Florida Corporate Case Law Update

Judgments

Address of Judgment Holder - Dyer v. Beverly & Tittle, P.A., 777 So. 2d 1055 (Fla. 4th DCA 2001)

In a divorce proceeding, the wife was awarded two judgments for attorney’s fees as a form of child support, ordered to be a lien against the former marital home. Former Wife assigned the judgments to Beverly & Tittle law firm, and the law firm sought foreclosure of the two judgments against the former marital home then owned by the former husband. HOLDING: The fact that the two judgments did not contain the address of the judgment holder precluded them from becoming liens upon real estate. The appeals court further ruled that although the judgments were ordered to be equitable liens on the former husband’s homestead, the exemption from forced sale applied because there was no evidence of fraudulent or egregious conduct on the part of the former husband which might preclude him from protection of forced sale.

Foreign Judgment Notice - Cruz v. Desert Palace, Inc., 770 So. 2d 306 (Fla. 3D DCA 2000)

A Nevada gambling establishment obtained a money judgment in Nevada against Cruz. The judgment holder attempted to domesticate the judgment in Florida by filing a certified copy of the judgment, together with an affidavit of the defendant’s address. The address was wrong, and the notice sent by the county court clerk was not received within the 30 day period in which a defendant may challenge the domestication. HOLDING: Since the address was not correct, defendant was wrongfully precluded from his right to challenge the recording of the judgment.

Foreign Judgment Viability - Lauke v. Lauke, 765 So. 2d 810 (Fla. 2d DCA 2000)

A father obtained a money judgment against his son in Germany. The father sought to record a certified copy in Pinellas County. HOLDING: The father failed to establish that the German judgment was enforceable and viable in Germany at the same time it was being recorded in Florida. The English translation of the judgment itself stated that it was only “provisionally enforceable”.


Service of Process

Dissolved Florida Corporation - Cannella v. Auto-owners Ins. Co., 25 Fla. L. Weekly S559 (Fla. 2000)

This case decided by the Supreme Court settled the dilemma of how and upon whom to effect service of process when the defendant is a dissolved Florida corporation, dissolved after July 1, 1990. The Court held that service upon the registered agent of a Florida corporation dissolved on or after July 1, 1990 should strictly conform to the version of section 48.101, Florida Statutes, in effect at the time of service. For corporations dissolved on or after July 1, 1990, and being served prior to May 30, 1997, service should be upon a surviving director, as trustee. For corporations dissolved on or after July 1, 1990, and being served on or after May 30, 1997, service should be on an officer, director, registered agent or employee, pursuant to section 48.101, Florida Statutes.

Federal Express is Not Mail Service - General De Seguros, S.A. v. Consolidated Property & Casualty Ins. Co., 776 So. 2d 990 (Fla. 3d DCA 2001)

Substitute service is not properly effectuated by private courier service. Where substitute service of process is used, strict compliance with the statues authorizing this form of service is essential to obtaining valid personal jurisdiction over the defendant. Service via Federal Express international air way bills did not satisfy the statutory requirement that substituted service be made by registered mail.

Service on Corporation - Nationsbanc Mortgage Corp. v. The Gardens North Condominium Ass’n., 764 So. 2d 883 (Fla. 4th DCA 2000)

Service of process on a corporation is void unless pursuant to the provisions of section 48.081, Florida Statutes. In this case, service on the Nationsbanc was effected by serving an administrative assistant of Nationsbanc. HOLDING: Absent strict compliance with section 48.081, the court lacks personal jurisdiction over a defendant corporation. Because the affidavit did not contain any statement supporting the necessity for the substitute service, the attempted service was facially void.

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