United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER GRANTING CHASE'S MOTION TO
COMPEL (Doc. 692) AND DENYING WINGET'S MOTION TO COMPEL
(Doc. 695) 
COHN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
another chapter in the longstanding commercial dispute
between Larry Winget (Winget) and JPMorgan Chase Bank, NA
(Chase) regarding the obligations of Winget and the Larry J.
Winget Living Trust (Winget Trust). As will be explained, the
dispute culminated in the entry of a $400 million dollar
judgment against Winget and the Winget Trust. Chase is
pursuing post-judgment collection efforts on the judgment
which have met with resistence from Winget.
the Court is Chase's motion to compel (Doc. 692) and
Winget's motion to compel. (Doc. 695). For the reasons
that follow, Chase's motion is GRANTED and Winget's
motion is DENIED. Chase shall submit a proposed order
detailing precisely the discovery requested of Winget.
2008, Chase sued Winget and the Winget Trust to enforce a
Guaranty and two (2) Pledge Agreements entered into by Winget
and signed by Winget and the Winget Trust in 2002,
guaranteeing the obligations of Venture Holdings Company,
LLC. After years of litigation including appeals, the Court
entered an Amended Final Judgment against Winget and the
Winget Trust in the amount of $425, 113, 115.59 and limiting
Chase's recourse as to Winget as to $50 million as
provided for in the Guaranty. After entry, Chase began
collection efforts under Michigan law,  including issuing
writs of garnishment and serving discovery on Winget and the
Winget Trust. During these post-judgment proceedings, Chase
learned that in January of 2014, Winget revoked the Winget
Trust, a fact Winget kept in pectore until Chase
began collection efforts on the judgment.
then filed an action for declaratory relief, seeking a
declaration that Chase has no further recourse against
Winget, including assets that were once part of the Winget
Trust. Winget v. Chase, 15-13469. Chase filed a counterclaim,
asserting several claims which essentially boil down to the
contention that Winget's revocation of the Winget Trust
was fraudulent. In other words, Chase's
counterclaim is the functional equivalent of
post-judgment proceedings in the 2008 case. The declaratory
action and the 2008 action have been consolidated with all
documents filed under the 2008 case. See Doc. 686.
scope of discovery under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
is traditionally quite broad. Lewis v. ACB Bus.
Servs., 135 F.3d 389, 402 (6th Cir.1998). Parties may
obtain discovery on any matter that is not privileged and is
relevant to any party's claim or defense if it is
reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible
evidence. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). “Relevant
evidence” is “evidence having any tendency to
make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the
determination of the action more probable or less probable
than it would be without the evidence.” Fed.R.Evid.
401. Rule 33 allows a party to serve requests for production
of documents on an opposing party. Fed.R.Civ.P. 33. A party
receiving these types of discovery requests has 30 days to
respond with answers or objections. If the receiving party
fails to respond, Rule 37 provides the party who sent the
discovery the means to file a motion to compel. Fed.R.Civ.P.
37(a)(3)(B)(iii) and (iv). If a court grants a Rule 37 motion
to compel, then the court must award reasonable expenses and
attorney's fees to the successful party, unless the
successful party did not confer in good faith before the
motion, the opposing party's position was substantially
justified, or other circumstances would make an award unjust.
Chase's Motion to Compel
in seeking to collect on a judgment against the Winget Trust,
is entitled to discovery in aid of execution on the judgment.
See n. 3., supra. As noted above, Winget has alleged
that effective January 1, 2014, the Winget Trust was revoked
and all of its holdings transferred, apparently for no
consideration, to Winget-conduct that would support recovery
of these assets as a fraudulent conveyance, among other
information Chase seeks is relevant to its collection
efforts. Chase requested that Winget produce documents
relating to the Winget's Trust's assets and
transfers. These documents are relevant to Chase's
post-judgment efforts to learn what was held through the
Trust and what has happened to those assets. Chase's
theory, advanced in the counterclaims to the declaratory
judgment action that has been consolidated with this case, is
that the revocation of the Trust was a fraudulent conveyance.
That is, rather than being transferred for a legitimate
business purpose, the Trust was stripped of its assets in
order to thwart enforcement of a judgment against the Trust.
Chase's counterclaims survived a motion to dismiss.
this Court has expressly recognized, Chase is entitled to
discovery regarding what was in the Trust during the relevant
period, what was transferred out of the Trust during the
relevant period, and to whom those transfers were made. See
Ex. A to Chase's motion, July 27, 2016 Hrg. Tr. at
9:15-23, 11:6-9 (Chase is “saying that you revoked it,
and they want to know the circumstances. They are entitled to
discovery. They are entitled to know what went on.”)
none of Winget's objections to producing the requested
documents have merit. Winget argues both that Chase cannot
seek discovery from Winget about the Winget Trust because
Winget is not a judgment debtor, and cannot seek discovery
from the Trust “[b]ecause the Trust never ...