Like other states, Kentucky established a statute of limitations period for the enforcement of judgments. Once the limitations period expires, the holder of the judgment can no longer collect on the judgment and any writs of attachment or liens secured by the judgment holder dissolve.
Consequences of Judgment
A plaintiff who prevails in his civil action against a defendant receives a judgment by the court in the amount of the money damages awarded. Once an entry of judgment is recorded by the court on its docket, the plaintiff becomes a judgment creditor and the defendant, the judgment debtor. A judgment creditor can initiate post-judgment collection procedures authorized by law to obtain satisfaction for his judgment. Kentucky allows a judgment creditor to obtain a judgment lien against the real property of the judgment debtor.
Kentucky Statute of Limitations for Judgments
Kentucky Revised Statutes establishes a 15-year limitations period for judgments. The statute of limitations period commences on the date the courts issued the judgment.
After the courts issue a judgment, a judgment creditor may request that the court issue an execution on the judgment. An execution is an official court document that states the judgment creditor can levy against the real and personal property of the judgment debtor. Under Kentucky law, a judgment creditor may request an execution 10 days after the entry of judgment.
Statute of Limitations for Filing Suit
The statute of limitations for enforcing judgments is different from the statute of limitations for filing certain legal causes of action. A creditor who seeks to obtain a judgment lien against a debtor must first file a civil action in court within the time period for breach of contract actions specified by Kentucky law. If a plaintiff files the civil action beyond the applicable statute of limitations period for filing breach of contract actions, the court may dismiss the case. If the courts dismiss the case for failing to comply with the statute of limitations, the plaintiff would have no further legal recourse against the defendant.
The lien of a judgment creditor levied against the real property of a judgment debtor is subordinate to the lien of any mortgage holder(s). As a practical matter, unless the judgment debtor has sufficient equity in his home, a forced sale by a judgment lien holder will not generate sufficient funds with which to satisfy his money judgment after the claims of other more senior lien holders are paid.