MICHAEL JOHNSON, JR.
MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL OF BALTIMORE, ET AL.
Wright, Reed, Sharer, J. Frederick (Senior Judge, Specially
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.
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.
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
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 a 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[?]
following reasons, we answer in the negative and,
accordingly, affirm the judgment of the circuit court.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND A. Prior Proceedings
following is a summary of the background as pertinent to this
case. The detailed factual background of the trial and
verdict is set out in this Court's reported opinion in
February 23, 2010, Mr. Johnson's parents, on behalf of
Mr. Johnson,  filed an action
in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City arising from his
detention by the officers on May 4, 2009. Seeking both
compensatory and punitive damages, they claimed assault,
battery, false imprisonment, and violations of Articles 24
and 26 of the Maryland Declaration of rights. Specifically,
[t]he complaint alleged that the officers were "acting .
. . within the scope of their employment as Baltimore City
Police Officers" when the foregoing [detention]
occurred, and they "maliciously, intentionally,
carelessly, recklessly, with gross negligence, wantonly,
willfully, wrongfully, unreasonably, with reckless disregard
for human life; and without justification assaulted,
battered, and detained" Mr. Johnson. Mr. Johnson sought
compensatory damages in the amount of ten million dollars
($10, 000, 000) and punitive damages in the amount of fifteen
million dollars ($15, 000, 000).
Francis, 219 Md.App. at 539.
trial was held on January 17-25, 2013. On January 25, 2013,
the jury rendered its verdict in favor of Mr. Johnson and
awarded him a total of $500, 000 in compensatory and punitive
damages. The vast majority of those damages was against
Detectives Francis and Hellen.
officers subsequently filed a motion for JNOV, a new trial,
and remittitur on February 4, 2013, alleging, inter
alia, that there was no competent evidence to support
the jury's verdict that the injuries were committed
through malice on the part of the officers, and that the
verdict was excessive and exceeded the damages cap from the
Local Government Tort Claims Act ("LGTCA"), found
in Maryland Code (1974, 2013 Repl. Vol.) § 5-301 et
seq. of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article
("CJP"). The trial court filed a memorandum opinion
and order on May 21, 2013, granting the motion in part and
denying it in part. The court found that there was sufficient
evidence to support the jury's finding of malice and
that, while the awards against Detectives Smith and Francis
were above the LGTCA's statutory cap, the officers were
not entitled to a reduction because of the malice finding.
The court, however, also found that the awards for
compensatory damages were "grossly excessive" and
ordered a new trial as to damages only, unless Mr. Johnson
agreed to a remittitur of $165, 000 on the compensatory
damages award. Mr. Johnson agreed, and the remittitur was
entered May 28, 2013, revising compensatory damages to $300,
000, in addition to the $34, 000 in total punitive damages.
officers timely appealed to this Court. Pertinent here, they
alleged that the trial court erred both in failing to further
reduce the damages award and in allowing the jury to consider
the issue of malice. Ultimately, on October 6, 2014, this
Court issued the opinion in Francis, supra,
reversing the damages in part, but otherwise affirming the
judgments of the circuit court. For reasons not relevant
here, the damages were further revised down to a total of
$281, 000 against the officers, and the case was remanded for
further proceedings. Subsequently, the officers filed a
petition for writ of certiorari, and Mr. Johnson filed a
conditional cross petition for writ of certiorari, both of
which were denied by the Court of Appeals on April 20, 2015.
any further proceedings regarding this Court's remand for
revised damages, Mr. Johnson filed the two requests for writs
underlying this appeal. On June 22, 2015, he filed a Request
for Writ of Execution and Levy Upon Personal Property and a
Request for Garnishment of Property in the circuit court,
seeking the revised $281, 000, plus interest of 10% per annum
from January 25, 2013. Both request for writs were captioned
in the ...