Monday, May 21, 2012

The Easy Road for Article 9 in Florida

Summer is upon us, a good reminder that the effective date of Revised Article 9 is coming in just a year (the "Revision"). Of course, one of the main issues within Article 9, which gave rise to the Revision, was the lack of specificity in the way in which a secured party should provide the name of an individual debtor on a financing statement. To resolve this problem, a joint review committee was appointed by the American Legal Institute (ALI) and the Uniform Law Commission (ULC). The joint review committee produced two alternatives from which states would be free to choose. Alternative “A” sets up a hierarchy for individual names which requires a creditor to use the name on the most recent driver’s license, if the debtor has one. While Alternative “B” allows the creditor more flexibility in listing the individual debtor’s name, allowing the creditor to identify the debtor on the financing statement by the individual name, the surname and personal name, or the name on the debtor’s most recent driver’s license. See, What's in a Name

As I am getting ready to teach a Commercial Law Survey course, I know that the students will ask about the Revision and its progress here in Florida. Perhaps indicative of the easy road the Revision will have, the status of Article 9 in Florida has already been decided. Florida has enacted the 2010 amendments to UCC Article 9 through House Bill 483 (HB 483). The law provides Alternative “A” for individual debtor names in Section 9-503(a)(4) and takes effect on July 1, 2013, right on schedule. The bill was presented to the Governor on March 23, 2012 and was subsequently signed into law on April 6, 2012. The only small departure from the official text of the Article 9 amendments is a non-uniform version of Section 9-521. Under HB 483, the Florida version of Section 9-521 directs the secretary of state to develop or approve forms.

While Florida is neither the first, nor the last state to consider the Revision, its pathway with little resistance is a good sign for its fate going forward. Let's just hope that the Revision proves successful in its treatment of outstanding issues like debtor names that have provided much litigation.


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