Submitted: July 12, 2017
Plaintiffs Motions for Reconsideration of Commissioner's
J. Fornias, III, Esquire.
Tabatha L. Castro, Esquire.
ABIGAIL M. LEGROW, JUDGE.
25th day of August, 2017, upon consideration of Floyd
White's Motions for Reconsideration of Commissioner's
Orders (the "Motions") and the applicable legal
authorities, including Rule 132 of the Superior Court Rules
of Civil Procedure ("Rule 132"), it appears to the
2012, the plaintiff, Floyd White, purchased various
judgments, including one against Antonia Estrada and a second
against Flora Sutalo. The judgments represented unpaid
assessment fees originally owed to Burnbrae Maintenance
Association ("Burnbrae"). Ms. Estrada and Ms.
Sutalo each owned a Burnbrae condominium unit.
2013, Mr. White filed a motion to allow execution on the
judgments. Thereafter, this Court entered an order requiring
Burnbrae to provide Mr. White with an accounting of any funds
or credits related to the judgments and to turn over to Mr.
White any payments or credits Burnbrae received related to
the judgments. On July 11, 2016, this Court found
Burnbrae in contempt and ordered it to (i) provide an
accounting, (ii) turn over to Mr. White any payments or
credits received related to the judgments no later than July
13, 2016, and (iii) provide a certification with the
accounting that the records were accurate.
July 15, 2016, Mr. White filed a contempt motion, alleging
Burnbrae withheld payments received from Ms. Estrada and Ms.
Sutalo. The motion was assigned to a commissioner of this
Court, who held an evidentiary hearing. Following the
hearing, the parties supplemented the record. On May 23,
2017, the Commissioner issued two non-dispositive orders
under Rule 132 (collectively, the
Commissioner found: (1) Burnbrae collected payments from Ms.
Estrada and Ms. Sutalo under the terms of the judgments,
which now were Mr. White's property; (2) Burnbrae failed
to account properly for the payments; and (3) Burnbrae failed
to remit the collected payments to Mr. White. The Commissioner
further found that the parties agreed Burnbrae collected $4,
135.00 from Ms. Estrada and $7, 901.28 from Ms. Sutalo and
therefore Mr. White was entitled to those
amounts. The Commissioner also held Mr. White's
conduct contributed to the "delay and confusion caused
in this matter, " he failed to present sufficient
evidence that he properly notified Ms. Estrada or Ms. Sutalo
of the purchase of the judgments, and he did not pursue
collection of the judgments in a timely manner, electing
instead to seek his remedies first from
Burnbrae. Accordingly, the Commissioner (i) found
Burnbrae in contempt; (ii) awarded Mr. White $12, 036.28,
plus $3, 500.00 in sanctions and costs; (iii) awarded
post-judgment interest accruing 30 days from the date of the
Orders; and (iv) ordered the judgments against Ms. Estrada
and Ms. Sutalo satisfied.
White timely filed two Motions objecting to the Orders.
Burnbrae opposed both Motions. For the reasons explained
below, Mr. White's Motions are denied.
White makes three arguments in his objections to the
Commissioner's Orders. First, Mr. White contends the
Orders omit two facts: (i) Mr. White purchased a fourth
judgment, and (ii) a March 7, 2013 motion to allow execution
was the motion that precipitated a March 22, 2013 order that
the Commissioner referenced in each case. Second, he
maintains the Orders are contrary to law as (i) Mr. White was
required to take a reduced amount in satisfaction of the
judgments; (ii) the Orders failed to provide pre-judgment
interest; (iii) the Orders failed to provide post-judgment
interest from the date of the judgments; and (iv) he was
faulted for not executing on the judgments in a timely
manner. Third, Mr. White argues the Commissioner abused her
discretion because (i) now he cannot recover unpaid judgments
from Ms. Sutalo, Ms. Estrada, or Burnbrae; (ii) he was
required to enter immediate satisfaction of the judgments;
(iii) the Orders fail to address the post-judgment interest
rate; and (iv) Burnbrae was not required to correct its
erroneous accounting records.
review of a non-case dispositive matter, a commissioner's
order is reconsidered by a judge "only where it has been
shown on the record that the . . . order is based upon
findings of fact that are clearly erroneous, or is contrary
to law, or is an abuse of discretion." The moving
party has the burden to show on the record where the order
clearly is erroneous, contravenes the law, or is an abuse of
White has not identified any material, erroneous finding of
fact. Both purportedly "erroneous entries" are in
the Orders' "background of proceedings"
sections. Moreover, the facts to which Mr. White refers are
irrelevant to the present issues and have no legal bearing on
the Commissioner's decisions. Although Mr. White
purchased several judgments, there were two judgments at
issue at the time of the evidentiary hearing and those
correctly were identified in the Orders. Similarly
irrelevant is the fact that the Commissioner did not cite ...