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John C. Flood of MD, Inc. v. Brighthaupt

Court of Appeals of Columbia District

August 13, 2015

JOHN C. FLOOD OF MD, INC., APPELLANT,
v.
JERRY BRIGHTHAUPT, APPELLEE

Argued May 19, 2015

Appeal from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. (CAB-9997-11). (Hon. Robert D. Okun, Trial Judge).

Albert Wilson, Jr., with whom Lily A. Graves was on the brief, for appellant.

Natalie S. Walker for appellee.

Before FISHER and BLACKBURNE-RIGSBY, Associate Judges, and BELSON, Senior Judge.

OPINION

Page 938

Belson, Senior Judge :

John C. Flood of MD, Inc. (Flood of MD), appellant, appeals the denial of its emergency motion to quash a writ of attachment and the denial of its Rule 59 (e) motion to reconsider the denial of its above-mentioned motion. Jerry Brighthaupt, appellee, obtained and served a writ of attachment against Flood of MD in an attempt to satisfy a judgment rendered in his favor against John C. Flood of D.C., Inc. (Flood of DC). Brighthaupt had reason to believe that Flood of DC fraudulently conveyed its assets to Flood of MD to avoid the judgment. Flood of MD argues on appeal that, inter alia, the writ of attachment was ineffective against it because Flood of DC, rather than Flood of MD, was the named defendant against which judgment was rendered and that the District of Columbia writ of attachment laws, D.C. Code § 16-501 (2012 Repl.), as applied, violated appellant's right to due process under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. We affirm.

I.

Brighthaupt had worked some years ago for Flood of DC. In 2011, he filed a complaint against Flood of DC alleging that it violated the D.C. Wage Payment and Collection Act (WPCA), D.C. Code § 32-1301 (2012 Repl.). Two years later, on October 22, 2013, the trial court entered a $12,366.08, plus costs and interest, judgment in his favor against Flood of DC. On February 20, 2014, the trial court entered an amended judgment of $13,602.28 (costs included), plus interest, and $29,673.00 in fees.

At oral argument, Brighthaupt explained that he learned of Flood of DC's fraudulent conveyance through a post-judgment discovery hearing that occurred after entry of judgment against Flood of DC, but before he obtained the writ of attachment against Flood of MD.[1] On April 8, 2014, Brighthaupt served a writ of attachment in the District of Columbia, signed by a deputy clerk of the court, on SunTrust Bank, Inc. (SunTrust), for two bank accounts, one each for Flood of DC and Flood of MD, to satisfy the WPCA judgment. The writ of attachment listed only Flood of DC as a judgment debtor. Brighthaupt did not attach an affidavit and did not post a bond. SunTrust responded that it was holding $13,602.28 from the Flood of MD account and increased that amount upon notification of the award of attorney's fees that was an additional basis for attachment.

On May 2, 2014, Brighthaupt filed a motion for judgment of recovery and to set aside fraudulent conveyances made to Flood of MD with the following factual allegations:

5. Post-judgment discovery obtained by Plaintiff demonstrates that shortly before the Court's entry of the Judgment against Defendants, Defendant Melville Davis, along with his two daughters Sherianne Mccoy ([né e] Davis), President of [Flood of MD], and Joanne Smiley, President of [Flood of DC], incorporated a new entity, [Flood of MD], and transferred all of [Flood of DC's] assets to the new company. Notably, all ...

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