Litigation and Dispute
A victory in a hard-fought lawsuit often fills plaintiffs with understandable and significant joy. This moment is a culmination of the long, arduous battle and imparts a priceless feeling amongst those involved in the case.
However, despite a victory in a potentially agonizing trial, collecting on this judgment often proves more frustrations. This feeling is exacerbated when the judicial payday you achieve stems from a foreign judgment.
Recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in Miami require the court in a specific jurisdiction to consider the way the foreign court handled the case. They must analyze numerous areas of the judgment, these include:
- Whether or not due process was present before ruling on the judgment
- Whether the original court wielded jurisdiction to administer the judgment
- Public policy
Recognizing foreign judgments promotes efficiency, as well as avoids potential duplication concerning prior proceedings. This may occur in the United States court system in two case types.
The most common reason for foreign judgment recognition is where a judgment holder seeks enforcement of foreign judgments in Miami through access to a debtor’s local assets. This may represent a jurisdiction where they claim these assets or claim residence.
The second most common case involves a party that seeks to prevent re-litigation. A judge may grant this claim or issue preclusion as a result of the foreign judgment.
Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Miami – Sister-State Judgments
The process behind enforcing foreign judgments is often a burden to creditors. Nonetheless, this is often a necessary, accompanying evil to the debt collection process. It is important to remember, “Foreign” in this case refers to differing jurisdictions, not a foreign court.
Under Article IV of the United States Constitution, a judgment originating from a sister state is enforceable under almost any circumstances in the state of Florida.
Exceptions to this include if a foreign judgment originated without jurisdiction over the judgment debtor. For example, if a resident who has never visited a particular jurisdiction is involved in a lawsuit in this jurisdiction.
When the court in this jurisdiction obtains this judgment, the likely did not disperse notice of this ruling with the defendant. Under these circumstances, the debtor would wield a substantial recourse to challenge any migration or domestication of this foreign judgment.
When a creditor seeks judgment execution in a new jurisdiction, they must record this action with the Clerk of Court in the county where the debtor either resides or claims property. Once they record the judgment, the clerk will then send out a notification of this filing to the defendant. The defendant then has 30 days to respond to or challenge this judgment. Additionally, the creditor can engage in no collection activities during this time.
A final and enforceable ruling by the foreign jurisdiction must also remain present for judgment enforcement in Florida. Certain situations where a Florida court cannot enforce the judgment include:
- The prior court was not impartial
- The court did not possess proper jurisdiction over the prior case
In addition to disallowing collection activities during the 30-day grace period, the defendant possesses an opportunity to respond contesting judgment domestication and enforcement. They can challenge the judgment’s validity by expressing that the prior ruling was in error, or that the court did not adequately serve their rights. However, nothing concerning the debt amount is allowed into a defense by the court.
If the defendant chooses not to file an objection, the courts can and will rule on the judgment the same as if the judgment occurred in the new jurisdiction. This essentially means that after domestication, enforcement of foreign judgments in Miami imparts the same legal ramifications as a valid, Florida-originating judgment.
Statute of Limitations
Nonetheless, there is a legal gray area for debtors concerning the Statute of Limitations in Florida. Once a creditor domesticates judgment, this ruling is now Florida Law. However, the Statute of Limitations will remain the same length as in the original ruling jurisdiction.
Florida’s Statute of Limitations concerning creditor judgments is a generous 20 years. Alternatively, many other states provide a substantially shorter period, as little as 4 years in some cases. When you attempt to begin domestication and enforcement of foreign judgments in Miami, it is important to gain insight into the former jurisdiction’s Statute of Limitations.
Despite victories in the courtroom, as well as in judgment domestication, a creditor’s work is not over. Once the court domesticates the judgment in their favor, the must begin collection activities from the beginning.
Florida law will dictate the post-judgment collection proceedings. Nevertheless, a lawyer that is familiar with the enforcement of foreign judgments in Miami can expedite this process. By enlisting their services, the creditor possesses a significant advantage, as well as the best chance for success in the courtroom.
Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Miami with the Law Offices of Paul A. Humbert, P.L.
To enforce a foreign judgment, creditors should consider enlisting a qualified attorney. The services of the Law Offices of Paul A. Humbert, P.L. increase their chances of an optimal and expedited outcome. Our attorneys possess extensive experience at domesticating and enforcing foreign judgments, with successful victories for clients in Florida, and all over the United States.
For more information on enforcement of foreign judgment in Miami, contact our qualified and experienced attorneys today. Our early intervention into your case ensures a smooth process, in addition to the best possible outcome for your specific circumstances.