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Bryant v. Meade & Associates, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

February 2, 2017

TERRY BRYANT, Plaintiff,
v.
MEADE & ASSOCIATES, INC., LAW OFFICES OF DONALD R. CONRAD, PLC, DONALD R. CONRAD, and LEGALCOLLECTIONS.COM LLC, Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT LEGALCOLLECTIONS.COM'S AMENDED MOTION TO STAY PROCEEDINGS (DOC. 132) [1]

          HON. AVERN COHN, Judge

         I. Introduction

         This is a case under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and corresponding state debt collection statutes. Plaintiff Terry Bryant sued defendants Meade & Associates (Meade), the Law Offices of Donald R. Conrad, Donald R. Conrad, and LegalCollections.com, LLC. Bryant settled with Meade. (Doc. 5). The case then proceeded against the Law Offices of Donald R. Conrad, Donald R. Conrad, and LegalCollections.com (collectively, where appropriate, the Conrad defendants).

         Eventually, the Court entered a default judgment against the Conrad defendants for failure to comply with discovery and Court orders relating to discovery. (Doc. 28). The Court later granted plaintiff's motion for damages in the amount of $101, 000.00 against the Conrad defendants, jointly and severally. (Doc. 30). Plaintiff then began collection efforts which to date have been unsuccessful.

         Before the Court is Legalcollection.com LLC's motion to stay all proceedings pending appeal (Doc. 132). For the reasons that follow, the motion is DENIED.

         II. Background

         Plaintiff filed her complaint against defendants on January 19, 2015. (Doc. 1) Plaintiff alleged that she had been the victim of identity theft: two transactions involving counterfeit checks allegedly resulted in unlawful collection attempts by defendants.

         The Conrad defendants, through Donald R. Conrad, filed an Answer on March 27, 2015. (Doc. 4). After that, the Conrad defendants failed to participate in the case.

         Accordingly, on May 11, 2016, the Court entered an Order for default judgment against the Conrad defendants. (Doc. 28). The Conrad defendants took no immediate action. On June 8, 2016, plaintiff filed a motion for damages. (Doc. 29). The Conrad defendants did not respond. On July 12, 2016, the Court granted plaintiff's motion for damages. (Doc. 30). The Conrad defendants took no immediate action.

         Then, months after the entry of the default judgment, the Conrad defendants filed motions to set aside the judgment. (Docs. 36, 48, 63). The Court denied the motions. (Doc. 94). Defendants moved for reconsideration. (Doc. 101). The Court denied the motion. (Doc. 114).

         LegalCollections.com then filed a notice of appeal, seeking to appeal the order denying the motion to set aside and order denying reconsideration. (Doc. 129). The Law Offices of Donald Conrad and Donald Conrad filed a similar notice of appeal (Doc. 133).

         III. Discussion

         The filing of an appeal does not operate to stay enforcement. Rather, a party seeking to stay enforcement of a valid judgment must file a bond securing the amount of the underlying judgment. This stay bond - known as a supersedeas - is required under the language of Rule 62, [2] and the posting of the bond may only be waived under unusual, limited circumstances. As noted in Hamlin v. Charter Township of Flint, 181 F.R.D. 348, 351 (E.D. Mich. 1998):

For the appellee, Rule 62(d) effectively deprives him of his right to enforce a valid judgment immediately. Consequently, the appellant is required to post the bond to provide both insurance and compensation to the appellee. The supersedeas bond protects the non-appealing party ‘from a risk of later uncollectible judgment' and also ‘provides compensation for those injuries which can be said to be the natural and proximate cause of the stay .... Therefore, Rule ...

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