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Civil procedure — Enforcement of judgment — Writs of execution and garnishment

This appeal stems from the aftermath of this Court’s reported opinion in Francis v. Johnson, 219 Md. App. 531 (2014), in which Michael Brian Johnson, Jr., appellant, filed an action in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City against three detectives of the Baltimore City Police Department (“BPD”), Tyrone S. Francis, Milton G. Smith, III, and Gregory Hellen (collectively, the “officers”). A jury awarded compensatory and punitive damages to Mr. Johnson for intentional torts and constitutional violations “based on the officers’ actions in taking him from Baltimore in a police van, assaulting him, breaking his phone, and then dropping him off in Howard County, in the rain, without shoes, socks or a way home.” Francis, 219 Md. App. at 537.

The officers filed a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (“JNOV”), a new trial, and remittitur, which was granted in part and denied in part by the trial court. The trial court ordered a new trial unless Mr. Johnson agreed to a remittitur in the compensatory damages award, which he ultimately did. The officers appealed. This Court largely affirmed the judgments of the trial court; nevertheless, we revised the compensatory damages and remanded the case for further proceedings.

Before those further proceedings took place, Mr. Johnson filed a Request for Writ of Execution and Levy Upon Personal Property and a Request for Garnishment of Property in the amount of this Court’s revised judgment, identifying the Mayor & City Council of Baltimore City (the “City”), appellees, as “Judgment Debtors” and M&T Bank as the “Garnishee.” After the clerk of the court issued both writs, the City filed a Motion to Quash Writs of Execution and Garnishment of Property and to Release Property from Levy.

After a hearing, the motions court quashed both writs and ordered that the funds be released by the bank. The court found (1) that there was no valid judgment to execute upon because the judgment had not been revised by the circuit court after this Court’s remand, (2) that the writs were not timely filed, and (3) that the City was not the judgment debtor in this case. Mr. Johnson noted timely appeal, and presents one question for our review:

Did the [circuit c]ourt err in granting the Mayor & City Council’s Motion to Quash Writs of Execution and Garnishment of Property and to Release Property from Levy[?]

Read the opinion here: