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RE-RECORDING EXPIRED JUDGMENT CREATES NEW LIEN

Posted: November 12, 2010 Filed under: Case Law

Does the re-recording of a certified copy of a judgment after the expiration of the original judgment lien impose a new lien on real property held by the judgment debtor?  Yes, according to the Florida Fifth District Court of Appeal in Sun Glow Construction, Inc. v. Cypress Recovery Corporation.

The outcome in Sun Glow specifically turned on the fact that a circuit court, sitting in its appellate capacity, had earlier ruled that the re-recording of the judgment created a new lien on the judgment debtor’s property, property that was later sold to Sun Glow subject to the lien. The Fifth District quoted from Franklin Financial, Inc. v. White, 932 So. 2d 434 (Fla. 4th DCA 2006) in determining that the county court properly relied on the circuit court’s earlier decision and that the circuit court’s earlier decision was correct:

The statutory mechanism for extending the life of a judgment lien was designed to allow the judgment creditor to maintain its priority over any subsequent lien holders. When a judgment is recorded, the judgment lien takes priority over any liens recorded thereafter. It maintains this priority so long as it exists. If the judgment lien begins to reach its statutorily defined time limit, the judgment creditor may file for an extension pursuant to section 55.10(2). The logical result of filing an extension is that the life of the original judgment lien is extended. By extending the judgment lien’s life, the judgment creditor maintains the judgment lien’s priority over any liens recorded after its original date of recording and also over any liens recorded after its date of extension.

A different outcome is produced if the judgment creditor allows the judgment lien to lapse without filing for an extension. In that case, the judgment lien ceases to exist. The judgment creditor may choose to rerecord the judgment at a later time, but a new judgment lien is created and it takes no priority over liens already recorded. Like a child that wanders out of a queue, the newly rerecorded judgment lien has lost its place and must go to the back and stand behind all previously recorded judgment liens.

We hold a judgment creditor may rerecord a judgment even after the original judgment lien has expired. Franklin Financial’s judgment was a valid judgment against Mrs. [White]. The recording of that judgment created a valid judgment lien.

932 So. 2d at 436.

Admitted: Florida, Kansas, New Mexico (inactive)