You Have a Judgment and Want to Collect on It
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After a party obtains a judgment in a lawsuit, it may then be left trying to collect on it. Assuming the judgment is not paid, parties will likely engage in post-judgment discovery to locate assets and/or discover fraudulent transfers. Florida Statute § 56.29 provides judgment creditors with an expeditious remedy to both discover assets which may be subject to the judgment, as well as subject those assets to a speedy proceeding in the same court where the original judgment was obtained. Regent Bank v. Woodcox, 636 So. 2d 885, 886 (Fla. 4th DCA 1994).
The above-referenced process, known as “proceedings supplementary,” also enables a judgment creditor to implead third parties (who may have property to satisfy the judgment) into the lawsuit. Proceedings supplementary are intended to afford the judgment creditor the most complete relief to satisfy a judgment and avoid the creditor having to file a separate lawsuit to collect on a judgment. Regent Bank, 636 So. 2d at 886. By way of example, proceedings supplementary may be used to attack fraudulent transfers or to “pierce the corporate veil” and hold individuals liable for the debts of their judgment debtor company. Pollizzi v. Pulashock, 52 So. 3d 786, 789 (Fla. 5th DCA 2010). Section 56.29 of the Florida Statutes allows a trial court to order any property of the judgment debtor, in the hands of a third-party, to be applied to the judgment.
To implead a third party into the existing lawsuit, by way of proceedings supplementary, a party must:
- obtain a judgment;
- hold an unsatisfied writ of execution;
- file an affidavit stating the writ of execution is valid;
- name the persons to be impleaded; and
- file a motion for relief under § 56.29.
Kobarid Holding, S.A. v. Reizen, No. 03-23269-CIV, 2007 WL 14294, at *2 , (S.D. Fla, Jan. 2. 2007). No other showing is needed to implead a third party. Id. However, the order impleading a third party does not determine the substantive rights of the parties. Id. at *3. Once the court enters an order impleading the third party, the judgment creditor must obtain service of process on the third party. Id. Once service is perfected, and once the case is ready for an evidentiary hearing, the court will conduct such a hearing and determine whether the third party has property that can satisfy the outstanding judgment.
While Section 56.29 of the Florida Statutes may not be a well-known post-judgment tool, it can be a quick and effective means to satisfy an outstanding judgment.