Stotsky Holdings, L.L.C. v. Gibson, No. 278947 (Mich. App. 10/21/2008), 278947.

CourtCourt of Appeal of Michigan (US)
Writing for the CourtPer Curiam
PartiesSTOTSKY HOLDINGS, L.L.C., Plaintiff-Appellant, v. WAYNE GIBSON, Defendant-Appellee.
Docket NumberNo. 278947.,278947.
Decision Date21 October 2008

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STOTSKY HOLDINGS, L.L.C., Plaintiff-Appellant,
WAYNE GIBSON, Defendant-Appellee.
No. 278947.
Court of Appeals of Michigan.
October 21, 2008.

Appeal from Macomb Circuit Court, LC No. 2006-004985-CZ.

Before: Schuette, P.J., and Murphy and Fitzgerald, JJ.


Plaintiff appeals the trial court's order denying its motion for appointment of a receiver in a supplementary proceeding. We affirm.

This case originally arises out of a consent judgment entered in the Oakland Circuit Court (Michigan) on February 14, 1996, against defendant and in favor of plaintiff in the amount of $250,000. Plaintiff domesticated this judgment in Florida, in accordance with the Florida Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act (FEFJA), Fla Stat 55.501 et seq., on April 3, 2003. On February 14, 2006, plaintiff's original judgment expired pursuant to the ten-year period of limitations on an action founded upon a judgment. MCL 600.5809(3); Van Reken v Darden, Neef & Heitsch, 259 Mich App 454, 458; 674 NW2d 731 (2003). On March 28, 2006, plaintiff filed a motion to renew the judgment in the Oakland Circuit Court, but it was denied.1 Plaintiff then filed an affidavit and notice of entry of foreign judgment in the Macomb Circuit Court (Michigan) on November 22, 2006, in an attempt to enforce the judgment, domesticated in Florida as of April 3, 2003, in Michigan according to the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act (UEFJA), MCL 691.1711 et seq. Finally, in March 2007, plaintiff sought to enforce this new purported domesticated Florida judgment against defendant by filing a motion with the trial court to appoint a receiver for the estate of defendant's deceased mother in order to "complete the probate, sell the . . . assets, and . . . apply that to the judgment."

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Defendant answered the motion by claiming that plaintiff was not attempting to enforce a foreign Florida judgment as represented; rather, it was attempting to enforce the 1996 Michigan judgment that had simply been domesticated per order by a Florida court. Defendant, pointing out that the Oakland Circuit Court had denied the motion to renew the judgment, argued that res judicata barred plaintiff's motion for appointment of a receiver. Moreover, the original judgment had expired pursuant to the 10-year period of limitations and was no longer enforceable. Plaintiff filed a brief in opposition to defendant's position on the matter, arguing that the "Florida judgment" was enforceable under the UEFJA. And defendant then filed a brief in opposition to the motion for appointment of a receiver, again raising the issues presented in his answer and also claiming that the Florida order did not toll the Michigan statute of limitations. An initial hearing on the motion was held, and the court decided to have the parties further brief the issues. Supplementary briefs were submitted and a second hearing held, at which time the trial court took the matter under advisement. The court subsequently issued a written opinion and order denying or dismissing the motion for appointment of a receiver. Relying on Florida case law, the trial court ruled that, because plaintiff's "action in Florida was pursuant to the FEFJA, the limitations period of the Oakland County Judgment governs, and it may not be extended by the FEFJA or the applicable Florida Statute of Limitations." The court found that the period of limitations had expired on the original Michigan judgment; therefore, the domesticated judgment in Florida had also expired because it was derivative of the action in Oakland County. The trial court dismissed the motion under MCR 2.116(I)(2), which is a rule governing summary disposition, and which provides that, "[i]f it appears to the court that the opposing party, rather than the moving party, is entitled to judgment, the court may render judgment in favor of the opposing party." There was no actual motion for summary disposition.

Plaintiff first raises some meritless procedural arguments on appeal, contending that dismissal was improper because there was no motion for summary disposition before the court and that the proper procedure would have been a motion for relief from judgment under MCR 2.612, given the earlier filed affidavit and notice of entry of foreign judgment. Plaintiff maintains that none of the grounds for relief under MCR 2.612 are implicated.

Plaintiff filed a motion for appointment of a receiver on the basis of a purportedly valid judgment, and ultimately the court needed to render a decision on that motion,2 which necessarily entailed a determination on questions of law regarding the validity or enforceability of the judgment and the application of the statute of limitations. Regardless of labels used to frame the decision, the court rendered such a decision, unfavorable to plaintiff, and we have the task, on de novo review, to determine whether the trial court properly ruled relative to the questions of law pertaining to statutory interpretation and the...

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