United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S REQUEST FOR HEARING
ABOUT THE GARNISHMENT (ECF NO. 11, 12)
Victoria A. Roberts United States District Judge
Flowers (“Flowers”) was sentenced for Conspiracy
to Commit Federal Program Bribery under 18 U.S.C. § 371
and § 666(a)(1)(B) and Federal Income Tax Evasion under
26 U.S.C. § 7201 in September 2016.
United States of America (“the U.S.”) filed two
writs for continuing garnishment as to Flowers with the
Michigan Department of Treasury and the Office of Retirement
Services (“ORS”). Flowers filed a Request for a
Hearing about the Garnishment and Claim for Exemptions and a
Request for Hearing about the Answer Filed by the Garnishee.
Flowers' requests are not timely, and she raises no valid
objections to either the garnishment or the answer filed by
the Garnishee. For the reasons stated, Flowers's requests
Rule of Law and Application to Defendant
Hearings About Garnishments: 28 U.S.C. § 3202
makes her request for a hearing under two different sections
of the Federal Debt Collection Procedures Act, under which
the federal government has the authority to enforce monetary
judgments. 28 U.S.C. § 3202(a). The statute provides
that after receiving a notice of garnishment, a judgment
debtor has 20 days to request a hearing, and by doing so may
move to quash the order granting the garnishment as
restitution. Where there is no default judgment at issue,
“the issues at such hearing shall be limited-- (1) to
the probable validity of any claim of exemption by the
judgment debtor; [and] (2) to compliance with any statutory
requirement for the issuance of the postjudgment remedy
granted.” 28 U.S.C. § 3202(d). No default judgment
is at issue in this case.
the statutory language requires that the court “shall
hold a hearing…as soon as practicable, ” courts
have denied requests for hearings “where the debtor did
not object based on one of the issues specified in 28 U.S.C.
§ 3202(d), where the objection is plainly without merit,
or where the objection was simply a matter of statutory
interpretation.” U.S. v. Miller, 588 F.Supp.
789, 797 (W.D. Mich. 2008) (denying a hearing where debtor
failed to identify any valid objections to the writ of
garnishment). If a defendant/debtor does not raise either of
the statutorily permissible issues in her request for a
garnishment hearing, the request should be denied. See
also U.S. v. Mahar, 42 F.3d 1389 (6th Cir. 1994)
(debtor's claim of financial hardship was not a
permissible subject for a § 3202(d) hearing); U.S.
v. Lawrence, 538 F.Supp.3d 1188, 1194 (D.S.D. 2008)
(“If Congress wanted to allow for the equities present
in each case to be delved into at a § 3202(d) hearing,
then it most assuredly would have said so and expanded the
scope of the statute accordingly.”)
has included an exemption form with her request, but did not
claim any exemptions. Flowers also does not raise
§3202(d)'s other permissible issue of statutory
compliance. Her request for a hearing states that “she
has not been given an opportunity to pay, but is being served
with a garnishment which normally applies to someone who will
not pay, not someone who is willing to pay.” This
objection does not fall under either of §3202(d)'s
Hearings About Answers Filed By Garnishees: 28 U.S.C. §
also requests a hearing under 28 U.S.C. § 3205, the
“Garnishment” provision of the Federal Debt
Collection Procedures Act. §3205(c)(5) provides that a
judgment debtor may object to an Answer filed by a Garnishee
by filing a written request for a hearing.
a §3205 hearing is not subject to the same
limitations as a §3202(d) hearing. §3205(c)(5)
merely requires that “[t]he party objecting shall state
the grounds for the objection and bear the burden of proving
such grounds.” “That statute [unlike
§3202(d)] does not limit the purposes for such a
hearing.” Miller at 797 (see also U.S. v.
Crowther, 472 F.Supp.2d 729 (E.D. Texas 2007).
defendant/debtor requesting a hearing in response to a
garnishee's answer under §3205 may raise any issue
in her objection, the Court still has discretion to decide
whether or not the objections are worthy of a hearing.
Id. §3205(c)(5), like §3202(d), requires
that the court “shall hold a hearing, ” but a
court may deny a request where the objection lacks reason or
merit. U.S. v. Menifield, 2016 WL 6395472, at *1
(E.D. Mich. 2016) (denying request for §3205 hearing
where defendant merely challenged the amount of the
garnishment). If a debtor raises a valid objection to a
garnishee's answer, this Court may grant her request for
§3205, Flowers is required to state the grounds for the
objection and bear the burden of proving those grounds.
Flowers “disagree[s] with the Disposable Earnings
amount of $4264.72 stated in the Office of Retirement
Services' Answer” because “it is 286.77 more
than what she is receiving ...