United States of America v. Pearsall
ORDER Denying 8 Defendant's Request for Hearing on Garnishment. Signed by District Judge Victoria A. Roberts. (LVer)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Case No: 16-51533
Hon. Victoria A. Roberts
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT’S REQUEST FOR HEARING ABOUT THE
GARNISHMENT (ECF NO. 8)
I. Procedural Posture
Willye Pearsall (“Pearsall”) is a former Detroit Public School principal who was
sentenced for Conspiracy to Commit Federal Program Bribery under 18 U.S.C. § 371
and § 666(a)(1)(B) in September 2016.
The United States of America (“the U.S.”) filed a writ for continuing garnishment
as to Pearsall with the Garnishee Office of Retirement Services (“ORS”). Pearsall filed a
Request for a Hearing about the Garnishment and Claim for Exemptions, in which she
states that she “disputes the sum to be garnished as calculated.” This is not a valid
reason for a garnishment hearing under 28 U.S.C. § 3202(d). For this reason, Pearsall’s
request is DENIED.
II. Rule of Law and Application to Defendant
The federal government has the authority to enforce monetary judgments under
the Federal Debt Collection Procedures Act. 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 no default judgment is 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).
While 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.”)
Pearsall’s request is subject to 28 U.S.C. §3202(d). Her case did not involve a
default judgment. Therefore, the only permissible issues that she could raise at a
hearing are the probable validity of her claim for exemption or compliance with any
statutory requirement for the issuance of the postjudgment remedy granted.
Pearsall raises neither of these issues. While a Claim for Exemption Form was
included with her request, she did not check off any exemptions. She also does not
raise an issue concerning compliance with statutory requirements. Her request merely
states that she “dispute[s] the sum and calculations of the amount to be garnished,”
which is $50,000. This is not a permissible subject for a §3202(d) hearing. See U.S. v.
Because Pearsall’s request for a garnishment hearing is subject to the limitations
of §3202(d) and she fails to comply with the statutory boundaries, Pearsall’s request is
IT IS ORDERED.
S/Victoria A. Roberts
Victoria A. Roberts
United States District Judge
Dated: December 21, 2016
The undersigned certifies that a copy of this
document was served on the attorneys of
record by electronic means or U.S. Mail on
December 21, 2016.
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