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George E. Pickett, V v. Russell Pritchard

March 18, 2011

GEORGE E. PICKETT, V, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
RUSSELL PRITCHARD, III, DEFENDANT,
AND PEAPACK GLADSTONE BANK, AS GARNISHEE AND TRUSTEE FOR THE TRUST UNDER WILL OF HAROLD FEHR AND THE TRUST UNDER WILL OF LILLIAN FEHR, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Mercer County, Docket No. DJ-8267-08.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted December 14, 2010

Before Judges Wefing, Payne and Koblitz.

Plaintiff appeals a trial court order granting the motion of Peapack Gladstone Bank, as garnishee, to dissolve a writ of execution served upon it. After reviewing the record in light of the contentions advanced on appeal, we affirm.

Plaintiff obtained a judgment against defendant Russell Pritchard, III, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for an amount in excess of $430,000. This appeal is a consequence of plaintiff's inability to date to collect upon this judgment.

Defendant Pritchard is a beneficiary of certain trusts created under the Will of Harold F. Fehr, deceased, and Lillian Fehr, deceased, referred to in the record as the "Fehr trusts." These trusts were originally administered in Pennsylvania, with Bryn Mawr Trust Company and John A. Coyle as trustees. Each trust contained the following clause, generally referred to as a spendthrift clause: "Until distributed, no gift or beneficial interest shall be subject to anticipation or to voluntary or involuntary alienation."

On February 11, 2008, plaintiff sought a writ of execution in Pennsylvania, seeking to attach Pritchard's income interest in these trusts to satisfy the judgment he held against him. The Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County issued the writ of execution on February 15, 2008. On March 6, 2008, defendant filed a Claim for Exemption with the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, contending that his interest under these trusts could not be attached in light of these spendthrift clauses. On March 13, 2008, Bryn Mawr Trust Company, as trustee, also filed objections to the writ of execution, contending that defendant's creditors could not reach his income interest in these trusts until the money was, in fact, distributed to him. It asked the court to dissolve the writ of execution. Plaintiff opposed the trustee's motion, contending that his judgment, which was entered under the federal Mandatory Victims Restitution Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3663A, was not subject to these spendthrift clauses. The Pennsylvania court disagreed, and on October 10, 2008, it issued an order dissolving the previous attachment. Its order was not accompanied by a detailed statement of reasons. Plaintiff did not file a timely appeal from that order.

On January 14, 2008, prior to plaintiff seeking a writ of execution in Pennsylvania, he docketed his judgment in New Jersey. When his efforts to execute on his judgment in Pennsylvania were unsuccessful, plaintiff obtained a writ of execution in New Jersey on December 19, 2008. Part of plaintiff's rationale for doing so was the fact that Bryn Mawr Trust Company and John A. Coyle had, with the approval of a Pennsylvania court, resigned as trustees in favor of Peapack Gladstone Bank, a New Jersey bank, as successor trustee. Plaintiff's initial efforts in January 2009 to execute in New Jersey on defendant's interest in these trusts were unsuccessful because the trust assets had not yet been transferred to New Jersey.

By May 2009, plaintiff learned that the trust assets had been transferred to Peapack Gladstone Bank, and he asked the Somerset County Sheriff's Office to attempt again to levy on these funds. The bank objected, arguing that the earlier order of the Pennsylvania court rejecting plaintiff's attempt to levy on the trust assets was res judicata and entitled to full faith and credit in New Jersey's courts. U.S. Const., art. IV, § 1 (stating, "Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State.") Plaintiff responded that the absence of any statement of reasons or analysis by the Pennsylvania court removed its judgment from the scope of that clause. The trial court ultimately granted the bank's motion and dissolved the December 2008 writ of execution. This appeal followed.

On appeal, plaintiff raises the following arguments for our consideration:

POINT I LACK OF STANDING OF BRYN MAWR TRUST AND FACTUALLY UNTRUE STATEMENTS AND ERRORS OF LAW IN THEIR PRELIMINARY OBJECTIONS

POINT II DEFENDANT PRITCHARD FAILED TO ANSWER OR OTHERWISE RESPOND. EQUITY AND UNCLEAN HANDS OF DEFENDANT PRITCHARD

POINT III UNDATED DOCUMENT FILED BY PGB AND FACTUALLY UNTRUE STATEMENTS OF PGB IN THEIR PRELIMINARY STATEMENT FILED WITH THEIR BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO DISSOLVE WRIT OF EXECUTION AND LEVY AND FACTUALLY UNTRUE STATEMENTS OF PGB IN ...


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