170 F.3d 1048 (11th Cir. 1999), 98-4195, Balfour Beatty Bahamas, Ltd. v. Bush

Docket Nº:98-4195.
Citation:170 F.3d 1048
Party Name:BALFOUR BEATTY BAHAMAS, LTD., Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Fred M. BUSH, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:March 25, 1999
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
 
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Page 1048

170 F.3d 1048 (11th Cir. 1999)

BALFOUR BEATTY BAHAMAS, LTD., Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Fred M. BUSH, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 98-4195.

United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

March 25, 1999

Page 1049

Frederic J. DiSpigna, Boca Raton, FL, for Defendant-Appellant.

Nathan E. Minear, Atlanta, GA, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Before DUBINA and BARKETT, Circuit Judges, and JONES [*], Senior Circuit Judge.

NATHANIEL R. JONES, Senior Circuit Judge:

This appeal raises a question of first impression: Is an action brought in a Florida federal district court, to enforce a district court judgment entered earlier in the same court, governed by the five-year limitations period of Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11(2)(a) (West Supp.1999), or the twenty-year limitations period of Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11(1) (West Supp.1999)? The district court below found the twenty-year limitations period controlled, and therefore denied a motion by defendant-appellant, Fred Bush ("Bush"), for a Protective Order. The motion was brought by Bush to stay the post-judgment discovery sought by plaintiff-appellee, Balfour Beatty Bahamas, Ltd. ("BBB")-- e.g., interrogatories and subpoenas duces tecum--concerning the judgment monies which Bush has yet to pay BBB. The district court held that because BBB's judgment was valid, and its collection efforts timely (i.e., not barred on limitations grounds), BBB was entitled to the judgment-related discovery it sought. See Balfour Beatty Bahamas, Ltd. v. Boca Raton Millwork, Inc., 217 B.R. 339, 341 (S.D.Fla.1998). Bush, arguing that BBB waited too long to enforce its $151,815.50 judgment, now appeals. For the reasons that follow, we reverse, and find BBB's post-judgment recovery efforts barred by § 95.11(2)(a).

I.

The relevant facts of this matter are straightforward. In November 1989, BBB filed a multicount complaint against Bush and other defendants. In that pleading, BBB claimed that Bush had committed fraud. In January 1991, after Bush failed to participate in the discovery process, the district court entered a default judgment against him, and in favor of BBB, for $151,815.50. In May 1991, BBB obtained a writ of execution against Bush in anticipation of collecting its judgment. Several months later, that effort was foiled when Bush filed for bankruptcy under...

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