Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Ross v. Jenkins

United States District Court, D. Kansas

November 2, 2018

KENDRA ROSS, Plaintiff,
v.
ROYALL JENKINS, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Daniel D. Crabtree United States District Judge

         This case is before the court on the oral motion of plaintiff Kendra Ross to issue a bench warrant for the arrest of defendant Royall Jenkins. Magistrate Judge Teresa J. James ordered defendants to appear before the court on October 18, 2018, to show cause why they should not be punished for contempt of court for failing to appear for a Judgment Debtors Examination on September 13, 2018, and for failing to comply with a court order directing the defendants to respond to Judgment Creditor's First Set of Post-Judgment Interrogatories and Document Requests. Doc. 91. Plaintiff argues that, because defendants failed to respond to the court's Order to Show Cause, the court properly can sanction defendant Royall Jenkins by issuing a bench warrant for his arrest. For reasons explained below, the court grants plaintiff's request to issue a bench warrant.

         I. Background

         On May 23, 2018, the court entered default judgment against defendants Royall Jenkins, The Value Creators, Inc. f/k/a The United Nation of Islam, Inc., The Value Creators LLC, and The Value Creators, Inc. See Doc. 41. That judgment was in the amount of $7, 938, 546.30 and included a separate award of $117, 184.34 for plaintiff's attorneys' fees and costs. Id. Almost a month later, on June 19, 2018, Mr. Jenkins filed a pro se[1] “Motion for New Trial” (Doc. 42). Plaintiff filed a Motion for Writ of Execution (Doc. 45), and the court granted plaintiff's Motion and denied Mr. Jenkins's Motion (Doc. 93).

         Trying to determine the defendants' assets, plaintiff served her First Set of Interrogatories, Document Requests, and Requests for Admission (Doc. 52) on defendants on July 10, 2018. She also filed an Application for Examination of Judgment Debtors (Doc. 53) on July 13, 2018, which Judge James granted, setting the Judgment Debtors Examination for September 13, 2018 (Doc. 60).

         Defendants' responses to plaintiff's post-judgment discovery requests were due on August 13, 2018.[2] In her Memorandum in Support of Motion to Compel Responses to Post-Judgment Interrogatories and Requests for Production of Documents (Doc. 71), plaintiff included a letter sent on August 14, 2018, via email and U.S. mail overnight delivery, requesting defendants to respond by the close of business on August 16, 2018. Doc. 71-2. Plaintiff also represented that she “e-mailed and attempted to call” defendant Mr. Jenkins and Ephraim Woods[3] to request defendants' responses to plaintiff's discovery requests by August 16, 2018. See Doc. 71-3 (plaintiff's email to defendant Mr. Jenkins and Mr. Woods). Plaintiff represented that neither the letter nor the email were returned as undeliverable. Doc. 87.

         Plaintiff then filed a Motion to Compel Responses to Post-Judgment Interrogatories and Requests for Production of Documents (Doc. 70). Judge James granted that motion and required defendants to respond by September 10, 2018 (Doc. 78). Plaintiff sent a copy of the order granting plaintiff's Motion to Compel to defendants via email and U.S. mail overnight delivery. Doc. 87-1. Plaintiff also represented that her counsel tried to call Mr. Jenkins and left a message about “Judgment Debtors' violation of this Court's Order.” Doc. 87 at 3.

         Then, plaintiff filed a Motion for Order to Show Cause (Doc. 86), and Judge James issued a Citation for Failing to Appear for Judgment Debtor Examination and Order to Show Cause (Doc. 91). In that Order, Judge James set a hearing date of October 18, 2018. Defendants The Value Creators, Inc. f/k/a The United Nation of Islam, Inc., The Value Creators LLC, and The Value Creators, Inc., were served through their registered agent, Griegory Moten, on October 11, 2018 (Docs. 95, 96, & 97). But none of the defendants appeared at the proceedings on October 18. At that hearing, plaintiff orally moved for the court to issue a bench warrant for Mr. Jenkins because of his repeated failure to appear and comply with the court's orders. Doc. 98.

         II. Analysis

         A court can “punish by fine or imprisonment, or both, at its discretion, such contempt of its authority . . . as . . . [d]isobedience or resistance to its lawful writ, process, order, rule, decree, or command.” 18 U.S.C. § 401; see also Shillitani v. United States, 384 U.S. 364, 370 (1966) (“There can be no question that courts have inherent power to enforce compliance with their lawful orders through civil contempt.”). Judgment creditors must demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that: (1) “a valid court order existed”; (2) “the defendant had knowledge of the order”; and (3) “the defendant disobeyed the order.” Reliance Ins. Co. v. Mast Constr. Co., 159 F.3d 1311, 1315 (10th Cir. 1998). If the judgment creditor can meet her burden, then the burden shifts to the judgment debtors to provide “evidence showing categorically and in detail why [they are] unable to comply.” United States v. Rylander, 460 U.S. 752, 755 (1983) (internal quotations omitted).

         Here, plaintiff adduces evidence sufficient to satisfy the three elements required for a finding of civil contempt. First, plaintiff directs the court to several clear, valid court orders: Judge James issued an Order granting plaintiff's Motion to Compel Responses to Post-Judgment Interrogatories and Requests for Production of Documents (Doc. 78), as well as a Citation for Failing to Appear for Judgment Debtor Examination and Order to Show Cause (Doc. 91).

         Second, defendants knew about these orders. D. Kan. Rule 5.4.9(a) provides that “notice of electronic filing automatically generated by the court's Electronic Filing System constitutes service of the filed document on all parties who have consented to electronic service.” See Doc. 87 at 5 (citing D. Kan. Rule 5.4.9(a)). A docket annotation on June 21, 2018, shows that defendant Mr. Jenkins registered as a pro se participant in this case, and he thus receives electronic notifications for this case. Also, plaintiff directs the court to defendants' receipt of Judge James's Order granting plaintiff's Motion to Compel through the court's electronic filing system. Doc. 87 at 5. Plaintiff also argues that defendants' filing of their “Answer” (Doc. 90) on September 17, 2018, “indicates they are receiving notifications of [c]ourt filings and docket entries.” Id. Finally, plaintiff asserts that the Order granting plaintiff's Motion to Compel was sent to defendants via Federal Express and emailed to defendants Mr. Jenkins and Mr. Woods (Doc. 87-3). Plaintiff represents that these documents were mailed to addresses the defendants provided and to business addresses on file with the Kansas Secretary of State. Doc. 87 at 6.

         Third, plaintiff argues that the defendants have disobeyed the court's Order because they have not responded to plaintiff's post-judgment discovery requests. See Docs. 87 at 6, 78 at 2.

         Plaintiff acknowledges that a “per diem fine” imposed against a contemnor who “fails to comply with an affirmative court order” is an alternative, appropriate sanction in civil contempt proceedings. Int'l Union, United Mine Workers of Am. v. Bagwell, 512 U.S. 821, 829 (1994). But plaintiff cites two cases from other federal district courts recognizing that “accumulating monetary fines are unlikely to provide sufficient incentive when the contemnor does not have assets at risk or is facing other large monetary claims.” Doc. 87 at 4 (citing United States v. Lonnen, No. 1:15MC44, 2016 WL 4194243, at *7 (M.D. N.C. Aug. 8, 2016) and FTC v. Think Achievement Corp., 14 F.Supp.2d 1029, 1035 (N.D. Ind. 2001)). The court agrees ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.