John M. Kirby
Edgerton v. Oliver | Judgment Enforceable by Contempt
In Edgerton v. Oliver, an unpublished opinion from August 20, 2013, the Court of Appeals apparently allowed a plaintiff to obtain a judgment (arising from breach of contract) that required the defendant to pay the judgment.
(The defendant hired the plaintiff to build a retaining wall, and failed to pay the plaintiff.) The judgment stated, "defendant is ordered to pay two thousand eight hundred and seventy five dollars ($2,875.00). "Defendant contends that the difference is that as entered, enforcement of the order can be rendered through contempt proceedings while enforcement of a judgment could be accomplished only through remedies afforded a judgment creditor." The court rejected this argument, stating only, "Defendant does not and cannot cite any authority for the proposition that the District Court was required to enter a 'judgment' rather than an 'order.'" This opinion is peculiar in that a plaintiff is generally limited to collecting a debt through standard collection procedures, and not through contempt proceedings. It is conceivable that the Court rejected the Defendant's argument simply because he failed to cite any authority for the proposition, but the Court did not find that the Defendant violated the Rules of Appellate Procedure in this regard.
John Kirby has tried cases to judgment, and has represented plaintiffs and defendants in collection matters.