Jones v. Prescott, 071217 FED5, 16-31117
|Opinion Judge:||PER CURIAM.|
|Party Name:||ANGELA JONES, Plaintiff-Appellee v. MICHAEL PRESCOTT, in his individual and official capacities, Defendant-Appellant|
|Judge Panel:||Before BENAVIDES, DENNIS, and PRADO, Circuit Judges.|
|Case Date:||July 12, 2017|
|Court:||United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit|
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana USDC No. 2:14-CV-2304
Before BENAVIDES, DENNIS, and PRADO, Circuit Judges.
PER CURIAM. [*]
This appeal stems from the district court's disbursement of settlement funds that had been deposited in the registry of the court. Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 67. Finding no reversible error, we AFFIRM.
I. BACKGROUND and PROCEDURAL HISTORY
In the underlying lawsuit, Plaintiff-Appellee Angela Jones ("Jones") filed a civil rights employment action against the Board of Supervisors of the University of Louisiana System ("the University") and also named certain campus police officers as Defendants, including Defendant-Appellant Michael Prescott ("Prescott"). Prior to the instant lawsuit, Prescott had filed a defamation suit in Louisiana state court against Jones. In the state defamation suit, Prescott obtained a default judgment against Jones in the amount of $175, 000. Based on that judgment, Prescott obtained a writ of fieri facias, and served the University with a petition for garnishment on November 5, 2015. The writ apparently was served on the University in anticipation of a money judgment against the University and in favor of Jones.
Subsequently on March 22, 2016, the parties in the instant case civil rights suit entered into a settlement agreement in which the Defendants would pay Jones $75, 000, and Jones would dismiss her claims. On April 21, Jones filed a motion to request that the settlement proceeds be deposited in the registry of the court pursuant to Rule 67 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. On May 12, 2016, the district court granted the motion, and the Defendants deposited the $75, 000 in settlement funds into the registry of the district court.
On June 13, Jones filed a motion for attorney's fees and costs in the amount of $32, 695 to be released from the registry of the court. Prescott filed an opposition to Jones's motion, asserting that the court had improvidently granted the motion to deposit the proceeds of the settlement in the court registry. Prescott also requested oral argument, and the court heard arguments on June 29. After hearing argument, the court ordered the University to provide a "copy of the executed writ and evidence of when and how it was served." The University filed a copy of the executed writ that had been served at its office on November 5, 2015.
On July 8, 2016, Prescott filed a motion requesting the court to order that $50, 000 be withdrawn from the court's registry and returned to the University. On August 29, 2016, the court granted Jones's motion to release attorney's fees and costs from its registry. On September 23, the court denied Prescott's motion to return $50, 000 in funds to the University. The court found that the writ had not properly seized the settlement funds because the writ was served on the University on November 5, 2015, and the settlement funds did not come "into existence" until March of 2016. The court then recognized that the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure provides that "a garnishment shall not be continuing in nature and the garnishee need only respond as to the property of the judgment debtor that the garnishee has in his possession or under his control at the time the garnishment interrogatories are served on him." La. C.C.P. art. 2411(c); see also Pine Tree Associates...
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