New Statute Clarifies Florida’s Judgment Execution Law

Florida’s proceedings supplementary statute (Fla. Stat. 56.29) provides a wide range of collection options to judgment creditors. Over the years, courts inconsistently applied various parts of the statute, which had remained virtually unchanged since its enactment approximately a century ago. The result was widespread confusion among the courts and practitioners concerning how parties were summoned into court, how to commence proceedings, and parties’ rights under the statute.

On March 9, Governor Rick Scott signed into law SB 1042. Carlton Fields attorneys helped draft the new law, which takes effect July 1, 2016 and provides much-needed updates, uniformity, and clarifications to the statute. These include the following significant changes:

  • The process to commence a proceedings supplementary is better defined. A judgment creditor may now initiate a proceedings supplementary by filing a motion and affidavit containing certain information (such as a description of the property of the judgment debtor in the hands of a third person). The court thereafter issues a Notice to Appear which directs a third-party to file a responsive affidavit within a time certain.
  • The third-party must raise any fact or defense in its responsive affidavit and filings.
  • A party that raises defenses and claims for purposes of delay may be subjected to sanctions and penalties by the court.
  • The discovery provisions have been moved into a single section, which provides that the discovery provisions are in addition to those provided under the rules of civil procedure.
  • Provides that Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act (Chapter 726, Florida Statutes) claims raised during a proceedings supplementary must be initiated by a supplemental complaint.
  • Revises and updates certain definitions in other parts of Chapter 56.

For more information on how the new law may impact you, please contact a member of the Carlton Fields bankruptcy and creditors’ rights practice group.