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Wells Fargo Equipment Finance, Inc. v. Asterbadi

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

November 4, 2016

WELLS FARGO EQUIPMENT FINANCE, INCORPORATED, Plaintiff - Appellee,
v.
NABIL J. ASTERBADI, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued: September 20, 2016

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, at Greenbelt. Paul W. Grimm, District Judge. (8:15-cv-01371-PWG)

         ARGUED:

          David B. Lamb, Washington, D.C., for Appellant.

          Steven Neal Leitess, LEITESS FRIEDBERG PC, Baltimore, Maryland, for Appellee.

         ON BRIEF:

          David A. Donohoe, Potomac, Maryland, for Appellant.

          Gordon S. Young, Pierce C. Murphy, LEITESS FRIEDBERG PC, Baltimore, Maryland, for Appellee.

          Before NIEMEYER and DIAZ, Circuit Judges, and Irene M. KEELEY, United States District Judge for the Northern District of West Virginia, sitting by designation.

         Affirmed by published opinion. Judge Niemeyer wrote the opinion, in which Judge Diaz and Judge Keeley joined.

          NIEMEYER, Circuit Judge:

         In this appeal, we address the enforceability of a judgment originally entered in the Eastern District of Virginia but registered for enforcement in the District of Maryland under 28 U.S.C. § 1963. Particularly, we consider the time period during which the judgment remains enforceable in Maryland.

         Collecting on a financing debt incurred by Dr. Nabil J. Asterbadi, CIT/Equipment Financing, Inc. ("CIT") obtained a $2.63 million judgment against Asterbadi in 1993, in the Eastern District of Virginia. Under Virginia law, that judgment remained viable for 20 years. Roughly 10 years after the judgment had been entered, on August 27, 2003, CIT registered the judgment in the District of Maryland pursuant to § 1963. Under Maryland law, made relevant by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 69(a), judgments expire 12 years after entry.

         CIT sold the judgment to Wells Fargo Equipment Finance, Inc., and Wells Fargo thereafter, in April 2015, began collection efforts in Maryland. Asterbadi filed a motion for a protective order, contending that the judgment was unenforceable because the efforts began more than 12 years after the judgment had originally been entered in Virginia. Wells Fargo responded that the registration of the Virginia judgment in Maryland before it had expired under Virginia law became, in effect, a new judgment that was subject to Maryland law for enforcement. Thus, it argued, Maryland's 12-year limitations period began on the date that the judgment was registered in Maryland, not on the date that the original judgment was entered in Virginia, and therefore the judgment was still enforceable.

         The district court agreed with Wells Fargo, concluding that the time limitation for enforcement of the judgment began with the date of its registration in Maryland, on August 27, 2003, and that therefore it was still enforceable against Asterbadi.

         For the reasons that ...


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