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V. Post-Trial Proceedings & Conclusion

A. Enforcement of a Judgment

A judgment does not automatically result in the remedy sought. In the most frequent case, a suit for money damages, the final judgment should grant damages in a specific dollar amount, and include the critical words “for which sum let execution issue.” With that language, the successful Plaintiff can garnish the Defendant’s wages or bank accounts, can levy against non-exempt assets owned by the Defendant, or take the deposition of the Defendant or other “in aid of execution,” i.e., to learn what assets the Defendant has, where they are located, and information necessary to gain access to them, such as account numbers.

The judgment can be recorded in the public records of any county in the state, which makes the judgment a lien against any non-exempt real estate owned by the Defendant in that county.

B. Relief from Judgment

If new evidence (which could not have been found prior to trial) becomes available which shows that the judgment is not just, the Judge may set the judgment aside and order a new trial or other relief. This is usually only possible within a year of the judgment.

D. Ancillary Proceedings

It may be necessary to use the judgment in another state, in order to garnish monies or attach property located there. If so, a proceeding is filed in the foreign state to “domesticate” the judgment there, that is, make it the equivalent to a judgment of the courts of that state, so that execution through the foreign state’s courts can be undertaken.

VI. Conclusion

This is a very general overview of a typical civil lawsuit in Florida. Every lawsuit is different, and the steps often vary dramatically.