action to compel compliance with the certificate, the customer need only establish that:
(a) Bond in the amount of the invoice, plus accrued storage charges, if any, less any amount paid to the motor vehicle repair shop as indicated on the invoice, was posted;
(b) A certificate was issued pursuant to this section;
(c) The motor vehicle repair shop, or any employee or agent thereof who is authorized to release the motor vehicle, received a copy of a certificate issued pursuant to this section; and
(d) The motor vehicle repair shop or employee authorized to release the motor vehicle failed to release the motor vehicle.

The customer, upon a judgment in her or his favor in an action brought under this subsection, may be entitled to damages plus court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees sustained by her or him by reason of such wrongful detention or retention. Upon a judgment in favor of the motor vehicle repair shop, the shop may be entitled to reasonable attorney’s fees.

(3) Any motor vehicle repair shop which, or any employee or agent thereof who is authorized to release the motor vehicle who, upon receiving a copy of a certificate giving notice of the posting of the bond in the required amount and directing release of the motor vehicle, fails to release or return the property to the customer pursuant to this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(4) Any customer who stops payment on a credit card charge or a check drawn in favor of a motor vehicle repair shop on account of an invoice or who fails to post a cash or surety bond pursuant to this section shall be prohibited from any recourse under this section with respect to the motor vehicle repair shop.
History.s. 1, ch. 80-139; s. 147, ch. 91-224; s. 827, ch. 97-103.