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Failure to Revive Lien Does Not Invalidate Lien

Under current Pennsylvania Law, a judgment lien may be revived every five years. It has always been a popular belief that a failure to "revive" the lien before the five year date would mean that the lien becomes invalid. That belief has always been incorrect--and, this past summer, the PA Superior Court confirmed that the belief is unfounded:

In the case of Valley Community Bank v. O'Malley, a judgment lien had been obtained against a debtor in 1994. The right to collect upon the judgment was sold to the plaintiff Bank in 2001. The Bank did not file the assignment of the lien rights and a revival of the judgment lien until 2008, i.e., 14 years after the original judgment lien was obtained. The Court allowed the lien to be enforced--with all 14 years of interest. The Court noted that the failure to revive a judgment lien does not invalidate the lien; it only means that it may lose priority over other intervening liens.

The lessons are clear for both debtors and creditors: Debtors, just because a lien hasn't been enforced doesn't mean it can't be enforced. Creditors, if you don't timely revive your lien, other creditors may jump in front of you and collect from the debtor the money to which you were, and still are, entitled.

--Ken Milner

Categories: Business Law

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