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PALEY v. SOLOMON

March 27, 1945

PALEY
v.
SOLOMON



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MCGUIRE

This is a motion ' * * * for order that deposition shall not be taken' made by the defendant in the above-entitled action, directed at a notice sent out under the provisions of Rule 30, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, 28 U.S.C.A.following section 723c, which was granted by the court sua sponte, on the ground that the judgment originally obtained was secured in the Municipal Court, and that the plaintiff should further pursue his remedy before that tribunal, under the provision of its rules. Rule 57, Municipal Court.

 First of all it is well to note that the present Municipal Court is not the amorphous resultant of a union or merger of the old Police and Municipal Courts. It is a new tribunal, created by Congress and designed to fill a definite and compelling need in the community. *fn1"

 It is a court of record and has been held, within the limits of its civil jurisdiction -- far in excess of that of the old Municipal Court -- to have equitable jurisdiction. *fn2" Klepinger v. Rhodes, 78 U.S.App.D.C. 340, 140 F.2d 697, certiorari denied 322 U.S. 734, 64 S. Ct. 1047

 In addition, an intermediate appellate tribunal (the Municipal Court of Appeals) has been interposed between it and the United States Court of Appeals, the latter, for most purposes, *fn3" the court of last resort in the District.

 It has rule-making power *fn4" and has proceeded to exercise it. *fn5"

 There is no doubt but that by the mere docketing of a judgment of that court in the District Court as thus provided, the judgment of the inferior court does become 'for all purposes' a judgment of the District Court as if it had originally been obtained there.

 Faced then with this palpable incongruity, the only sensible construction it seems to me, to place upon the statute, having in mind the general legislative purpose in creating the new tribunal, is to hold that when a judgment of the Municipal Court for the District of Columbia is docketed in the District Court -- true it becomes as the statute says, a judgment of that court -- but the real purpose and intent was to provide for a lien on real estate and to extend the period of limitation, and for no other purpose could this plainly anomalous provision have been carried over as a part of the new Court Act.

 The Congressional Committee reports are silent and there were no debates on the subject so no light can be shed from that source, but it is not, strictly speaking, a local phenomenon; there are similar statutes in other jurisdictions. For example, it has been held that where such a statute provides for the filing of the transcript of a judgment of an inferior court in the office of the clerk of a higher court for the purpose of creating a lien against the judgment debtor's realty situated within the territorial limits of the superior court, there is no basis for the issuance of a writ of execution from the higher court except where the statute specifically provides. *fn6"

 In the Hausman case, infra, the City Court of New York held that the docketing of the judgment in the Supreme Court did not divest the City Court of all jurisdiction over the enforcement of the judgment and a garnishee execution could issue from the City Court. The New York decision of course rests on its statutes. The New York City Court Act, Sec. 27-a, *fn7" provides: 'Upon application of a judgment creditor the clerk must deliver to him a transcript of judgment, which may be filed in the office of the clerk of the county in which such judgment was rendered. * * * Upon the docketing of a judgment as provided by this section it shall be deemed a judgment of the supreme court and may be enforced in like manner as a judgment of such court.' The jurisdiction of the New York City Court, according to Sec. 16 of the same act, is concurrent with that of the Supreme Court of New York but limited to suits not in excess of $ 3,000 and to the enforcement of mechanics' liens and liens on personal property. The Civil Practice Act which regulates civil practice in the courts of the State of New York provides in Sec. 684, *fn8" 'Where a judgment has been recovered and where an execution * * * has been returned wholly or partly unsatisfied, and where any wages * * * are due and owing to the judgment debtor * * * the judgment creditor may apply to the court in which said judgment was recovered or the court having jurisdiction of the same * * * .'

 By far the greater number of the earlier cases involve judgments from justice of the peace courts and there is no need to cite them here. In such circumstances the execution does issue from the court holding the transcripted record. No authority has been found to refute the general conclusion that in the absence of statute, execution should issue from the court rendering the judgment.

 Indeed the whole history of this type of legislation indicates it had its origin in the necessity of requiring a writ of 'scire facias to revive a judgment which creates a lien on real estate * * * to issue out of a court of record of common-law jurisdiction, in order that parties interested in the land * * * may be made parties for the proceeding, with right to defend their interest against the enforcement of the judgment' -- since the exercise of such jurisdiction was beyond the powers of justice of the peace courts. *fn9" (Italics supplied).

 Thus docketed and thus revived it not only created a lien but was a judgment of that Court on which execution would issue for all ...


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