Debtor/Creditor

This summary also appears under Litigation

 

Issues: Garnishment; Claim that the trial court violated MCR 2.603(B) in denying the garnishee defendant-bank's motion for reconsideration; "Moot" issues; People v. Richmond; Tenneco Inc. v. Amerisure Mut. Ins. Co.; Failure to support an argument on appeal; Ypsilanti Charter Twp. v. Kircher; United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished)

Case Name: Triangle Assocs., Inc. v. Bentwaters Partners, L.P.

e-Journal Number: 57517

Judge(s): Per Curiam – Fitzgerald, Saad, and Whitbeck

 

Concluding that this appeal was "manifestly a 'purposeless proceeding,'" the court remanded the case to the trial court for entry of an order of dismissal. The case had "a long and convoluted" procedural history. Plaintiff won a settlement for $430,465.96 against defendant-Bentwaters in 2008 and has since sought to execute writs of garnishment against Bentwaters' debtors for the funds. The USDA perfected a security interest in Bentwaters' account at the garnishee defendant-bank, which contained most of Bentwaters' funds. At plaintiff's request, the trial court issued a writ of garnishment to the bank, demanding the original judgment plus interest ($484,550.40) from the account. The bank "immediately placed a hold on the account, and then began research on whether the USDA's security interest took priority over" plaintiff's garnishment. The bank failed to timely file a garnishment disclosure. Plaintiff requested a default judgment, which the trial court entered. However, the trial court did not decide whether the bank had to satisfy plaintiff's garnishment from its own corporate assets in the event that the USDA's security interest took priority over plaintiff's interest in the funds in the account. The bank appealed the denial of its motion for reconsideration on the default judgment to the court, which granted leave to appeal. The bank also interpled the USDA in federal court, seeking to determine whether the USDA's security interest had priority in Bentwaters' account. The federal court ruled that the USDA's security interest had priority over plaintiff's writ of garnishment in the account and ordered the bank to pay it the full amount of the account, which it would in turn give to the USDA. The bank then filed a complaint for declaratory relief in the trial court, seeking a ruling on the remaining issue of whether it had to satisfy plaintiff's writ of garnishment from its own corporate funds, as opposed to the funds in the account. The trial court issued a final judgment on 4/28/14, ruling that, in light of the federal court judgment, the bank performed all of its obligations as a garnishee defendant, and could not be held liable for plaintiff's garnishment writ. This appeal was limited to whether the trial court violated MCR 2.603(B) when it denied the bank's motion for reconsideration as to the earlier default judgment. However, whatever relief the bank sought in its motion for reconsideration was granted by the trial court in its 4/28/14 final judgment. Thus, it was impossible for the court to grant relief.

 

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