(1) All money received under executions shall be paid, in the order prescribed, to the following: the sheriff, for costs; the levying creditor in the amount of $500 as liquidated expenses; and the priority lienholder under s. 55.10(1) and (2), s. 55.202, s. 55.204(3), or s. 55.208(2), as set forth in an affidavit required by subsection (4), or the levying creditor’s attorney, in satisfaction of the judgment lien, if the judgment lien has not lapsed at the time of the levy. The receipt of the attorney shall be a release of the officer paying the money to him or her. If the name of more than one attorney appears in the court file, the money shall be paid to the attorney who originally commenced the action or who made the original defense unless the file shows that another attorney has been substituted.
(2)(a) If property sold under execution brings more than the amount needed to satisfy the provisions of subsection (1), the surplus shall be paid in the order of priority to any judgment lienholders whose judgment liens have not lapsed, unless the affidavit required by subsection (4) discloses that the property is also subject to any recorded mortgage, financing statement, tax warrant, or other lien, other than a judgment lien, which is junior in priority to the levying creditor’s judgment lien. For the purpose of the sheriff’s distribution of the surplus to judgment lienholders under this paragraph, priority of judgment liens on personal property shall be based on the effective date of the judgment lien acquired under s. 55.202, s. 55.204(3), or s. 55.208(2), and priority of judgment liens on real property shall be based on the effective date of the judgment lien acquired under s. 55.10(1) and (2), as set forth in an affidavit required under subsection (4). If there is a surplus after all valid judgment liens and execution liens have been satisfied under this paragraph, the surplus must be paid to the owner of the property sold.
(b) If the affidavit required by subsection (4) discloses that the property is also subject to any recorded mortgage, financing statement, tax warrant, or other lien, other than a judgment lien, which is junior in priority to the levying creditor’s judgment lien, any surplus from the sale of the property shall be paid over to the registry of the court from which the execution issued for further proceedings to determine the priority in which such surplus shall be distributed among judgment lienholders, other lienholders, and the owner of the property sold.
(3) The value of the property levied upon shall not be considered excessive unless the value unreasonably exceeds the total debt reflected in all unsatisfied judgment liens that have not lapsed and any unsatisfied lien of the levying creditor.
(4) Before the date of the first publication or posting of the notice of sale provided for under s. 56.21, at the time of the levy request to the sheriff, the levying creditor shall deliver to the sheriff an affidavit setting forth all of the following as to the judgment debtor:
(a) For a personal property levy, an attestation by the levying creditor or the levying creditor’s attorney of record that he or she has reviewed the database or judgment lien records established in accordance with ss. 55.201-55.209 and that the information contained in the affidavit based on that review is true and correct. For a real property levy in accordance with s. 55.10(1) and (2), an attestation by the levying creditor or the levying creditor’s attorney of record that he or she has reviewed the records of the clerk of the court of the county where the property is situated, or that he or she has performed or reviewed a title search, and that the information contained in the affidavit, including a disclosure of all judgment liens, mortgages, financing statements, tax warrants, and other liens against the real property, based on that review or title search is true and correct.
(b) The information required under s. 55.203(1) and (2) for each judgment lien certificate indexed under the name of the judgment debtor as to each judgment creditor; the file number assigned to the record of the original and, if any, the second judgment lien; and the date of filing for each judgment lien certificate under s. 55.202 or s. 55.204(3). For each judgment lien recorded on real property, the information contained in the certified copy of recordation of lien under s. 55.10(1) and (2), and for each other lien recorded on real property, the name and address of the lienholder as shown in the copy of the recorded lien disclosed by the title search.
(c) A statement that the levying creditor either does not have any other levy in process or, if another levy is in process, the levying creditor believes in good faith that the total value of the property under execution does not exceed the amount of outstanding judgments.
(5) A sheriff may rely on the affidavit submitted as required under this section, and a sheriff paying money received under an execution in accordance with the information contained in the affidavit required under subsection (4) is not liable to anyone for damages arising from a wrongful levy or wrongful distribution of funds.
(6) A sheriff who is uncertain as to whom to disburse the proceeds from the sale of the levied property may apply for instructions from:
(a) The court that entered the judgment that is the basis of the judgment lien; or
(b) The appropriate court where the levied property was located at the time of the levy,
if the sheriff serves, by process pursuant to chapter 48, by certified mail, or by return receipt requested, a copy of his or her application and the notice of hearing on the levying creditor, the judgment debtor, and any other parties identified in the affidavit.
History.—s. 57, Nov. 23, 1828; RS 1206; GS 1636; RGS 2840; CGL 4527; s. 11, ch. 67-254; s. 307, ch. 95-147; s. 5, ch. 98-410; s. 19, ch. 2000-258; s. 13, ch. 2001-154; s. 11, ch. 2005-241; s. 6, ch. 2009-215; s. 4, ch. 2014-207; s. 16, ch. 2016-33.