Failure To Revive Judgment Moots Fraudulent Conveyance Claims

623 Partners, LLC v. Bowers, et al., [Ms. 1191084, Sept. 10, 2021] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2021). The Court (Mitchell, J.; Parker, C.J., and Bolin, Shaw, Wise, Bryan, Mendheim, and Stewart, JJ., concur; Sellers, J., dissents) affirms the Baldwin Circuit Court’s summary judgment dismissing fraudulent-conveyance claims filed by 623 Partners, LLC (623 Partners). In an earlier action, 623 Partners obtained a default judgment against Bart Bowers. The Court notes that “[w]hile this case was pending, the judgment in the earlier action reached the 10-year mark, meaning the judgment was presumed satisfied. 623 Partners tried but failed to revive the judgment.” Ms. *2. Resolving a question of first impression, the Court holds

623 Partners’ fraudulent-conveyance claims are moot and cannot be considered further. Once 10 years had passed since the entry of the default judgments in the original action, those judgments were presumed satisfied. See § 6-9-191. This presumption “is a substantial statutory right accorded the debtor in a stale judgment as a shield to defeat recovery until opposing evidence is reasonably sufficient in the opinion of the court to overcome it.” Gambill v. Cassimus, 247 Ala. 176, 178, 22 So. 2d 909, 910 (1945).

Importantly, it is also “‘equivalent to direct proof of payment’” that “‘prima facie obliterates the debt, and is conclusive in the absence of any evidence tending to show nonpayment.’” Id. (emphasis added) (citation omitted); see also id. at 179, 22 So. 2d at 910 (explaining that payment of the judgment “would have completely extinguished the debt”). Put simply, the presumption of satisfaction does not merely apply to the judgment – it also extends to the debt that formed the basis for the judgment. Accordingly, the debt does not exist separate and apart from the judgment – satisfaction of the judgment satisfies the underlying debt as well.

Ms. *7. Justice Sellers dissents noting that “[u]nder Alabama’s statutory framework, a judgment cannot be revived more than 20 years after the date of its entry;thus, only after 20 years is a judgment that has not been revived conclusively deemed satisfied. See § 6-9-190, Ala. Code 1975 (‘A judgment cannot be revived after the lapse of 20 years from its entry.’).” Ms. *13.

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