• A Judgment Creditor may not Propound Interrogatories in Aid of Enforcement of a Money Judgment to Non-Parties.
  • November 28, 2018 | Author: S. Joseph Cardile
  • Law Firm: Thomas, Thomas & Hafer LLP - Baltimore Office
  • Background

    Michael Johnson filed a lawsuit against three Baltimore City Police Officers who he alleged violated his rights by “‘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.’” A jury found the officers liable and awarded Johnson $500,000.00 in damages, which was reduced to $247,000.00 in compensatory damages and $34,000.00 in punitive damages. After Johnson was unsuccessful in his collection efforts from the officers, Johnson attempted to collect the judgment from the Baltimore Police Department; an option legally available to Johnson had he added the Department as a party to his enforcement action. Attempting to discover the Departments assets, Johnson issued interrogatories. He then sought the same information from the Department through depositions of the commissioner and fiscal officer. However, Johnson did not initiate an enforcement action against the Department, so the Department was a non-party.

    In response to Johnson’s discovery efforts, the Department moved for protective orders. The Circuit Court for Baltimore City entered protective orders as to all of Johnson’s discovery requests issued to the Department.

    Holding

    The Court of Special Appeals affirmed the Trial Court’s ruling. It explained that because the Department was not a party to an enforcement action, Johnson could not require it to answer interrogatories. The Court looked to the Maryland Rules which do not provide for Interrogatories to a non-party, including interrogatories in aid of execution.