United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Columbus Division
D. LAND CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
Harold Blach holds a judgment against Defendant Sal
Diaz-Verson that was registered in this Court on October 6,
2015. The remaining principal balance of Blach's judgment
is approximately $97, 000. Diaz-Verson has not satisfied the
judgment. Diaz-Verson's former employer, AFLAC Inc.,
makes bimonthly payments to Diaz-Verson, twenty-five percent
of which is subject to garnishment. Diaz-Verson's ex-wife
Patricia filed third party claims to the garnished funds,
arguing that she has a judgment against Diaz-Verson that is
superior to Blach's. She claims that Diaz-Verson is indebted
to her for “alimony arrearages” in the amount of
$388, 828.29 based on Diaz-Verson's alleged failure to
extinguish two judgment liens that were allegedly created
against a beach condominium that Patricia and Diaz-Verson
purchased together and was awarded to Patricia in the
divorce. P. Diaz-Verson Aff., ECF No. 417. The Court must now
decide who should receive the funds held in the Court's
registry that are subject to the pending motions for
disbursement of funds.
response to Blach's applications for writs of
garnishment, the Clerk issued writs of garnishment (ECF No.
380 on 8/29/2018, ECF No. 388 on 9/26/2018, ECF No. 396 on
10/24/2018). AFLAC answered those writs of garnishment and
deposited funds into the Court's registry (Answer, ECF
No. 393 on 10/11/2018, deposit of $16, 244.64 on 10/25/2018;
Answer, ECF No. 399 on 11/1/2018, deposit of $5, 309.82 on
11/29/2018; Answer, ECF No. 410 on 12/7/2018, deposit of $10,
619.64 on 12/27/2018). Diaz-Verson did not object to
AFLAC's Answers. The Court holds $32, 174.10 in its
registry that is subject to the motions for
and Diaz-Verson divorced in 2011. The final judgment and
divorce decree entered on December 2, 2011 awarded Patricia
alimony. Settlement Agreement ¶ 3, ECF No. 376-1 at 4-5.
In also awarded Patricia the couple's condominium in
Escambia County, Florida, “free and clear of any claim
by [Diaz-Verson]. [Diaz-Verson] hereby quit claims all of his
right, title and interest in and to said property to
[Patricia].” Id. ¶ 4(a), ECF No. 376-1 at
5. The divorce decree acknowledged that there was a tax
delinquency on the property, but it required that Diaz-Verson
pay Patricia an amount sufficient to satisfy the taxes and
that Patricia would pay the taxes. Id. ¶ 4(b).
Patricia does not argue that Diaz-Verson failed to pay her
that amount. Rather, she claims that there were judgment
liens against the property based on two consent judgments
that SunTrust Bank obtained against Diaz-Verson prior to the
divorce and that she had to satisfy a portion of the liens
when she sold the condominium in 2015.
provided the Court with a copy of two consent judgments that
SunTrust obtained against Diaz-Verson. The first, for $156,
132.37, was entered on August 2, 2006 in the Circuit Court of
Sarasota County, Florida. Patricia's 3d Party Claim Ex.
C, Agreed Final Summ. J. (Aug. 2, 2006), ECF No. 403-3. The
second, for $279, 323.32, was entered on October 31, 2006 in
the Superior Court of Muscogee County, Georgia.
Patricia's 3d Party Claim Ex. A, Consent Order & J.
(Oct. 31, 2006), ECF No. 403-1. SunTrust obtained an order
recognizing the Georgia judgment in the Circuit Court of
Sarasota County, Florida in early 2007. Patricia's 3d
Party Claim Ex. A, Order Granting Recognition of Foreign J.
(Feb. 8, 2007), ECF No. 403-2. But this evidence does not
establish that SunTrust obtained judgment liens against the
Escambia County condominium based on these
importantly, Patricia did not point to evidence that
Diaz-Verson's alleged failure to satisfy the SunTrust
judgments amounts to an alimony arrearage that relates back
to the date of the divorce decree. In her reply brief,
Patricia argued that she had to pay $388, 828.29 to clear
liens attributable to Diaz-Verson when she sold the
condominium. But she did not point to any evidence
on this point. Even if she had, she did not establish that
Diaz-Verson's alleged breach of contract with regard to
conveying the condominium to Patricia free and clear of any
claim by Diaz-Verson amounts to an “alimony
arrearage.” Therefore, Patricia failed to establish
that she has priority over Blach in any portion of the
present garnishment fund. Her motions for disbursement are
denied, and Blach's are granted.
reasons set forth above, the Court denies Patricia
Diaz-Verson's motions for disbursement (ECF Nos. 404,
418). The Court grants Blach's motions for disbursement
(ECF Nos. 402, 413). The Clerk is instructed to enter
judgment in favor of Plaintiff Harold Blach with regard to
the writs of garnishment issued on August 29, 2018 (ECF No.
380), September 26, 2018 (ECF No. 388), and October 24, 2018
(ECF No. 396). Fourteen days from the date of today's
Order, the Clerk shall disburse to Blach $32, 174.10, plus
any interest earned on that sum while it was held in the
Court's registry, unless any party files a notice of
appeal relating to today's rulings before that date.
motion for a hearing (ECF No. 414) is denied.