Holy Mango! Statute That Allows Creditor to Seize Property from Third Party Is a Taking.

Who else but inversecondemnation.com would discuss a case dealing with dried fruit, from Guam no less?  The case is Western Sales Trading Co. v Genpro Int’l, Inc. (Guam), No. CVA 19-023 (July 28, 2021).  The Court held that a Guam statute permitting a judgment creditor to take property from a third party was a taking.

Under the statute, a Guam judgment creditor is specifically authorized to file a motion for an order to show cause to compel any person who holds the assets of the judgment debtor to turn over those assets.

Here Western Sales obtained a default judgement against FPD Food International for breach of a contract for dried mangoes after FPD didn’t deliver the mangoes as promised.  To collect that judgment, Western Sales moved for a turnover of the dried mangoes which Genpro purchased from FPD.

No, no, no, no mangoes for you.  The Court held this was a taking in violation of the Fifth Amendment.  This was a physical taking.  The Court stated, “the turnover statute permits the government facilitation of taking property from one private entity, without their consent, and reallocating the property to another.”  As Robert Thomas notes, “the turnover statute was designed to aid creditors in collecting a valid debt.  But that doesn’t immunize it from the public use requirements, and this one is for the creditor’s benefit alone.”

Posted in Creditor Turnover, Fifth Amendment, Public Use
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