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United States v. Feldman

June 16, 2004


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Chapman, United States Magistrate Judge.


On April 6, 2004, upon application of the United States ("the Government"), defendant Todd Allen Feldman was ordered to appear on May 27, 2004, for a judgment debtor examination under Rule 69 and California Code of Civil Procedure ("C.C.P.") § 708.110. On May 24, 2004, defendant filed an ex parte application for an order to dismiss the action, for a protective order or, in the alternative, for a continuance of the judgment debtor examination.*fn1 Defendant did not appear on May 27, 2004, and the Court converted sua sponte the ex parte application into a motion, ordered the Government to file an opposition and defendant to file a reply, and set a hearing for June 16, 2004. The Government's opposition was filed on June 2, 2004, and defendant filed his reply on June 8, 2004.

Oral argument was held before Magistrate Judge Rosalyn M. Chapman on June 16, 2004. Brent Whittlesey, Assistant United States Attorney, appeared on behalf of the Government and Michael J. Partos, attorney-at-law with the firm Cozen O'Connor, appeared on behalf of the defendant; however, defendant was not present.


On January 26, 2004, defendant pleaded guilty to, and was convicted of, fourteen counts of mail fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341. On March 29, 2004, he was sentenced to 24 months imprisonment and three years supervised release and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $685,202.27, to "be paid in full no later than 90 days after sentencing," and a special assessment of $700. The defendant appealed his sentence to the Ninth Circuit, where it is currently pending. According to the Government, the Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") has set July 17, 2004, as the defendant's release date. Opposition at 2:11-14.



The defendant was ordered to pay restitution under the authority of the Victim and Witness Protection Act ("Victim Act"), 18 U.S.C. § 3663, as modified by the Mandatory Victim Restitution Act ("Restitution Act"). See 18 U.S.C. § 3663(d)("An order of restitution made pursuant to [Section 3663] shall be issued and enforced in accordance with section 3664."). Under Section 3664, "[a]n order of restitution may be enforced by the United States in the manner provided for in subchapter C of chapter 227 [§§ 3571-3574] and subchapter B of chapter 229 [§§ 3611-3615] of this title; or ... by all other available and reasonable means." 18 U.S.C. § 3664(m)(1)(A). Specifically, "[t]he United States may enforce a judgment imposing a fine in accordance with the practices and procedures for the enforcement of a civil judgment under Federal law or State law." 18 U.S.C. § 3613(a); see also 18 U.S.C. § 3613(f) ("In accordance with section 3664(m)(1)(A) of this title, all provisions of this section are available to the United States for the enforcement of an order of restitution.").*fn2 Neither party disputes California judgment debtor law is applicable here.

Judgment debtor proceedings under California law "permit the judgment creditor to examine the judgment debtor, or third persons who have property of or are indebted to the judgment debtor, in order to discover property and apply it toward the satisfaction of the money judgment." Imperial Bank v. Pim Elec., Inc., 33 Cal.App.4th 540, 546-47 39 Cal.Rptr.2d 432 (1995); C.C.P. §§ 708.110-708.205. Debtor examinations are intended "to allow the judgment creditor a wide scope of inquiry concerning property and business affairs of the judgment debtor," Hooser v. Superior Court, 84 Cal.App.4th 997, 1002, 101 Cal.Rptr.2d 341 (2000), and "to leave no stone unturned in the search for assets which might be used to satisfy the judgment." Troy v. Superior Court, 186 Cal.App.3d 1006, 1014, 231 Cal.Rptr. 108 (1986).


Defendant did not appear for his judgment debtor examination on May 27, 2004, and it did not take place. Nevertheless, defendant adamantly contends this Court lacks personal jurisdiction over him under Rule 12(b)(2) *fn3 because the Government failed to properly serve him with a copy of Order setting the judgment debtor examination for May 27, 2004. Specifically, defendant claims he was never personally served with process, as required by California law. C.C.P. §§ 415.10, 708.110(d).*fn4 Ex Parte Application at 2:24. In response, the Government argues it served defendant's attorney of record because defendant is incarcerated. Opposition at 4:14-20.

This Court notes, as an initial matter, that neither party has filed any declarations or provided any evidence to support its position and neither party has cited any authority addressing whether service on an incarcerated defendant's attorney is sufficient. In any event, this issue is moot since defendant was not examined on May 27, 2004, and there is no reason why the Government cannot personally serve defendant with notice of any future examination.*fn5

Moreover, the Government's request to set a judgment debtor examination of defendant does not constitute the commencement of a new civil action against defendant, despite the fact that for administrative purposes the debtor examination was assigned a new civil case number; rather, the debtor examination is merely a supplemental proceeding attendant to defendant's criminal case and the restitution order entered against defendant in that case. Resolution Trust Corp. v. Ruggiero, 994 F.2d 1221, 1223-26 (7th Cir.1993); see also Hogoboom, King, California Practice Guide: Family Law, ยง 18:640 (Rutter 2004) ("A judgment debtor examination is a supplemental remedy to execution, used to ascertain the existence and whereabouts of property available to satisfy a judgment."). As such, this Court has personal jurisdiction over defendant in this supplemental proceeding. Oklahoma Radio ...

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