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Judgment execution in Florida. What it means, and why it’s usually not a good thing for consumers.

Posted by Alex McClure | Jul 23, 2018 | 0 Comments

Lake Mary Bankruptcy and Consumer Attorney - Law Office of Alex McClure

Judgment execution.

It doesn't sound pleasant. Honestly, it usually isn't.  

Many persons not familiar with the realities of the legal process in Florida never consider the fact that simply because a judge or jury sides with a party and awards a judgment, it doesn't mean that the judgment debtor will write a check before leaving the courtroom. While in some practices it is common for the losing party to pay quickly, in many instances this is simply not the case.

This is where the concept of judgment execution comes into play.

Judgment execution is the name given to the collective processes and procedures by which a judgment creditor can utilize certain mechanisms provided under Florida law to collect on a judgment, involuntarily. Most technically it is the actual sale of seized property to satisfy an outstanding judgment.

You can visit my judgment defense page for some definitions of judgment jargon.

Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.550 is titled: “Executions and Final Process” and is the Rule which provides for the issuance of a writ of execution by the Clerk of Court on the oral demand of the Judgment Creditor. The actual writ of execution is the operative document that allows the sheriff to seize property of a judgment debtor to be sold at auction to help satisfy the outstanding judgment.

For some, it comes as a surprise that a civil money judgment in Florida is NOT an order for one party to pay another party a sum of money. It is simply a determination that an amount of money is owed, conclusively.

I have a practice page dedicated to judgment defense for those interested.

It is important to note that garnishment proceedings under Florida law are not execution proceedings. While this distinction does not matter to most, it is an important one for practitioners to keep in mind for numerous technical reasons. Paz v. Hernandez, 654 So.2d 1243 (Fla. 3d. DCA 1995).

If you are interested, I have an entire practice page dedicated to garnishment proceedings in Florida.

Execution encompasses everything from basic post-judgment discovery (some of which I discuss in another blog post) to the forced levy and sale of property by the Sheriff to satisfy the judgment. The most popular form of levy and sale for the consumer is levy and sale of a motor vehicle owned free and clear by a judgment debtor. This is because it is specifically titled property that can be discovered through a records search.

Other common types of judgment execution involve in depth discovery (depositions, entry upon land for inspection) or attaching the business interests of a defendant.

Needless to say, these procedures can become extremely intrusive and distressing for the judgment debtor.

The processes are time consuming and result in sometimes significant loss of property so its important to hire an attorney to assist you when a judgment reaches the point of execution proceedings.

57.115 Fla. Stat. provides for the discretionary award of costs and attorneys fees to a judgment creditor in connection with execution proceedings, however, such an award is discretionary and the court may consider certain factors such as whether the judgment debtor purposefully evaded payment when deciding to award fees to the judgment creditor.

While extensive, in depth execution proceedings are somewhat rare in typical consumer cases, the means for a judgment creditor to engage in such processes remains just as available as in any other judgment case.

Defending consumers and small businesses against judgment levy, execution and garnishment proceedings is what I do. Contact the Law Office of Alex McClure today to discuss what I can do for you.

At the Law Office of Alex McClure, I pride myself on working closely with my clients to provide practical solutions to their consumer debt problems.

I do everything in my power to provide options that my clients didn't even know existed before consulting with me.

The Law Office of Alex McClure provides services in Lake Mary, Sanford, Longwood, Deltona, Deland, Orlando and all of Seminole, Volusia, Orange, Brevard and Lake Counties. 

About the Author

Alex McClure

I spent nearly 10 years litigating for some of the largest creditors and debt buyers in the consumer credit and finance industry. I now put those skills to use representing the interests of my fellow community members facing the most challenging financial problems of their lives. I exclusively practice consumer credit and finance law which includes bankruptcy, consumer protection law, wage and bank garnishment defense and debt defense litigation.


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Solutions For a Sustainable Future

I make every effort to tailor my services to the individual needs of my clients by approaching their issues with an eye towards both their short and long-term goals. I strive to provide solutions which address their immediate concerns and helps them create a realistic and meaningful path towards long term financial sustainability. I look forward to working with you to develop those solutions and help you successfully navigate your consumer legal issues.