Whether the road to victory was a short or long one, it is gratifying to get to the end of a Florida business litigation matter and have a favorable judgment in your hands. The final order serves as proof that the court found in your favor and you are entitled to your legal remedies. However, do not expect a check in the mail representing your monetary damages. A judgment allows the holder to use the power of the court to obtain the amount due, but there is nothing automatic about the process. Instead, Florida law on enforcement of judgments defines your options and steps you need to follow.
However, the last thing you want at the end of the litigation road is to make critical errors that adversely affect your company’s interests. It is important to trust a Clearwater business litigation lawyer for assistance with strategies for enforcing a judgment in Florida.
Two Different Approaches to Protecting Your Interests
Before getting to your specific remedies for enforcement, you should understand the two different strategies you might pursue:
- A passive approach to enforcement preserves your company’s rights by notifying all other interested parties of your interest, which is secured by court order. A judgment lien on property is an example. Your interest will be addressed when the debtor attempts to transfer title.
- Taking an active approach expedites the process, but it does require more effort on your behalf. Essentially, you are going through another legal process to enforce the judgment.
Options for Active Enforcement of Judgments After Business Litigation
If you decide to be proactive in enforcing your court order, you might consider the following strategies:
- Writ of Garnishment: Perhaps the most common way to obtain monetary damages is by directing the judgment debtor’s bank or employer to divert funds through garnishment. Note that the process provides the garnishee-debtor with an opportunity to respond and raise defenses, and even take the matter to trial on disputed issues.
- Writ of Execution: You can also utilize the authority of your Pasco County Sheriff to act on a levy, in which officers legally take the debtor’s property that is subject to execution. Some items are exempt from this process, so you may need to consider another option if your writ of execution applies to jointly owned property.
- Writ of Attachment: This enforcement option allows you to attach the judgment debtor’s real estate and personal property, but it is typically used to regain control over a specific item. A writ of attachment is often used in connection with a defaulted loan on a motor vehicle.
A Pinellas County, FL Business Law Attorney Can Assist with Enforcement
If you are toward the end stages of business litigation or already have a judgment, please contact Clearwater Business Law to discuss enforcement options. You can reach our office by calling (727) 785-5100 or visit us online to set up a consultation. Once we review your circumstances, one of our business lawyers can advise you on strategy and next steps.