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The Florida Statutes

The 2013 Florida Statutes

Title VI
CIVIL PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE
Chapter 55
JUDGMENTS
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CHAPTER 55
CHAPTER 55
JUDGMENTS
55.01 Judgments; general form.
55.03 Judgments; rate of interest, generally.
55.04 Judgments; rate of interest, bonds of county, etc.
55.05 Judgments; power of attorney to confess invalid.
55.07 Judgments; effect of failure to record.
55.071 Judgments; effect of invalid affidavit or oath.
55.081 Statute of limitations, lien of judgment.
55.10 Judgments, orders, and decrees; lien of all, generally; extension of liens; transfer of liens to other security.
55.11 Judgments; no lien against municipalities.
55.13 Judgments; rights of sureties, etc.
55.141 Satisfaction of judgments and decrees; duties of clerk.
55.145 Discharge of judgments in bankruptcy.
55.146 Certain property exempt.
55.201 Central database of judgment liens on personal property.
55.202 Judgments, orders, and decrees; lien on personal property.
55.203 Judgment lien certificate; content, filing, and indexing.
55.204 Duration and continuation of judgment lien; destruction of records.
55.205 Effect of judgment lien.
55.206 Amendment of judgment lien file; termination, partial release, assignment, continuation, tolling, correction.
55.207 Correction of judgment lien file.
55.208 Effect of filed judgment lien on writs of execution previously delivered to a sheriff.
55.209 Department of State; processing fees, responsibilities.
55.501 Florida Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act; short title.
55.502 Construction of act.
55.503 Recording and status of foreign judgments; fees.
55.505 Notice of recording; prerequisite to enforcement.
55.507 Lien; when effective.
55.509 Stay of enforcement of foreign judgment.
55.601 Uniform Out-of-country Foreign Money-Judgment Recognition Act; short title.
55.602 Definitions.
55.603 Applicability.
55.604 Recognition and enforcement.
55.605 Grounds for nonrecognition.
55.6055 Foreign defamation judgment.
55.606 Personal jurisdiction.
55.607 Stay in case of appeal.
55.01 Judgments; general form.
(1) In all actions where either party recovers a sum of money, the amount to which he or she is entitled may be awarded by the judgment generally, without any distinction being therein made as to whether such sum is recovered by way of debt or damages.
(2) Each final judgment shall contain thereon the address and the social security number, if known to the prevailing party, of each person against whom judgment is rendered. Errors in names, addresses, or social security numbers or failure to include same shall in no way affect the validity or finality of a final judgment.
History.s. 40, ch. 1096, 1861; RS 1171; GS 1598; RGS 2800; CGL 4486; s. 9, ch. 67-254; s. 1, ch. 79-387; s. 9, ch. 93-250; s. 293, ch. 95-147.
55.03 Judgments; rate of interest, generally.
(1) On December 1, March 1, June 1, and September 1 of each year, the Chief Financial Officer shall set the rate of interest that shall be payable on judgments or decrees for the calendar quarter beginning January 1 and adjust the rate quarterly on April 1, July 1, and October 1 by averaging the discount rate of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for the preceding 12 months, then adding 400 basis points to the averaged federal discount rate. The Chief Financial Officer shall inform the clerk of the courts and chief judge for each judicial circuit of the rate that has been established for the upcoming quarter. The interest rate established by the Chief Financial Officer shall take effect on the first day of each following calendar quarter. Judgments obtained on or after January 1, 1995, shall use the previous statutory rate for time periods before January 1, 1995, for which interest is due and shall apply the rate set by the Chief Financial Officer for time periods after January 1, 1995, for which interest is due. Nothing contained herein shall affect a rate of interest established by written contract or obligation.
(2) Any judgment for money damages or order for a judicial sale and any process or writ directed to a sheriff for execution shall bear, on its face, the rate of interest that is payable on the judgment. The rate of interest stated in the judgment, as adjusted in subsection (3), accrues on the judgment until it is paid.
(3) The interest rate is established at the time a judgment is obtained and such interest rate shall be adjusted annually on January 1 of each year in accordance with the interest rate in effect on that date as set by the Chief Financial Officer until the judgment is paid, except for judgments entered by the clerk of the court pursuant to ss. 55.141, 61.14, 938.29, and 938.30, which shall not be adjusted annually.
(4) A sheriff shall not be required to docket and index or collect on any process, writ, judgment, or decree, described in subsection (2), and entered after the effective date of this act, unless such process, writ, judgment, or decree indicates the rate of interest. For purposes of this subsection, if the process, writ, judgment, or decree refers to the statutory rate of interest described in subsection (1), such reference shall be deemed to indicate the rate of interest.
History.s. 1, ch. 1562, 1866; RS 1176; GS 1604; RGS 2806; CGL 4493; s. 1, ch. 16051, 1933; s. 9, ch. 67-254; s. 7, ch. 77-354; s. 8, ch. 79-396; ss. 1, 2, ch. 80-110; s. 1, ch. 81-113; s. 37, ch. 81-259; s. 8, ch. 94-239; s. 4, ch. 98-410; s. 101, ch. 2003-261; s. 1, ch. 2011-169.
55.04 Judgments; rate of interest, bonds of county, etc.All judgments and decrees rendered on any bonds or other written evidence of debt of any county, special road and bridge districts or any county for the use and benefit of any special road and bridge districts or incorporated city or town or taxing district bear interest at the rate of 5 percent a year. When a judgment or decree is rendered on a bond or other written evidence of debt providing for a lesser rate of interest, the judgment or decree bears interest at the rate specified in such bond or other written evidence of debt.
History.s. 1, ch. 16835, 1935; CGL 1936 Supp. 4493(1); s. 9, ch. 67-254.
55.05 Judgments; power of attorney to confess invalid.All powers of attorney for confessing or suffering judgment to pass by default or otherwise, and all general releases of error, heretofore made or to be made hereafter by any person whatsoever within or without this state, before such action brought, shall be absolutely null and void.
History.s. 67, Nov. 23, 1828; RS 1178; GS 1606; RGS 2808; CGL 4495; s. 1, ch. 59-321; s. 9, ch. 67-254.
55.07 Judgments; effect of failure to record.The failure to record any order, judgment or decree shall not affect the validity of any proceedings had thereon when collaterally attacked; provided, rendition of such order, judgment or decree is shown by the progress docket in the cause. This section shall apply to all proceedings heretofore had as well as to those hereafter had.
History.ss. 1, 2, ch. 12114, 1927; CGL 4496; s. 9, ch. 67-254.
55.071 Judgments; effect of invalid affidavit or oath.No order, judgment or decree heretofore or hereafter entered (including decrees pro confesso, defaults and judgments by default) which was or shall be predicated on a sworn statement, affidavit or oath shall be set aside or held void or voidable because the officer before whom such sworn statement or affidavit was or shall be made or such oath was or shall be administered was the attorney of record or otherwise the attorney for the person making such sworn statement, affidavit or oath.
History.s. 1, ch. 22843, 1945; s. 9, ch. 67-254.
55.081 Statute of limitations, lien of judgment.Subject to the provisions of s. 55.10, no judgment, order, or decree of any court shall be a lien upon real or personal property within the state after the expiration of 20 years from the date of the entry of such judgment, order, or decree.
History.s. 1, ch. 29954, 1955; s. 9, ch. 67-254; s. 1, ch. 87-67.
55.10 Judgments, orders, and decrees; lien of all, generally; extension of liens; transfer of liens to other security.
(1) A judgment, order, or decree becomes a lien on real property in any county when a certified copy of it is recorded in the official records or judgment lien record of the county, whichever is maintained at the time of recordation, provided that the judgment, order, or decree contains the address of the person who has a lien as a result of such judgment, order, or decree or a separate affidavit is recorded simultaneously with the judgment, order, or decree stating the address of the person who has a lien as a result of such judgment, order, or decree. A judgment, order, or decree does not become a lien on real property unless the address of the person who has a lien as a result of such judgment, order, or decree is contained in the judgment, order, or decree or an affidavit with such address is simultaneously recorded with the judgment, order, or decree. If the certified copy was first recorded in a county in accordance with this subsection between July 1, 1987, and June 30, 1994, then the judgment, order, or decree shall be a lien in that county for an initial period of 7 years from the date of the recording. If the certified copy is first recorded in accordance with this subsection on or after July 1, 1994, then the judgment, order, or decree shall be a lien in that county for an initial period of 10 years from the date of the recording.
(2) The lien provided for in subsection (1) or an extension of that lien as provided by this subsection may be extended for an additional period of 10 years, subject to the limitation in subsection (3), by rerecording a certified copy of the judgment, order, or decree prior to the expiration of the lien or the expiration of the extended lien and by simultaneously recording an affidavit with the current address of the person who has a lien as a result of the judgment, order, or decree. The extension shall be effective from the date the certified copy of the judgment, order, or decree is rerecorded. The lien or extended lien will not be extended unless the affidavit with the current address is simultaneously recorded.
(3) In no event shall the lien upon real property created by this section be extended beyond the period provided for in s. 55.081 or beyond the point at which the lien is satisfied, whichever occurs first.
(4) This act shall apply to all judgments, orders, and decrees of record which constitute a lien on real property; except that any judgment, order, or decree recorded prior to July 1, 1987, shall remain a lien on real property until the period provided for in s. 55.081 expires or until the lien is satisfied, whichever occurs first.
(5) Any lien claimed under this section may be transferred, by any person having an interest in the real property upon which the lien is imposed or the contract under which the lien is claimed, from such real property to other security by either depositing in the clerk’s office a sum of money or filing in the clerk’s office a bond executed as surety by a surety insurer licensed to do business in this state. Such deposit or bond shall be in an amount equal to the amount demanded in such claim of lien plus interest thereon at the legal rate for 3 years plus $500 to apply on any court costs which may be taxed in any proceeding to enforce said lien. Such deposit or bond shall be conditioned to pay any judgment, order, or decree which may be rendered for the satisfaction of the lien for which such claim of lien was recorded and costs plus $500 for court costs. Upon such deposit being made or such bond being filed, the clerk shall make and record a certificate showing the transfer of the lien from the real property to the security and mail a copy thereof by registered or certified mail to the lienor named in the claim of lien so transferred, at the address stated therein. Upon the filing of the certificate of transfer, the real property shall thereupon be released from the lien claimed, and such lien shall be transferred to said security. The clerk shall be entitled to a service charge of up to $15 for making and serving the certificate. If the transaction involves the transfer of multiple liens, an additional service charge of up to $7.50 for each additional lien shall be charged. Any number of liens may be transferred to one such security.
(6) Any excess of the security over the aggregate amount of any judgments, orders, or decrees rendered, plus costs actually taxed, shall be repaid to the party filing the security or his or her successor in interest. Any deposit of money shall be considered as paid into court and shall be subject to the provisions of law relative to payments of money into court and the disposition of these payments.
(7) Any party having an interest in such security or the property from which the lien was transferred may at any time, and any number of times, file a complaint in chancery in the circuit court of the county where such security is deposited for an order:
(a) To require additional security;
(b) To require reduction of security;
(c) To require change or substitution of sureties;
(d) To require payment or discharge thereof; or
(e) Relating to any other matter affecting said security.
History.s. 1, ch. 10166, 1925; s. 1, ch. 14749, 1931; ss. 1-3, ch. 17998, 1937; s. 2, ch. 19270, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4865(3); s. 9, ch. 67-254; s. 1, ch. 71-56; s. 1, ch. 77-462; s. 2, ch. 87-67; s. 7, ch. 87-145; s. 12, ch. 91-45; s. 10, ch. 93-250; s. 15, ch. 94-348; s. 1357, ch. 95-147; s. 7, ch. 2000-258; s. 1, ch. 2001-130; s. 68, ch. 2003-402; s. 47, ch. 2004-265.
55.11 Judgments; no lien against municipalities.No money judgment or decree against a municipal corporation is a lien on its property nor shall any execution or any writ in the nature of an execution based on the judgment or decree be issued or levied.
History.s. 1, ch. 17125, 1935; CGL 1936 Supp. 4492(4); s. 9, ch. 67-254.
55.13 Judgments; rights of sureties, etc.Any person paying money as surety for the principal in any bond or note, which he or she has signed as surety, upon which judgment has been obtained, shall have the same right to control the said judgment and collect the same, with principal, interest and costs, as the plaintiff creditor would have had if the debt had not been paid. Such judgment, and execution thereon, shall have the same lien on property of the principal as though the surety were the original plaintiff.
History.ss. 1, 2, ch. 765, 1855; RS 1177; GS 1605; RGS 2807; CGL 4494; s. 9, ch. 67-254; s. 295, ch. 95-147.
55.141 Satisfaction of judgments and decrees; duties of clerk.
(1) All judgments and decrees for the payment of money rendered in the courts of this state and which have become final, may be satisfied at any time prior to the actual levy of execution issued thereon by payment of the full amount of such judgment or decree, with interest thereon, plus the costs of the issuance, if any, of execution thereon into the registry of the court where rendered.
(2) Upon such payment, the clerk shall execute and record in the official records a satisfaction of judgment upon payment of the recording charge prescribed in s. 28.24(12). Upon payment of the amount required in subsection (1) and the recording charge required by this subsection and execution and recordation of the satisfaction by the clerk, any lien created by the judgment is satisfied and discharged.
(3) The satisfaction of judgment executed by the clerk must be substantially in the following form:

Satisfaction of Judgment by Clerk

The undersigned Clerk acknowledges on this   day of   (month)  ,   (year)  , receipt from   (identity of party making payment)   of $   (total amount received)  , comprised of $   face amount of the judgment; $   interest accruing on the judgment through the date of payment; $  costs of issuance of any execution; and $   for recording.

Pursuant to section 55.141, Florida Statutes, said sum is paid to satisfy the lien and to discharge that certain final judgment in favor of   (name of judgment holder)   whose last known address, if known, is   (address if shown on face of judgment or in recorded affidavit pursuant to section 55.10(1), Florida Statutes,)   against   (name of judgment debtor)   recorded in Official Records Volume/Book  , page   of the public records of    County, Florida.

Upon the execution of this satisfaction, said judgment is satisfied and discharged.

If an address for the judgment holder was provided under section 55.10(1), Florida Statutes, I certify that a copy of this notice has been sent to the judgment holder at said address by certified mail with return receipt requested or by registered mail if the notice is to be sent outside the continental United States.

Clerk of Court

(4) If an address for the judgment holder was provided under s. 55.10(1), the clerk shall formally send a copy of the satisfaction to the judgment holder at that address by certified mail with return receipt or by registered mail if the notice is to be sent outside the continental United States. If an address is not provided under s. 55.10(1) or if delivery cannot be effected to such address, the clerk may, but is not obligated to, make reasonable attempts to locate the judgment holder. The discharge of the lien by the issuance of the satisfaction is not dependent upon the delivery of notice by the clerk.
(5) Upon application of the judgment holder, the clerk shall pay over to the judgment holder the full amount of the payment received, less the clerk’s fees for issuing execution on such judgment, if any has been issued; less the clerk’s fees for receiving into and paying out of the registry of the court such payment; less the clerk’s fees for recording the satisfaction of judgment; and, if the clerk incurred expenses in locating the judgment holder, less the reasonable expenses so incurred.
History.ss. 1, 2, 3, ch. 22672, 1945; s. 9, ch. 67-254; s. 2, ch. 77-354; s. 4, ch. 82-205; s. 296, ch. 95-147; s. 69, ch. 2003-402; s. 48, ch. 2004-265; s. 1, ch. 2005-241.
Note.Former s. 55.62.
55.145 Discharge of judgments in bankruptcy.At any time after 1 year has elapsed since a bankrupt or debtor was discharged from his or her debts, pursuant to the act of congress relating to bankruptcy, the bankrupt or debtor, his or her receiver or trustee, or any interested party may petition the court in which the judgment was rendered against such bankrupt or debtor for an order to cancel and discharge such judgment. The petition shall be accompanied by a certified copy of the discharge of said bankrupt or by a certified copy of the order of confirmation of the arrangement filed by said debtor. The petition, accompanied by copies of the papers upon which it is made, shall be served upon the judgment creditor in the manner prescribed for service of process in a civil action. If it appears upon the hearing that the bankrupt or debtor has been discharged from the payment of that judgment or of the debt upon which it was recovered, the court shall enter an order canceling and discharging said judgment. The order of cancellation and discharge shall have the same effect as a satisfaction of judgment, and a certified copy thereof may be recorded in the same manner as a satisfaction of judgment. This section shall apply only to liens under judgments or obligations duly scheduled in the bankruptcy proceedings.
History.s. 1, ch. 70-12; s. 297, ch. 95-147.
55.146 Certain property exempt.All property in this state of a judgment debtor where the judgment is in favor of any state for failure to pay that state’s income tax on benefits received from a pension or other retirement plan is exempt from forced sale under process of any court, and no such judgment or execution based thereon shall be a lien on such property.
History.s. 15, ch. 90-343.
55.201 Central database of judgment liens on personal property.The Department of State shall maintain a database of judgment lien files established in accordance with ss. 55.201-55.209.
History.s. 8, ch. 2000-258; s. 1, ch. 2001-154.
55.202 Judgments, orders, and decrees; lien on personal property.
(1) A judgment lien securing the unpaid amount of any money judgment may be acquired by the holder of a judgment:
(a) Enforceable in this state under its laws or the laws of the United States;
(b) Entered by an issuing tribunal with respect to a support order being enforced in this state pursuant to chapter 88; or
(c) Enforceable by operation of law pursuant to s. 61.14(6).
(2) A judgment lien may be acquired on a judgment debtor’s interest in all personal property in this state subject to execution under s. 56.061, other than fixtures, money, negotiable instruments, and mortgages.
(a) A judgment lien is acquired by filing a judgment lien certificate in accordance with s. 55.203 with the Department of State after the judgment has become final and if the time to move for rehearing has lapsed, no motion for rehearing is pending, and no stay of the judgment or its enforcement is then in effect. A court may authorize, for cause shown, the filing of a judgment lien certificate before a judgment has become final when the court has authorized the issuance of a writ of execution in the same matter. A judgment lien certificate not filed in compliance with this subsection is permanently void and of no effect.
(b) For any lien, warrant, assessment, or judgment collected by the Department of Revenue, a judgment lien may be acquired by filing the judgment lien certificate information or warrant with the Department of State in accordance with subsection (5).
(c) Except as provided in s. 55.208, the effective date of a judgment lien is the date, including the time of day, of filing. Although no lien attaches to property, and a creditor does not become a lien creditor as to liens under chapter 679, until the debtor acquires an interest in the property, priority among competing judgment liens is determined in order of filing date and time.
(d) Except as provided in s. 55.204(3), a judgment creditor may file only one effective judgment lien certificate based upon a particular judgment.
(3) Except as otherwise provided in s. 55.208, the priority of a judgment lien acquired in accordance with this section or s. 55.204(3) is established at the date and time the judgment lien certificate is filed.
(4) As used in ss. 55.201-55.209, the terms “holder of a judgment” and “judgment creditor” include the Department of Revenue with respect to a judgment being enforced by the Department of Revenue as the state IV-D agency.
(5) Liens, assessments, warrants, or judgments filed pursuant to paragraph (2)(b) may be filed directly into the central database by the Department of Revenue, or its designee as determined by its executive director, through electronic or information data exchange programs approved by the Department of State. Such filings must contain the information set forth in s. 55.203(1).
History.s. 9, ch. 2000-258; s. 2, ch. 2001-154; s. 2, ch. 2002-218; s. 2, ch. 2005-241.
55.203 Judgment lien certificate; content, filing, and indexing.
(1) An original judgment lien certificate must include:
(a) The legal name of each judgment debtor and, if a recorded legal entity, the registered name and document filing number as shown in the records of the Department of State.
(b) The last known address and the social security number or federal employer identification number of each judgment debtor if shown on the judgment itself.
(c) The legal name of the judgment creditor and, if a recorded legal entity, the registered name and document filing number as shown in the records of the Department of State, and the name of the judgment creditor’s attorney or duly authorized representative, if any.
(d) The address of the judgment creditor.
(e) The identity of the court which entered the judgment and the case number and the date the written judgment was entered.
(f) The amount due on the money judgment and the applicable interest rate.
(g) The signature of the judgment creditor or the judgment creditor’s attorney or duly authorized representative.
(h) With respect to a lien acquired by a delivery of a writ of execution to a sheriff prior to October 1, 2001, an affidavit by the judgment creditor which attests that the person or entity possesses any documentary evidence of the date of delivery of the writ, and a statement of that date or a certification by the sheriff of the date as provided in 1s. 30.17(4).
(2) A second judgment lien certificate, as provided in s. 55.204(3), must include the information required in subsection (1) and must state the file number assigned to the file of the original judgment lien certificate, the money amount remaining unpaid, and the interest accrued thereon.
(3) An amendment, as provided in s. 55.206, or a correction statement, as provided in s. 55.207, must state the file number of the judgment lien file to which the amendment or correction statement relates and must state the action, change, or statement to be added.
(4) The Department of State shall examine, for compliance with ss. 55.201-55.209, each document submitted for filing and shall accept or reject the document accordingly. For each judgment lien certificate filed, the department shall:
(a) Create a file.
(b) Assign a unique file number to the record.
(c) Include the date and time of filing of the judgment lien certificate.
(d) Maintain the file in a database accessible to the public via the Internet.
(e) Index the judgment lien certificate according to the name of each judgment debtor.
(f) Index all subsequently filed documents relating to an original judgment lien certificate in a manner that associates them to the original judgment lien certificate.
(5) A judgment lien certificate substantially satisfying the requirements of this section is effective even if it has minor errors or omissions that make the filing seriously misleading.
(6) The Department of State shall prescribe mandatory forms of all documents to be filed under this section.
History.s. 10, ch. 2000-258; s. 3, ch. 2001-154.
1Note.Repealed by s. 5, ch. 2005-2.
55.204 Duration and continuation of judgment lien; destruction of records.
(1) Except as provided in this section, a judgment lien acquired under s. 55.202 lapses and becomes invalid 5 years after the date of filing the judgment lien certificate.
(2) Liens securing the payment of child support or tax obligations under s. 95.091(1)(b) lapse 20 years after the date of the original filing of the warrant or other document required by law to establish a lien. Liens securing the payment of reemployment assistance tax obligations lapse 10 years after the date of the original filing of the notice of lien. A second lien based on the original filing may not be obtained.
(3) At any time within 6 months before or 6 months after the scheduled lapse of a judgment lien under subsection (1), the judgment creditor may acquire a second judgment lien by filing a new judgment lien certificate. The effective date of the second judgment lien is the date and time on which the judgment lien certificate is filed. The second judgment lien is a new judgment lien and not a continuation of the original judgment lien. The second judgment lien permanently lapses and becomes invalid 5 years after its filing date, and additional liens based on the original judgment or any judgment based on the original judgment may not be acquired.
(4) A judgment lien continues only as to itemized property for an additional 90 days after lapse of the lien. Such judgment lien continues only if:
(a) The property was itemized and its location described with sufficient particularity in the instructions for levy to permit the sheriff to act;
(b) The instructions for the levy had been delivered to the sheriff before the date of lapse of the lien; and
(c) The property was located in the county in which the sheriff has jurisdiction at the time of delivery of the instruction for levy. Subsequent removal of the property does not defeat the lien. A court may order continuation of the lien beyond the 90-day period on a showing that extraordinary circumstances have prevented levy.
(5) The date of lapse of a judgment lien whose enforceability has been temporarily stayed or enjoined as a result of any legal or equitable proceeding is tolled until 30 days after the stay or injunction is terminated.
(6) If a second judgment lien is not filed, the Department of State shall maintain each judgment lien file and all information contained therein for a minimum of 1 year after the judgment lien lapses in accordance with this section. If a second judgment lien is filed, the department shall maintain both files and all information contained in such files for a minimum of 1 year after the second judgment lien lapses.
(7)  This section does not extend the life of a judgment lien beyond the time that the underlying judgment, order, decree, or warrant otherwise expires or becomes invalid pursuant to law.
History.s. 11, ch. 2000-258; s. 4, ch. 2001-154; s. 3, ch. 2005-241; s. 3, ch. 2010-90; s. 1, ch. 2010-138; s. 34, ch. 2012-30.
55.205 Effect of judgment lien.
(1) A judgment creditor who has not acquired a judgment lien as provided in s. 55.202 or whose lien has lapsed may nevertheless proceed against the judgment debtor’s property through any appropriate judicial process. Such judgment creditor proceeding by writ of execution acquires a lien as of the time of levy and only on the property levied upon. Except as provided in s. 55.208, such judgment creditor takes subject to the claims and interest of priority judgment creditors.
(2) A buyer in the ordinary course of business as defined in s. 671.201(9) takes free of a judgment lien acquired as provided in s. 55.202 or s. 55.204 even though the buyer knows of its existence. A valid security interest as defined in chapter 679 in after-acquired property of the judgment debtor which is perfected before the debtor acquires an interest in the property takes priority over the judgment lien on the after-acquired property.
(3) An individual buyer of goods for personal, family, or household use who buys the goods from a seller who held the goods for personal, family, or household use, and who pays value without knowledge that the goods are subject to a judgment lien, is entitled, to the extent of the value paid, to a lien on the goods superior to the judgment lien. If the buyer has made improvements to the goods, or other reasons justify doing so, a court may adjust the amount secured by the lien as the equities may require. This subsection shall not apply to:
(a) A transfer to a relative or an insider of the judgment debtor, as such are defined at s. 726.102;
(b) A fraudulent transfer, as defined by s. 726.105, s. 726.106, or 11 U.S.C. s. 548;
(c) A fraudulent asset conversion as defined by s. 222.30;
(d) Twenty-five percent of the transfer of goods by a judgment debtor the value of which, in the aggregate, exceeds $10,000;
(e) Fifty percent of the transfer of goods by a judgment debtor the value of which, in the aggregate, exceeds $20,000;
(f) Seventy-five percent of the transfer of goods by a judgment debtor the value of which, in the aggregate, exceeds $25,000; or
(g) Any transfer of goods by a judgment debtor the value of which, in the aggregate, exceeds $30,000.
(4) A buyer of stock in a corporation takes free of a judgment lien hereunder if the buyer pays value in good faith without notice as defined in s. 678.1051.
History.s. 12, ch. 2000-258; s. 5, ch. 2001-154; s. 4, ch. 2005-241.
55.206 Amendment of judgment lien file; termination, partial release, assignment, continuation, tolling, correction.
(1) An amendment to a judgment lien acquired as provided under s. 55.202 may be filed by or on behalf of the judgment creditor of record, which may provide for:
(a) The termination, partial release, or assignment of the judgment creditor’s interest in a judgment lien;
(b) The continuation and termination of the continuation of a judgment lien, as provided in s. 55.204(4);
(c) The tolling and termination of the tolling of a lapse of a judgment lien, as provided in s. 55.204(5); or
(d) The correction or change of any other information provided in the judgment lien file.
(2) Within 30 days following receipt of a written demand by a judgment debtor after the obligation underlying a judgment lien has been fully or partially released, the judgment lienholder must deliver to the judgment debtor a written statement indicating that there is no longer a claim for a lien on the personal property of the judgment debtor or that the judgment lien has been partially released and setting forth the value of the lien remaining unpaid as of the date of the statement. A statement signed by an assignee must include or be accompanied by a separate written acknowledgment of assignment signed by or for the benefit of the judgment creditor of record. If the judgment lienholder fails to deliver such a statement within 30 days after proper written demand therefor, the judgment lienholder is liable to the judgment debtor for $100, and for any actual or consequential damages, including reasonable attorney’s fees, caused by such failure to the judgment debtor. The judgment debtor, the judgment creditor, or assignee may file such statement with the Department of State.
History.s. 13, ch. 2000-258; s. 6, ch. 2001-154.
55.207 Correction of judgment lien file.
(1) A person may file with the Department of State a correction statement with respect to a judgment lien file, as provided in s. 55.203, indexed under any person’s name, if the person believes that the file is inaccurate or that the judgment lien certificate was wrongfully filed.
(2) A correction statement must:
(a) State the judgment debtor named and the file number assigned to the judgment lien file to which the correction statement relates;
(b) Indicate that it is a correction statement;
(c) Provide the basis for the person’s belief that the judgment lien certificate was wrongfully filed or the file is inaccurate; and
(d) Indicate the manner in which the person believes the file should be corrected to cure any inaccuracy.
(3) The department shall ensure that a correction statement is indexed and available in the same manner as any filed lien certificate in the central database of judgment lien files.
(4) The filing of a correction statement does not affect the effectiveness of the judgment lien or other filing.
History.s. 14, ch. 2000-258; s. 7, ch. 2001-154.
55.208 Effect of filed judgment lien on writs of execution previously delivered to a sheriff.
(1) Any lien created by a writ of execution which has been delivered to the sheriff of any county before October 1, 2001, remains in effect for 2 years thereafter as to any property of the judgment debtor located in that county before October 1, 2001, and remaining within that county after that date. As to any property of the judgment debtor brought into the county on or after October 1, 2001, such writs create no lien, inchoate or otherwise.
(2) If a judgment creditor who has delivered a writ of execution to a sheriff in any county prior to October 1, 2001, properly files a judgment lien certificate with the Department of State by October 1, 2003, the resulting judgment lien is deemed filed on the date the writ was delivered to the sheriff as to all property of the judgment debtor subject to execution in this state under s. 56.061 which is located in that county on October 1, 2001, and that remains continuously in that county thereafter. Priority of such judgment liens is determined as of the effective date they are considered to have been filed. As to all other property of the judgment debtor, the effective date of the judgment lien is as provided in s. 55.202. The duration of all judgment liens is as provided in s. 55.204.
(3) If a judgment creditor who has delivered a writ of execution to a sheriff in any county before October 1, 2001, does not properly file a judgment lien certificate with the Department of State by October 1, 2003, such writ is considered to have been abandoned and to be of no effect after October 1, 2003.
History.s. 15, ch. 2000-258; s. 8, ch. 2001-154.
55.209 Department of State; processing fees, responsibilities.
(1) Except for liens, assessments, warrants, or judgments filed electronically as provided in s. 55.202(2)(b), the Department of State shall collect the following nonrefundable processing fees for all documents filed in accordance with ss. 55.201-55.209:
(a) For any judgment lien certificate or other documents permitted to be filed, $20.
(b) For the certification of any filed document, $10.
(c) For copies of judgment lien documents which are produced by the Department of State, $1 per page or part thereof. However, no charge may be collected for copies provided in an online electronic format via the Internet.
(d) For indexing a judgment lien by multiple judgment debtor names, $5 per additional name.
(e) For each additional facing page attached to a judgment lien certificate or document permitted to be filed, $5.
(2) Unless otherwise provided by law, the Department of State may not conduct any search of the database established under s. 55.201 to determine the existence of any judgment lien file or to perform any service other than in connection with those services for which payment of services are required under this section. The information maintained in the database is for public notice purposes only and the department may make no certification or determination of the validity of any judgment lien acquired under ss. 55.202 and 55.204(3).
History.s. 16, ch. 2000-258; s. 14, ch. 2001-60; s. 9, ch. 2001-154.
55.501 Florida Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act; short title.Sections 55.501-55.509 may be cited as the “Florida Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act.”
History.s. 1, ch. 84-5.
55.502 Construction of act.
(1) As used in ss. 55.501-55.509, the term “foreign judgment” means a judgment, decree, or order of a court of any other state, territory or commonwealth of the United States, or of the United States if such judgment, decree, or order is entitled to full faith and credit in this state.
(2) This act shall not be construed to impair the right of a judgment creditor to bring an action to enforce his or her judgment instead of proceeding under this act.
(3) This act shall be interpreted and construed to effectuate its general purpose to make uniform the law with respect to the subject of this act among states enacting it.
(4) Nothing contained in this act shall be construed to alter, modify, or extend the limitation period applicable for the enforcement of foreign judgments.
History.ss. 2, 8, ch. 84-5; s. 16, ch. 94-348; s. 1358, ch. 95-147; s. 2, ch. 2013-164.
55.503 Recording and status of foreign judgments; fees.
(1) A copy of any foreign judgment certified in accordance with the laws of the United States or of this state may be recorded in the office of the clerk of the circuit court of any county. The clerk shall file, record, and index the foreign judgment in the same manner as a judgment of a circuit or county court of this state. A judgment so recorded shall have the same effect and shall be subject to the same rules of civil procedure, legal and equitable defenses, and proceedings for reopening, vacating, or staying judgments, and it may be enforced, released, or satisfied, as a judgment of a circuit or county court of this state.
(2) Any person recording a foreign judgment shall pay to the clerk of the circuit court a service charge as is required for the recording of an original action demanding the relief or judgment granted in the foreign judgment.
History.ss. 3, 7, ch. 84-5.
55.505 Notice of recording; prerequisite to enforcement.
(1) At the time of the recording of a foreign judgment, the judgment creditor shall make and record with the clerk of the circuit court an affidavit setting forth the name, social security number, if known, and last known post office address of the judgment debtor and of the judgment creditor.
(2) Promptly upon the recording of the foreign judgment and the affidavit, the clerk shall mail notice of the recording of the foreign judgment, by registered mail with return receipt requested, to the judgment debtor at the address given in the affidavit and shall make a note of the mailing in the docket. The notice shall include the name and post office address of the judgment creditor and of the judgment creditor’s attorney, if any, in this state. In addition, the judgment creditor may mail a notice of the recording of the judgment to the judgment debtor and may record proof of mailing with the clerk. The failure of the clerk to mail notice of recording will not affect the enforcement proceedings if proof of mailing by the judgment creditor has been recorded.
(3) No execution or other process for enforcement of a foreign judgment recorded hereunder shall issue until 30 days after the mailing of notice by the clerk and payment of a service charge of up to $42 to the clerk. When an action authorized in s. 55.509(1) is filed, it acts as an automatic stay of the effect of this section.
History.s. 4, ch. 84-5; s. 12, ch. 93-250; s. 17, ch. 94-348; s. 70, ch. 2003-402; s. 26, ch. 2008-111.
55.507 Lien; when effective.A foreign judgment does not operate as a lien until 30 days after the mailing of notice by the clerk. When an action authorized in s. 55.509(1) is filed, it acts as an automatic stay of the effect of this section.
History.s. 5, ch. 84-5.
55.509 Stay of enforcement of foreign judgment.
(1) If, within 30 days after the date the foreign judgment is recorded, the judgment debtor files an action contesting the jurisdiction of the court which entered the foreign judgment or the validity of the foreign judgment and records a lis pendens directed toward the foreign judgment, the court shall stay enforcement of the foreign judgment and the judgment lien upon the filing of the action by the judgment debtor.
(2) If the judgment debtor shows the circuit or county court any ground upon which enforcement of a judgment of any circuit or county court of this state would be stayed, the court shall stay enforcement of the foreign judgment for an appropriate period, upon requiring the same security for satisfaction of the judgment which is required in this state.
History.s. 6, ch. 84-5.
55.601 Uniform Out-of-country Foreign Money-Judgment Recognition Act; short title.Sections 55.601-55.607 may be cited as the “Uniform Out-of-country Foreign Money-Judgment Recognition Act.”
History.s. 1, ch. 94-239.
55.602 Definitions.As used in this act, the term:
(1) “Foreign state” means any governmental unit other than the United States, or any state, district, commonwealth, territory, insular possession thereof, or the Panama Canal Zone, the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, or the Ryukyu Islands.
(2) “Out-of-country foreign judgment” means any judgment of a foreign state granting or denying recovery of a sum of money, other than a judgment for taxes, a fine, or other penalty.
History.s. 2, ch. 94-239; s. 5, ch. 2005-241.
55.603 Applicability.This act applies to any out-of-country foreign judgment that is final and conclusive and enforceable where rendered, even though an appeal therefrom is pending or is subject to appeal.
History.s. 3, ch. 94-239; s. 6, ch. 2005-241.
55.604 Recognition and enforcement.Except as provided in s. 55.605, an out-of-country foreign judgment meeting the requirements of s. 55.603 is conclusive between the parties to the extent that it grants or denies recovery of a sum of money. Procedures for recognition and enforceability of an out-of-country foreign judgment shall be as follows:
(1) The out-of-country foreign judgment shall be filed with the clerk of the court and recorded in the public records in the county or counties where enforcement is sought.
(a) At the time of the recording of an out-of-country foreign judgment, the judgment creditor shall make and record with the clerk of the circuit court an affidavit setting forth the name, social security number, if known, and last known post-office address of the judgment debtor and of the judgment creditor.
(b) Promptly upon the recording of the out-of-country foreign judgment and the affidavit, the clerk shall mail notice of the recording of the out-of-country foreign judgment, by registered mail with return receipt requested, to the judgment debtor at the address given in the affidavit and shall make a note of the mailing in the docket. The notice shall include the name and address of the judgment creditor and of the judgment creditor’s attorney, if any, in this state. In addition, the judgment creditor may mail a notice of the recording of the judgment to the judgment debtor and may record proof of mailing with the clerk. The failure of the clerk to mail notice of recording will not affect the enforcement proceedings if proof of mailing by the judgment creditor has been recorded.
(2) The judgment debtor shall have 30 days after service of the notice to file a notice of objection with the clerk of the court specifying the grounds for nonrecognition or nonenforceability under this act.
(3) Upon the application of any party, and after proper notice, the circuit court shall have jurisdiction to conduct a hearing, determine the issues, and enter an appropriate order granting or denying recognition in accordance with the terms of this act.
(4) If the judgment debtor fails to file a notice of objection within the required time, the clerk of the court shall record a certificate stating that no objection has been filed.
(5) Upon entry of an order recognizing the out-of-country foreign judgment, or upon recording of the clerk’s certificate set forth above, the out-of-country foreign judgment shall be enforced in the same manner as the judgment of a court of this state.
(6) Once an order recognizing the out-of-country foreign judgment has been entered by a court of this state, the order and a copy of the judgment may be recorded in any other county of this state without further notice or proceedings, and shall be enforceable in the same manner as the judgment of a court of this state.
(7) A lien on real estate in any county shall be created only when there has been recorded in the official records of the county (a) a certified copy of the judgment, and (b) a copy of the clerk’s certificate or the order recognizing the out-of-country foreign judgment. The priority of such lien will be established as of the time the latter of the two recordings has occurred.
(8) A judgment lien on personal property is acquired only when a judgment lien certificate is filed in accordance with s. 55.203 with the Department of State.
History.s. 4, ch. 94-239; s. 77, ch. 99-251; s. 17, ch. 2000-258; s. 10, ch. 2001-154; s. 7, ch. 2005-241.
55.605 Grounds for nonrecognition.
(1) An out-of-country foreign judgment is not conclusive if:
(a) The judgment was rendered under a system which does not provide impartial tribunals or procedures compatible with the requirements of due process of law.
(b) The foreign court did not have personal jurisdiction over the defendant.
(c) The foreign court did not have jurisdiction over the subject matter.
(2) An out-of-country foreign judgment need not be recognized if:
(a) The defendant in the proceedings in the foreign court did not receive notice of the proceedings in sufficient time to enable him or her to defend.
(b) The judgment was obtained by fraud.
(c) The cause of action or claim for relief on which the judgment is based is repugnant to the public policy of this state.
(d) The judgment conflicts with another final and conclusive order.
(e) The proceeding in the foreign court was contrary to an agreement between the parties under which the dispute in question was to be settled otherwise than by proceedings in that court.
(f) In the case of jurisdiction based only on personal service, the foreign court was a seriously inconvenient forum for the trial of the action.
(g) The foreign jurisdiction where judgment was rendered would not give recognition to a similar judgment rendered in this state.
(h) The cause of action resulted in a defamation judgment obtained in a jurisdiction outside the United States, unless the court sitting in this state before which the matter is brought first determines that the defamation law applied in the foreign court’s adjudication provided at least as much protection for freedom of speech and press in that case as would be provided by the United States Constitution and the State Constitution.
History.s. 5, ch. 94-239; s. 1359, ch. 95-147; s. 78, ch. 99-251; s. 11, ch. 2001-154; s. 8, ch. 2005-241; s. 1, ch. 2009-232.
55.6055 Foreign defamation judgment.
(1) For the purposes of rendering declaratory relief with respect to a person’s liability for a foreign defamation judgment and determining whether the foreign defamation judgment should be deemed nonrecognizable under s. 55.605, the courts of this state have personal jurisdiction over any person who obtains a judgment in a defamation proceeding outside the United States against any person who:
(a) Is a resident of this state;
(b) Is a person or entity amenable to the jurisdiction of this state;
(c) Has assets in this state; or
(d) May have to take action in this state to comply with the judgment.
(2) This section applies to judgments rendered in defamation proceedings outside the United States before, on, or after July 1, 2009.
History.s. 2, ch. 2009-232.
55.606 Personal jurisdiction.The out-of-country foreign judgment shall not be refused recognition for lack of personal jurisdiction if:
(1) The defendant was served personally in the foreign state;
(2) The defendant voluntarily appeared in the proceedings, other than for the purpose of protecting property seized or threatened with seizure in the proceedings or of contesting the jurisdiction of the court over him or her;
(3) The defendant, prior to the commencement of the proceedings, had agreed to submit to the jurisdiction of the foreign court with respect to the subject matter involved;
(4) The defendant was domiciled in the foreign state when the proceedings were instituted, or, being a body corporate, had its principal place of business, was incorporated, or had otherwise acquired corporate status, in the foreign state;
(5) The defendant had a business office in the foreign state and the proceedings in the foreign court involved a cause of action or a claim for relief arising out of business done by the defendant through that office in the foreign state; or
(6) The defendant operated a motor vehicle or airplane in the foreign state and the proceedings involved a cause of action or claim for relief arising out of such operation.
History.s. 6, ch. 94-239; s. 1360, ch. 95-147; s. 9, ch. 2005-241.
55.607 Stay in case of appeal.If the defendant satisfies the court that an appeal is pending, or that he or she intends to appeal, and that he or she has obtained a stay of judgment from the foreign court, the court may stay the proceedings until the appeal has been determined or until the expiration of a period of time sufficient to enable the defendant to prosecute the appeal.
History.s. 7, ch. 94-239; s. 1361, ch. 95-147.