The Florida District Court of Appeals shed light on how Florida’s Statute of Limitations functions as to Judgments in their recent decision in Corzo v. West.
In Corzo, the creditor, Corzo Trucking Corporation, had obtained a judgment against the debtor, Bob West in 1984. Corzo had been unable to locate West for twenty-one years, but since the debt owed by West was so large, ($120,223.80 in principle plus $297,933.61 in interest, totaling $418,157.41), an attempt was made and he was located in the state of Georgia. Suit was brought in 2006 in an attempt to force West to “make good” on the 1984 judgment. West did not file any papers or attend hearing in 2006 and a default judgment was obtained against him. In 2009, when Corzo attempted to enforce the new 2006 judgment, West replied the action and the judge dismissed the case. Corzo appealed this decision and brought about the new case.
The District Court of Appeals explained that the 2006 judgment is a distinct and different judgment from the 1984 judgment. Despite being based on the prior judgment, the new one had it’s own case number and was enforceable once obtained for another twenty years. What West should have done was appear to court when summoned in 2006 and brought up the defense of the statute of limitations then. At that point the new judgment wouldn’t have been entered and the old judgment would have been unenforceable, but because he didn’t bring up the defense at that time, the court considered it waived. Now he has to deal with nearly half a million dollars in debt.
If you have an old judgment that is attempting to collect, contact a Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney or call us at (904) 685-1200 for a free consultation.