Federal Judgments in Florida–Still Good After Five Years
Recently I ate lunch with a friend, a fine trial lawyer who spends much of his time in federal court. We chose a small lunch spot near our federal courthouse in Jacksonville, which turned out to be a very apt venue for our conversation.
My colleague ordered the vegetable platter and I ordered the special. Midway through his okra and tomatoes, he made the statement which was to be the genesis of this article.
“You know, federal judgments aren’t good after five years anymore,” he said. That stopped me cold, right in the middle of buttering my cornbread. “What do you mean?” I said.
“I mean federal judgments in Florida are only good for five years,” he said.
He then proceeded to tell me about the 11th Circuit’s recent decision in Balfour Beatty Bahamas, Ltd. v. Bush, 170 F.3d 1048 (11th Cir. 1999), and how that decision supposedly supported his surprising statement. For those who haven’t read Balfour, the key points are briefly these: In 1991, the plaintiff, Balfour, obtained a judgment in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against the defendant, Bush. In 1997 Balfour served Bush and his wife with post-judgment interrogatories and subpoenas duces tecum for depositions in aid of execution. Bush sought a protective order, arguing that the five-year limitation of F.S. §95.11(2)(a) applied to Balfour’s judgment and barred its collection efforts.1 That statute provides:
95.11 Limitations other than for the recovery of real property.
Actions other than for recovery of real property shall be commenced as follows:. . .
(2) WITHIN FIVE YEARS. –
(a) An action on a judgment or decree of any court, not of record, of this state or any court of the United States, any other state or territory in the United States, or a foreign country.2 ( emphasis added)
Bush argued that Balfour’s 1991 judgment was entered by a “court of the United States” and was therefore unenforceable in 1997.3 The district court denied Bush’s motion, agreeing with Balfour that a federal court sitting in Florida is a “court of record in this state” and that the 20-year limitation period of F.S. §95.11(1) applied to any efforts to enforce Balfour’s federal judgment.4
In March 1999, the 11th Circuit reversed the district court, holding that the term “any court of the United States” of F.S. §95.11(2)(a) applied to the court which rendered Balfour’s judgment and that Balfour’s collection efforts were therefore barred.5
I told my lunch companion that I knew about Balfour, but that I still didn’t understand his statement. I explained that the decision did not address the duration of the lien of a judgment of a federal court sitting in Florida, and such liens (and the right to enforce them) continue for up to 20 years, notwithstanding Balfour.
It was a long lunch and I could tell my colleague was still skeptical.
Florida’s Lien Law
Consider first Rule 69(a), Fed. R. Civ. P., which governed Balfour’s post-judgment discovery. That rule directs that the procedure which a federal court is to follow “on execution. . . and in aid of a judgment, and in proceedings on and in aid of execution” shall be “in accordance with the practice and procedure of the state in which the district court is held.”6
Generally, the methods available in Florida to enforce a judgment include lien, independent action, execution, creditor’s suit, contempt, and mandamus.7 As to liens, federal law directs that judgments rendered by federal courts sitting in Florida shall be a lien on “property” (real and personal) located in the state to the same extent as judgments of Florida courts.8 In the language of the federal statute, 28 U.S.C. §1962: “Every judgment rendered by a district court within a State shall be a lien on the property located in such State in the same manner, to the same extent and under the same conditions as a judgment of a court of general jurisdiction in such State, and shall cease to be a lien in the same manner and time.”
A judgment of a Florida circuit court (a court of general jurisdiction) becomes a lien on real property in a particular county when a certified copy of the judgment is recorded in the public records of the county and any judgment so recorded “shall be a lien for a period of seven years from the date of the recording” under F.S. §55.10(1). F.S. §§55.10(2) and (3) provide that the lien may be extended for two additional seven-year periods by re-recording, but that no lien shall extend beyond the period provided for in F.S. §55.0819—“20 years from the date of the entry of such judgment, order or decree.”10
Federal law further directs that when state law requires a state court judgment to be recorded in order for a lien to attach, the recording requirement likewise applies to federal judgments, but only if the state law authorizes the similar recording of federal judgments.11 Florida law so provides; F.S. §28.222(3)(C) provides that the clerks of the circuit courts are authorized to record “[j]udgments, including certified copies of judgments, entered by any court of this state or by a United States court having jurisdiction in this state. . . . ”12
As to personal property, the holder of a Florida judgment is entitled to an execution “during the life of the judgment”13 and “[w]hen issued, an execution is valid and effective during the life of the judgment or decree on which it is issued.”14 An execution becomes a lien on personal property from the time it is delivered to the sheriff15 and such liens on personal property are likewise limited to 20 years from the date of the entry of the judgment.16
Because federal law directs that these provisions shall apply with equal force to judgments of the Florida circuit courts and federal courts sitting in Florida, and directs that the liens imposed by judgments of those federal courts shall be coextensive with the liens of judgments of Florida circuit courts, any state law to the contrary, such as a state statute of limitation, is preempted.17
The judgment of a federal court sitting in Florida, once recorded (now under F.S. §55.10), thus imposes a lien on real property for up to 20 years following its date of entry, notwithstanding a shorter statute of limitation for an “action” on a judgment of a “court of the United States,” such as F.S. §95.11(2)(a). This was made clear by the Florida Supreme Court 56 years ago in its decision in B.A. Lott, Inc. v. Padgett, 14 So. 2d 667 (Fla. 1943).
In Lott, the U.S. district court in Miami entered a deficiency decree against one Dyer in June 1933. On the day it was entered the judgment was recorded in the records of the district court, and a certified copy of the judgment was recorded in the public records of Dade County eight and one-half years later, in December 1941. The owner of the judgment, Lott, then sought to enforce the lien of the judgment against property located in Dade County in which Dyer owned a half interest at the time the judgment was recorded (in 1941), but which Dyer later conveyed to certain parties named Baldwin. In January 1942, Lott filed a motion to revive the judgment and to have an execution issue. The motion was granted, execution was issued, and Dyer/Baldwin’s half interest in the property was sold to Lott in February 1942 at public sale by the U.S. marshal.18
Lott then filed suit in Florida circuit court against Padgett, the co-owner of the property, for partition and the case eventually reached the Florida Supreme Court. There, the focus was the enforceability of Lott’s federal judgment by which he acquired his interest in the property. The Supreme Court held that Lott’s judgment had become a lien on Dyer’s property19 although under execution procedure at that time, the right to enforce the lien was suspended because Lott had not had an execution issued within three years after entry of the judgment.20 Because the right to enforce the judgment was suspended, it was necessary for Lott to revive its right to an execution and the means to revive that right was through a motion to revive, the federal practice equivalent at that time of the writ of scire facias.21 The Supreme Court observed that Lott’s motion to revive the judgment, under then Rule 81, Fed. R. Civ. P., being in the nature of a scire facias “was not a new action but was only a step in the original cause of a remedial nature to effectuate the lien already in existence.”22
Of particular interest here is Padgett’s statute of limitation argument as to Lott’s eight-and-one-half-year-old federal judgment. The 1941–1942 predecessor to current F.S. §95.11(2)(a) was F.S. §95.11(2) (1941), which imposed a seven-year limitation on an “action upon a judgment” of “any court of the United States.”23 Like the defendant Bush in Balfour 56 years later, Padgett argued that Lott’s effort to revive and enforce its judgment was barred by this statute of limitation. The Supreme Court disagreed and held that because the scire facias proceeding was not a “new and independent action, the seven year statute of limitation, section 95.11, Fla. Stat., 1941, F.S.A. §95.11, did not apply.”24 The Lott decision remains viable today, having been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court as recently as 1991 on a related point of Florida judgment lien law.25
Is It Independent or Not?
The key lesson of Lott for purposes here is that the statute of limitation of F.S. Ch. 95 applies to “a new and independent action” on a federal judgment in Florida, not to proceedings to “effectuate the lien” of that judgment. What, then, is “a new and independent action”? Guidance comes from the 1946 decision of the Florida Supreme Court in Crane v. Nuta, 26 So. 2d 670 (Fla. 1946), a decision rendered by a three-member panel of the court, two members of which had joined in the decision in Lott.26
The plaintiff, Crane, had acquired, by assignment, a judgment rendered in July 1926 in the civil court of record in Dade County against the defendant Nuta.27 In June 1945, Crane filed a new action in the civil court of record against Nuta, alleging that he was the owner and holder of the judgment and claiming the amount of the judgment, with interest. Judgment was entered for Nuta on the apparent theory “that an action cannot be maintained on a domestic judgment by the owner and holder of such judgment.”28 The case was appealed to the circuit court in Dade County and then to the Florida Supreme Court. The Supreme Court observed that: “[A] judgment is regarded as a cause of action or a chose in action. . . a judgment, whether domestic or foreign, constitutes a cause of action upon which a new and independent action may be based.”29
The Supreme Court recognized the 20-year limitation for such new and independent actions imposed by F.S. §95.11(1), but held that Crane’s new action was commenced before 20 years had passed.30 The decisions of the circuit court and the civil court of record were reversed with directions to permit Crane’s new action to proceed.31
In other words, “a new and independent action” to which the limitations of F.S. Ch. 95 apply is just what it sounds like—a new action is filed and new pleadings are advanced by the parties, including any defenses which the defendant may have to enforcement of the judgment. Other decisions of the Florida Supreme Court from the Lott era demonstrate this.32
Are post-judgment collection proceedings in the same case “a new and independent action”? Clearly not. The Supreme Court held in Lott that a scire facias writ was not an independent action subject to the statute of limitation, but was “only a step in the original cause of a remedial nature to effectuate the lien already in existence.”33 At common law, scire facias was a writ “founded upon some matter of record, such as a judgment. . . requiring the person against whom it is brought to show cause why the party bringing it should not have advantage of such record. . . . ”34 The term was used to designate “both the writ and the whole proceeding” and a common application of the writ was to “have execution of the judgment, in which cases it is merely a continuation of the original action.”35
Similarly, current Florida law provides various procedures to assist a judgment creditor to “effectuate the lien” (in the words of Lott) of a judgment. These include the procedures described in Rules 1.560 (discovery in aid of execution) and 1.570 (enforcement of final judgments), Fla. R. Civ. P., as well as various statutory devices: F.S. Ch. 56 (final process), including F.S. §56.29 (supplementary proceedings), and F.S. §77.03 (garnishment after judgment). Again, Rule 69(a), Fed. R. Civ. P., provides that the procedure “in aid of execution” of a judgment of a federal court sitting in Florida shall be “in accordance with” these state practices.
Fla. R. Civ. P., for example, authorizes a judgment creditor “[i]n aid of a judgment” to “obtain discovery from any person, including the judgment debtor” and the Florida courts, and federal courts sitting in Florida, have consistently treated such proceedings not as a new action, but rather as a continuation of the original case.36 Indeed, in its 1950 decision in Young v. McKenzie, 46 So. 2d 184 (Fla. 1950), the Florida Supreme Court held that even supplementary proceedings, in which new persons were brought into the case, “do not constitute ‘an action on the judgment’” subject to the statute of limitation of F.S. Ch. 95.37 The Supreme Court held that supplementary proceedings are “in the nature of proceedings in discovery of property which should be made available to the execution. . . they relate directly to the execution and are designed to aid in determining through judicial process what property the defendant may have or others may have for him that could be subjected to the execution. . . . ”38 Id.
The Florida Enforcement
of Foreign Judgments Act
You might also recall the Florida Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act, F.S. §§55.501–.509, which, after 1994, has included federal court judgments. What effect on this analysis does that statute have? The short answer is: nothing.
It has always been the case that a creditor holding the judgment of a federal court sitting outside of Florida could convert that federal judgment to a Florida state court judgment through a domestication action in Florida state court.39 Theoretically, there was no reason why this could not also be done with the judgment of a federal court sitting in Florida, but because 28 U.S.C. §1962 directs that the liens of such federal judgments and the liens of Florida state court judgments are equivalent, this was a largely useless exercise. Clearly, though, any action in Florida state court to domesticate the judgment of a federal court (sitting either in Florida or elsewhere) would be an “independent action” (as contemplated by Lott) and subject to the seven-year limitation period prior to 1975 and the five-year limitation period thereafter.40
In 1984, the Florida Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act was adopted, providing a simplified alternative procedure for domesticating a “foreign judgment”41 and by amendment in 1994 the term “foreign judgment” has included the judgments of a “court. . . of the United States.”42 its terms, this provision includes the judgments of federal courts sitting in Florida. The procedure under the statute, though, is simply a substitute for an “action” to enforce a foreign judgment,43 and the statute states that it “shall not be construed to alter, modify, or extend the limitation period applicable for the enforcement of foreign judgments.”44 It therefore seems clear that the five-year limitation of F.S. §95.11(2)(a) would apply to the “domestication” of a judgment of a federal court sitting in Florida under this statute, although the point has not been addressed by the Florida courts. This would have no effect, though, on the extent or duration of the lien of that federal judgment inasmuch as this Florida statute is subject to 28 U.S.C. §1962 and F.S. §55.10.
Which brings us back to Balfour. Is the decision correct? The decision did not address any issues concerning federal judgment liens and it did not address Lott. Certainly Balfour’s post-judgment discovery, which was commenced in the original case,45 was not a “new and independent action” and the 11th Circuit thus strayed from Lott by applying F.S. §95.11(2)(a) to it. But was Balfour’s discovery sent to “effectuate the lien” of its judgment? Neither the opinion nor the parties’ briefs indicate whether the judgment was ever recorded under F.S. §55.10 and it is therefore not known whether the judgment ever gave rise to a lien on Bush’s real property. The opinion states that Balfour “obtained. . . a writ of execution against Bush”46 but it doesn’t indicate whether this was ever delivered to the Dade County sheriff or to the U.S. marshal. If Balfour’s judgment was properly recorded or if the execution had been delivered, then, in accordance with Lott, its discovery should have been permitted.
It also seems clear that the 11th Circuit did not follow Lott when it based its decision on the 1980 Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal decision in Kiesel v. Graham, 388 So. 2d 594 (Fla. 4th DCA 1980). In Kiesel, the creditor obtained a judgment in U.S. district court in Florida and in order to enforce that judgment, filed a mandamus action in Florida circuit court more than five years after the federal judgment became final following appeal.47 The trial court dismissed the mandamus action, finding it to be time-barred under F.S. §95.11(2)(a) and the Fourth DCA affirmed.48
In Balfour, the 11th Circuit followed Kiesel without observing the critical distinction between the two cases; in Kiesel the dismissed state court mandamus action to enforce the federal judgment was certainly a “new and independent” action and thus subject to the limitation period of F.S. Ch. 95, in accordance with Lott. Not so in Balfour, where the creditor’s post-judgment discovery was simply collection activity in the original case.
Finally, the Balfour decision is also silent on one important point of the Kiesel decision. After affirming the dismissal of the mandamus action, the Fourth DCA in Kiesel continued:
We, therefore, conclude that Section 95.11(2)(a), Florida Statutes, is controlling in this cause. In so ruling, we are not unmindful of the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1962. However, inasmuch as nothing in the record indicates that the subject judgment was properly recorded as a lien, we do not find this United States Code provision relevant to this determination.49
In other words, the Kiesel court alerted us that its analysis may not apply where the judgment has become a lien.
How Long to Record?
A final question is how long a creditor can wait before recording (under F.S. §55.10) a judgment of a federal court sitting in Florida, or delivering an execution to the sheriff or U.S. marshal. F.S. §55.10 does not require the creditor to record a certified copy of the judgment within any specific period of time in order for a lien to arise;50 it states only that whenever the recording first occurs, the lien cannot continue beyond 20 years after the date the judgment was entered.51 Liens on personal property are limited to the same 20 years52 with no requirement that an execution issue within any specific period of time after the judgment is entered.53
For judgments of Florida state courts, the statute of limitation for independent actions and the duration of the judgment lien are the same 20 years,54 and this question is therefore academic. But what about the judgments of federal courts sitting in Florida? Can, for example, the creditor wait six years after the judgment is entered to first record and still have a valid lien under F.S. §55.10? Certainly the answer is yes. F.S. §95.11(2)(a) might raise doubts, but the directive of 28 U.S.C. §1962 that federal judgments shall impose liens equal in stature and duration to the liens of state judgments is unequivocal and state judgments can first be recorded, and execution issued and docketed, at any time for 20 years. If there is any inconsistency between 28 U.S.C. §1962 and F.S. §95.11(2)(a), the federal statute must prevail.
What are the practical aspects of this? First, with proper recording and/or delivery of a writ of execution, the lien of a judgment of a federal court sitting in Florida is enforceable for up to 20 years from the date of entry; second, Balfour does not hold otherwise—there is nothing in Balfour to show that the judgment there was ever recorded, or that the execution was ever delivered, and the decision should therefore be treated as limited to its facts, i.e., inapplicable to the judgments of federal courts sitting in Florida which have been properly recorded under F.S. §55.10, or to the docketed executions on those judgments; and finally, although Lott was mentioned in passing in the parties’ briefs in Balfour, the 11th Circuit was not presented with a full analysis of that decision and the distinction drawn there by the Florida Supreme Court between independent actions and proceedings which are a continuation of the original case. Any judgment creditor facing defense motions predicated on Balfour should therefore raise this distinction. q
1 Balfour, 170 F.3d at 1049.
2 Fla. Stat. §95.11(2)(a) (1997).
3 Balfour Beatty Bahamas, LTD v. Boca Raton Millwork, Inc., 217 Bankr. 339, 340 (S.D. Fla. 1998).
4 Id. at 340–41.
5 Balfour, 170 F.3d at 1050-51.
6 Fed. R. Civ. P. 69(a) (emphasis added).
7 See 33 Fla. Jur. 2d Judgments and Decrees, §410 at 249 (1994).
8 28 U.S.C. §1962. See B.A. Lott, Inc. v. Padgett, 14 So. 2d 667, 668 (Fla. 1943). Cf. Trend Mills v. Socher, 4 B.R. 465, 468 (D. N.J. 1980) (“judgments rendered by the court in this district. . . are liens on property located in New Jersey in the same manner, to the same extent, and under the same conditions as are judgments of the Superior Court of New Jersey….”).
9 Fla. Stat. §55.10(4) (1997).
10 Fla. Stat. §55.081 (1997).
11 28 U.S.C. §1962.
12 Fla. Stat. §28.222(3)(c) (1997). See Smith v. Venus Condominium Ass’n, Inc., 352 So. 2d 1169, 1171 (Fla. 1977) (“the Legislature [in 1972] apparently wished to remove all doubt. . . by requiring the identical procedure for the recordation of certified copies of judgments, whether rendered in state or federal courts. . . ”).
13 Rule 1.550(a), Fla.R.Civ.P.
14 Fla. Stat. §56.021 (1997).
15 See Flagship State Bank of Jacksonville v. Carantzas, 352 So. 2d 1259, 1261 ( Fla. 1st D.C.A. 1977).
16 Fla. Stat. §55.081 (1997).
17 See U.S. Const. Art. VI, cl. 2. See also In re Sterling Die Casting Co., Inc., 132 B.R. 99, 102-03 (E.D. N.Y. 1991).
18 14 So. 2d at 668. In the companion decision of B.A. Lott, Inc. v. Padgett, 14 So.2d 669, 670 (Fla. 1943), Lott’s right to execute on the debtor’s personal property, an interest in a partnership, through the 1933 federal judgment was recognized.
19 The Lott opinion is not clear as to which recording (either in the district court records or in the records of Dade County) gave rise to the lien on the property in 1941, although either would have done so. Before 1939, a Florida circuit court judgment became a lien on the debtor’s real estate located in the county where the judgment was entered, without the necessity of recording. See Meadows Development Co. v. Ihle, 345 So. 2d 769, 772 n. 3 (Fla. 1st D.C.A. 1977). From 1939 to 1967, a circuit court judgment did not become a lien on real estate until a “certified transcript” of the judgment was recorded in the public records of the county where the real estate was located. See Smith v. Venus Condominium Ass’n, Inc., 352 So. 2d 1169, 1172 (Fla. 1977); Fla. Stat. §55.10 (1965). In either case, federal law applicable at the time, the predecessors to 28 U.S.C. §1962, directed that these provisions applied to the judgments of federal courts sitting in Florida. See –28 U.S.C. §812-814, 1940 ed.
20 14 So. 2d at 669, citing Fla.Stat. §55.15 (1941).
21 Id. See also Spurway v. Dyer, 48 F.Supp. 255, 257-58 (S.D. Fla. 1942), cited with approval in Lott, 14 So. 2d at 669.
22 14 So. 2d at 669 (emphasis added). Fla. Stat. §55.15 (1941), which required a plaintiff to obtain an execution within three years after rendition of any judgment, was repealed by Laws 1967, c. 67-254, §49, effective June 26, 1967, and revival of the right to execution by scire facias during the life of the judgment is no longer necessary. See Fla. Stat. §56.021(1997); Rule 1.550(a), Fla.R.Civ.P.
23 Fla. Stat. §95.11(2) (1941). The seven-year statute of limitation on actions on judgments of “any court of the United States” was changed to five years, effective January 1, 1975, by Ch. 74-382, §7, Laws of Florida.
24 14 So. 2d at 669 (emphasis added).
25 See Owen v. Owen, 500 U.S. 305, 306-307 (1991).
26 The Crane panel included Chief Justice Chapman and Justices Terrell and Adams. 26 So. 2d at 672. In Lott, Justice Terrell concurred and then—Justice Chapman concurred specially. 14 So. 2d at 669.
27 26 So. 2d at 670-71.
28 Id. at 671.
32 See Workingmen’s Co-operative Bank v. Wallace, 9 So. 2d 731 (Fla. 1942) (permitting a new action to recover on a prior judgment; Justice Buford, who joined in Lott, authored the opinion); Whiteside v. Dinkins, 97 So. 517 (Fla. 1923) (permitting a new action to recover on a prior judgment; Justice Terrell joined in the decision).
33 14 So. 2d at 669.
34 Black’s Law Dictionary 1346 (6th ed. 1990)
36 See, e.g., Shooster v. Gelfand, 439 So. 2d 1000, 1001 (Fla. 4th D.C.A. 1983) (acknowledging appropriateness of post-judgment discovery); Dopico-Cab v. Dopico-Cab, 434 So. 2d 30, 31 (Fla. 3d D.C.A. 1983) (permitting judgment creditor to obtain discovery in aid of execution); Wilde v. Wilde, 237 So. 2d 203, 205) (Fla. 4th D.C.A. 1970) (permitting judgment creditor to obtain post-judgment discovery). See also Bank Leumi Trust Co. of New York v. Lang, 898 F.Supp 883, 884-85 (S.D. Fla. 1995) (permitting judgment creditor to bring post-judgment petition, as part of original action, to enforce judgment.) (The Bank Leumi decision was questioned on other grounds by the 11th Circuit in In re Jost, 136 F.3d 1455 (11th Cir. 1998).) One Florida court has observed that post-judgment garnishment proceedings, although distinct from the main action in which the judgment was obtained, are “ancillary” to the main action. See Space Coast Credit Union etc. v. The First F.A., 467 So. 2d 737, 739 (Fla. 5th D.C.A. 1985).
37 46 So. 2d at 185.
39 See F.D.I.C. v. Panelfab Internat’l Corp., 501 So. 2d 167, 168 (Fla. 3d D.C.A. 1987) (“moreover, both state and federal foreign judgments are equally enforceable in Florida through a domestication action under §95.11(2)(a), Florida Statutes (1985)”).
40 See Id. Cf. Milligan v. Wilson, 107 So. 2d 773, 774-75 (Fla. 2d D.C.A. 1958) (action to domesticate Virginia judgment was a “new and independent action. . . not regarded as the same cause as the original action on which the judgment was recovered.”).
41 Fla. Stat. §55.502(2) (1997) (“This act shall not be construed to impair the right of a judgment creditor to bring an action to enforce his or her judgment instead of proceeding under this act.”)
42 Fla. Stat. §55.502(1) (1997). See Ch. 94-348, §16 Laws of Florida.
43 See Hinchee v. Golden Oak Bank, 540 So. 2d 262, 263 (Fla. 2d D.C.A. 1989).
44 Fla. Stat. §55.502(4) (1997).
45 See 217 B.R. at 339.
46 170 F.3d at 1049.
47 388 So. 2d at 595.
48 Id. The Kiesel court did not develop the full analysis of Lott, i.e., observe the distinction between a step in the original cause and a new, independent action; it simply assumed that the proceeding was an independent “action on a judgment” and limited its inquiry to the proper statutory construction of Fla. Stat. §§95.11(1) and (2)(a).
49 388 So. 2d at 596 (emphasis added, footnotes omitted).
50 See, e.g., Perrott v. Frankie, 605 So. 2d 118, 119 (Fla. 2d D.C.A. 1992) (22-month delay in recording in Pinellas County).
51 Fla. Stat. §§55.10, 55.081 (1997).
52 Fla. Stat. §55.081 (1997).
53 Fla. Stat. §56.021 (1997); Rule 1.550(a), Fla.R.Civ.P.
54 Fla. Stat. §§55.081, 95.11(1) (1997). See Spurway, 48 F.Supp. at 258.
Michael G. Tanner is a partner in the Jacksonville office of Holland and Knight, LLP, and is chair of the Trial Lawyers Section.
The author thanks Kathie Fennell, Holland & Knight LLP’s Jacksonville library supervisor, for her help in gathering the materials for this article.
This column is submitted on behalf of the Trial Lawyers Section, D. Keith Wickenden, editor.