Creditors have long known the difficulties that often arise in enforcing judgments against their debtors. However, the recently revised proceedings supplementary statutes in Florida and an even more recent Appellate Court decision have added to the tools available to creditors with unsatisfied judgments. In MYD Marine Distributors, Inc., et al. v. International Paint, Ltd., et al. (Case Number 4D15-3510), Donovan Marine obtained a $550,000 judgment against MYD Marine (“MYD”). MYD, which was a plaintiff in several unrelated lawsuits, agreed to restrict its “usage of any money or other value realized from” those cases.
After almost two years, and not fully satisfying its judgment, Donovan Marine commenced proceedings supplementary and sought the turnover of MYD’s litigation rights against one of the defendants in the unrelated lawsuits, Lauderdale Marine. The Broward County trial court granted Donovan Marine the relief sought, and MYD subsequently appealed, arguing that the amount it sought from Lauderdale Marine in its lawsuit far exceeded the amount MYD owed Donovan Marine and, therefore, it was error to assign MYD’s entire interest in the litigation to Donovan Marine. The Fourth District Court of Appeal disagreed, noting that MYD failed to prove that its interest in the case materially exceeded its debt to Donovan Marine. As a result, Donovan Marine is now free (subject to further appeal of the 4th DCA opinion) to litigate or settle the matter against Lauderdale Marine and use the proceeds to satisfy MYD’s debt.
Accordingly, creditors should consider often overlooked assets, including an adverse party’s interests in unrelated litigation, when attempting to enforce post-judgment rights.