Dyck O’Neal v Lanham

This is a Florida Supreme Court decision from July 2018. The foreclosure was completed and a separate lawsuit for a deficiency was obtained by a creepy debt collection company. Dyck O’Neal was assigned the foreclosure judgment and obtained the deficiency judgment in a separate court case. In Florida, a deficiency judgment can’t be obtained when the defendant is served by publication and in such a case, the mortgage company obtains an “in rem” judgment which simply means they get the house and can’t go after the seller/borrower for a separate deficiency judgment. Not-so-fast said the slippery debt collector who receives the judgment by assignment. They can file a separate lawsuit in which they obtain in-hand service and then obtain their deficiency judgment and subsequent garnishment or bank levy. The Florida Supreme Court has decided in DYCK-O’NEAL, INC. v. HEATHER LANHAM, No. SC17-975.Supreme Court of Florida July 5, 2018.

Just another of many reasons why a short sale is preferred to a foreclosure, even if the foreclosure is “in rem” you are not in the clear.