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Davis Acoustical Corp. v. Skulnik

Decided: November 14, 1974.

DAVIS ACOUSTICAL CORP., PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
LOUIS SKULNIK, DEFENDANT, AND MARTIN SKULNIK, THIRD-PARTY APPELLANT



Collester, Lora and Handler. The opinion of the court was delivered by Lora, J.A.D.

Lora

Third-party appellant Martin Skulnik appeals from an order dated July 30, 1973 which denied modification of an order for discovery granted ex parte on December 22, 1972.

On May 4, 1967 plaintiff Davis Acoustical Corp., obtained a judgment in the amount of $55,880.10 against defendant Louis Skulnik. On December 22, 1972 plaintiff secured an ex parte order for discovery compelling Martin Skulnik, son of defendant Louis Skulnik, to produce certain documents.

Martin Skulnik then moved to modify the order. On July 30, 1973 the motion was denied.

The record discloses that during supplementary proceedings the judgment-debtor testified that his son Martin accumulated $10,000 to $15,000 working while in college which he used to start United Steel Products Company in Hempstead, Long Island, New York. He further deposed that the East Paterson house in which he resided was owned by his son, who was given the house as a gift. In his petition for discovery the judgment creditor's attorney alleged these circumstances raised "a strong suggestion * * * that the transactions * * * may have been of a fraudulent nature."

The court thereupon entered an ex parte order compelling Martin Skulnik to attend a discovery proceeding and to produce "any and all correspondence, cancelled checks, checkbooks, passbooks for savings accounts or bank accounts, and any and all other documentation which he possesses to establish the purchase of the United Steel Products Co. with his own funds" and "documents reflecting his ownership of the premises, 2 Donner Avenue, East Paterson, New Jersey as well as statement of closing title, cancelled checks and any and all other evidence indicating the consideration paid by him therefor."

Third-party appellant moved to modify the order for discovery by striking said provisions of the order and permitting him to be examined only "with respect to his father's assets, but not with respect to the son's."

During oral argument on the motion plaintiff's attorney pointed out that the son had formed United Steel Products within one year after the judgment was entered against his father. The company moved to New Jersey in 1971, where its machinery alone has an estimated worth of $150,000; that it does business with the steel company of which the father is an officer and director. Plaintiff's attorney further asserted the debtor had testified falsely during depositions that he was not connected with any corporation in New Jersey or elsewhere, whereas the records of the Secretary of

State of New Jersey revealed he was the president and director of Shelf-It Steel Products, Inc. at that time.

Additionally, it was asserted that the debtor resides in a house at 2 Donner Avenue, East Paterson, title to which is in his son; that on depositions the debtor testified that he and his wife had purchased the house in 1955, transferred it to his brother-in-law in 1958, who gave it to his daughter in 1964 as a wedding present, and who, in turn, gave it to his son Martin Skulnik as a gift. Martin's affidavit stated the house was transferred to him in 1970 by his mother, who was the sole owner thereof, and all the other property in question belonged to him.

Third-party appellant argued, as here, that the court lacked jurisdiction over him; that discovery of a person's assets could not be granted simply because he resided in New Jersey; that the order should be modified to the extent requested in his notice of motion. He further argued that plaintiff was required to show a transfer of assets before discovery of those assets was proper; that the scope of the discovery was unduly oppressive and harassing and in ...


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