Judgment Creditor Can Take Over Debtor’s Lawsuits and Claims

Jon Alper Creditor Rights

A civil judgment is entered against you. At the same time, you are a plaintiff in an unrelated lawsuit where you are pursuing damages against an unrelated third party. Can your judgment creditor take over your lawsuit and apply a recovery to satisfy the judgment?

Yes. By first opening a proceedings supplementary under Section 56.29 of the Florida Statutes your judgment creditor can ask a court to have you turn over your lawsuit to your creditor. The creditor then “steps in to your shoes” as plaintiff suing the unrelated third party defendant. The debtor’s lawsuit(s) are a chose in action which is property within the scope of proceedings supplementary.

There is an exception when the debtor’s lawsuit is against the same judgment creditor. Courts have not allowed creditors to usurp the debtor’s lawsuit against the same creditor regarding a claim not related to the claim upon which the judgment was entered against the debtor (i.e., not a counter claim in the underlying action). This case explains the law on the subject.

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