In re Goodwin, 04-9653-9P3.

CourtUnited States Bankruptcy Courts. Eleventh Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Middle District of Florida
Writing for the CourtAlexander L. Paskay
Citation325 B.R. 328
PartiesIn re Thomas A. GOODWIN, Debtor.
Docket NumberNo. 04-9653-9P3.,04-9653-9P3.
Decision Date20 April 2005
325 B.R. 328
In re Thomas A. GOODWIN, Debtor.
No. 04-9653-9P3.
United States Bankruptcy Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division.
April 20, 2005.

Page 329

Edward R. Miller, Miller and Hollander, Naples, FL, for Debtor.

ORDER ON DEBTOR'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

ALEXANDER L. PASKAY, Bankruptcy Judge.


THIS MATTER came on for hearing upon Thomas Goodwin's (Debtor) Amended Objection to Claim No. 2 Filed by Peter Prescott and Sandra Prescott (Claimants) filed January 7, 2005, and a Response regarding same filed January 12, 2005, by Claimants. On February 23, 2005, the Debtor filed a Motion for Summary Judgment regarding the Amended Objection. It is the contention of the Debtor that there are no genuine issues of material fact and, based on same, he is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law sustaining his Objection to the allowance of Claim No. 2 filed by the Claimants and disallowing the claim with prejudice.

The facts as established by this record are, indeed, without dispute and can be summarized as follows:

On June 10, 1994, the Debtor and his spouse (the Debtors) filed their Voluntary Petition for Relief under Chapter 11 in the United States Bankruptcy Court, District of Maine. On August 5, 1994, the Bankruptcy Court in Maine granted a Motion for Relief from the Automatic Stay permitting the claimants to liquidate their claim against the Debtors in the appropriate State Court. After a trial by jury in the State Court, the jury found in favor of the Claimants and, based on the jury's verdict, the Superior Court in Kennebec County of Maine entered a final judgment on August 25, 1995 in favor of the Claimants and against the Debtors in the amount of $202,110.00. On August 12, 1995, the Debtors' Chapter 11 case was converted to a Chapter 7 case. On March 8, 1996, the Debtors obtained a general bankruptcy discharge. However, on August 2, 1996, the Bankruptcy Court entered a judgment in an adversary proceeding filed by the Claimants against the Debtors and sought a determination of nondischargeability of the State Court judgment. The Bankruptcy Court determined that $72,074.85 together with statutory interest and fees and costs attributable to the nondischargeable debt shall be excepted from the overall protection of the general bankruptcy discharge.

On May 12, 2004, the Debtor who is not a newcomer to the Bankruptcy Court having filed two cases before, one in Maine and one in this Court in 1999, filed his third Petition for Relief under Chapter 13. On August 20, 2004, the Claimants timely filed a proof of claim in this Chapter 13 case in the amount of $207,279.24 (Claim No. 2). The Debtor promptly challenged Claim No. 2 contending that the Claimants' claim is barred by the applicable Statute of Limitations. In the alternative the Debtor claims that the Debtors' discharge obtained in the Bankruptcy Court in Maine bars, at least in part, the claim asserted by the Claimants in their proof of claim No. 2.

In considering whether summary judgment is warranted, this Court adheres to the standards set forth by the United States Supreme Court. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986)(holding the standard of proof in summary judgment rulings is the same as it would be at trial); Celotex v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-35, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986)(discussing the appropriate burdens

Page 330

of proof and types of evidence to use in summary judgment decisions); Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 585-88, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986)(detailing the elements of summary judgment analysis).

The Objection raised by the Debtors involves the interpretation and application of two Florida Statutes because both the State Court and Bankruptcy Court judgments at issue originated in Maine. Thus, they are defined as foreign judgments under Florida law. See Fla. Stat. Ch.'s 55.502(1); 95.11(2)(a). There are two avenues of enforcement available in Florida to creditors holding foreign court judgments, a traditional common law action to enforce a judgment or domestication of a judgment via registration with the state. The Court first examines the latter option.

In 1984, Florida enacted its version of the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act, referred to as the Florida Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act (FEFJA). Fla. Stat. Ch.'s 55.501-55.509(2004). The statute directs courts to interpret and construe the FEFJA "... to effectuate its general purpose to make uniform the law with respect to the subject of this act among states enacting it." Fla. Stat. Ch. 55.502(2004). FEFJA provides a uniform system for individual states to afford the judgments of other state and federal courts the full faith and credit due them under the United States Constitution. See U.S. Const. art. IV, § 1; Trauger v. A.J. Spagnol Lumber Co., 442 So.2d 182, 183-4 (Fla.1983)(holding full faith and credit clause prevents the Florida legislature from directing Florida courts to review the cause of action underlying foreign judgments otherwise enforceable in Florida); Joannou v. Corsini, 543 So.2d 308, 310 (Fla. 4th Dist.Ct.App.1989)("This statute merely adopts the method by which foreign judgments, entitled to full faith and credit under constitutional standards, may become Florida judgments for enforcement purposes."). FEFJA contains a two step process:

(1) recognition and (2) enforcement.

RECOGNITION OF THE CLAIMANTS' JUDGMENT UNDER FEFJA

Recognition of the Claimants' judgments is achieved by following certain steps requiring the payment of fees and the filing of appropriate paperwork with the clerk of the circuit court of any county. Fla. Stat. Ch.'s 55.503 and 55.505.1 The record reflects the Claimants, on March 4, 1998, filed an Affidavit referring to the date of the first state court judgment in Maine and attached registered copies of both the state and bankruptcy court judgments in Sarasota County pursuant to FEFJA. Preliminarily, the Court addresses the Debtor's argument made at the hearing and in the summary judgment motion that Claimants' failure to file an individual affidavit referencing each of the

Page 331

judgments separately somehow bars registration of the bankruptcy judgment. The Debtor offers no case law in support of this position, nor could the Court locate any case supporting this proposition.

The statutory requirement concerning the contents of the affidavit do not contain this requirement: "(1) At the time of the recording of a foreign judgment, the judgment creditor shall make and record with the clerk of the circuit court an affidavit setting forth the name, social security number, if known, and last known post office address of the judgment debtor and of the judgment creditor." Fla. Stat. Ch. 55.505(1)(2004). Claimants' Affidavit contains all of the information required by the statute. The Clerk of the Circuit Court for Collier County recorded each judgment in the official public records at O.R. Book No. 2394 at Pages 2451-3. The Court rejects Debtor's argument and finds as both the Maine state court judgment and the Maine bankruptcy court judgments are appropriately recorded, the judgments are recognized under FEFJA2 in this State.

ENFORCEMENT OF THE CLAIMANTS' JUDGMENT UNDER FEFJA

As the Claimants' judgments are recognized under FEFJA, each judgment is now "domesticated" for the...

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8 practice notes
  • Milliken & Co. v. Haima Group Corp., Case No. 08-MC-22891.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Southern District of Florida
    • August 18, 2009
    ...Young v. McKenzie, 46 So.2d 184, 185 (Fla.1950); Nadd v. Le Credit Lyonnais S.A., 804 So.2d 1226, 1227 (Fla.2001); see also In re Goodwin, 325 B.R. 328, (Bankr.M.D.Fla. 2005). In Padgett, the Florida Supreme Court held that the twenty (20) year statute of limitations period applied to effor......
  • Guseinov v. Synergy Ventures, Inc., No. M2014-00213-COA-R3-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Tennessee
    • October 21, 2014
    ...v. Williams, No. M2006–00962–COA–R3–CV, 2007 WL 3375365, at *2 (Tenn.Ct.App. Nov. 13, 2007) (emphasis added); see also In re Goodwin, 325 B.R. 328, 330 (Bankr.M.D.Fla.2005) (holding that Florida's virtually identical uniform enforcement foreign judgment scheme “contains a two step process: ......
  • Patrick v. Hess, No. SC15–1147
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • February 16, 2017
    ...the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act, or Florida Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act (FEFJA), in 1984. In re Goodwin , 325 B.R. 328, 330 (Bankr. M.D. Fla. 2005) ; see §§ 55.501–.509, Fla. Stat. (2012). The Act creates an alternative simplified procedure for domesticating foreig......
  • Guseinov v. Synergy Ventures, Inc., No. M2014-00213-COA-R3-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Tennessee
    • October 21, 2014
    ...v. Williams, No. M2006-00962-COA-R3-CV, 2007 WL 3375365, at *2 (Tenn. Ct. App. Nov. 13, 2007) (emphasis added); see also In re Goodwin, 325 B.R. 328, 330 (Bankr. M.D. Fla. 2005) (holding that Florida's virtually identical uniform enforcement foreign judgment scheme "contains a two step......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
8 cases
  • Milliken & Co. v. Haima Group Corp., Case No. 08-MC-22891.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Southern District of Florida
    • August 18, 2009
    ...Young v. McKenzie, 46 So.2d 184, 185 (Fla.1950); Nadd v. Le Credit Lyonnais S.A., 804 So.2d 1226, 1227 (Fla.2001); see also In re Goodwin, 325 B.R. 328, (Bankr.M.D.Fla. 2005). In Padgett, the Florida Supreme Court held that the twenty (20) year statute of limitations period applied to effor......
  • Guseinov v. Synergy Ventures, Inc., No. M2014-00213-COA-R3-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Tennessee
    • October 21, 2014
    ...v. Williams, No. M2006–00962–COA–R3–CV, 2007 WL 3375365, at *2 (Tenn.Ct.App. Nov. 13, 2007) (emphasis added); see also In re Goodwin, 325 B.R. 328, 330 (Bankr.M.D.Fla.2005) (holding that Florida's virtually identical uniform enforcement foreign judgment scheme “contains a two step process: ......
  • Patrick v. Hess, No. SC15–1147
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • February 16, 2017
    ...the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act, or Florida Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act (FEFJA), in 1984. In re Goodwin , 325 B.R. 328, 330 (Bankr. M.D. Fla. 2005) ; see §§ 55.501–.509, Fla. Stat. (2012). The Act creates an alternative simplified procedure for domesticating foreig......
  • Guseinov v. Synergy Ventures, Inc., No. M2014-00213-COA-R3-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Tennessee
    • October 21, 2014
    ...v. Williams, No. M2006-00962-COA-R3-CV, 2007 WL 3375365, at *2 (Tenn. Ct. App. Nov. 13, 2007) (emphasis added); see also In re Goodwin, 325 B.R. 328, 330 (Bankr. M.D. Fla. 2005) (holding that Florida's virtually identical uniform enforcement foreign judgment scheme "contains a two step......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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