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Vfs Financing, Inc. v. Specialty Financing Corp.

United States District Court, D. Nevada

July 23, 2014

VFS FINANCING, INC., a Delaware Corporation, Plaintiff,
v.
SPECIALTY FINANCING CORP., a Nevada Corporation, and NELLO GONFIANTINI, Defendants.

ORDER

ROBERT C. JONES, District Judge.

Several post-judgment motions are currently pending before the Court: (1) Defendant Nello Gonfiantini's motion to reconsider the Court's orders requiring him to turn over: (a) an amount equal to all deposits made into his daughter's 529 education account after September 16, 2011, and (b) a tax refund received in 2012, (Mot. Recons., ECF No. 390); (2) Plaintiff VFS Financing's motion to enforce the 529 Order, (Mot. to Enforce, ECF No. 399); and (3) various unopposed motions to file the pending motions under seal, (ECF Nos. 389, 391, 393, 398, 404).

For the reasons stated herein, the motion to reconsider is denied, and the motion to enforce the 529 Order is granted. The Court likewise grants the motions to seal, finding that the subject filings contain information that has been identified as confidential in the Stipulated Protective Order entered on February 19, 2013, (ECF No. 269), and that the parties have therefore established good cause to seal.

I. Background

On September 16, 2011, Plaintiff VFS Financing Inc. ("VFS") obtained a judgment against Defendants Specialty Financial Corp. ("Specialty Financial") and Nello Gonfiantini ("Nello"), jointly and severally, in the amount of $5.5 million (the "Judgment"). (ECF No. 113). Nello has repeatedly attempted to frustrate VFS's collection efforts. ( See, e.g., Order ΒΆ 30, ECF No. 385, at 7). These tactics have forced VFS to move for, among other things, a post-judgment injunction freezing Nello's assets, a turnover of the funds wrongfully transferred or deposited into his daughter's 529 education account (the "529 Account"), and a turnover of Nello's tax refund. During a hearing held on July 22, 2013, the Court orally granted these and other motions. ( See Tr. of Proceedings, ECF No. 373). The Court also entered a minute order memorializing its oral rulings. (ECF No. 347).

On October 15, 2013, the Court entered various written orders, including: (1) an order requiring Nello to turn over an amount equal to all deposits or transfers made into the 529 Account after September 16, 2011 (the "529 Order"), (ECF 384); (2) an order requiring Nello to turn over his fall 2012 tax refund (the "Tax Refund Order") (collectively, the "Turnover Orders"), (ECF No. 386); and (3) a post-judgment injunction freezing Nello's non-exempt assets, (ECF No. 385). The Turnover Orders required Nello to pay the required amounts within thirty (30) days.

On October 29, 2013, counsel for Nello advised VFS that Nello would "pay the amounts required by the 529 Order on or before November 15, 2013, " and that the "payment [would] be derived from [Nello's] exempt earnings." (Gunderson Email, Oct. 29, 2013, ECF No. 390-4, at 2). However, counsel also stated that Nello "[did] not have the ability to also pay the amounts required by the [Tax Refund Order] on or before November 15, 2013." ( Id. ).

In response, counsel for VFS inquired as to the source of the funds that Nello intended to use to satisfy the Tax Refund Order. (Harris Email, Oct. 30, 2013, ECF No. 390-5). Counsel for Nello responded, stating that Nello "anticipates that the payment of the amount owed pursuant to the [Tax Refund Order]... will be derived from [Nello's] exempt earnings." (Gunderson Email, Oct. 31, 2013, ECF No. 390-5). Shortly thereafter, VFS refused Nello's proposed stipulation for an extension of time to satisfy the Tax Refund Order. (Harris Email, Nov. 30, 2013, ECF No. 390-7).

On November 1, 2013, counsel for Nello sent VFS a letter with an enclosed $22, 000 check, explaining that the check was to "serve as [Nello's] satisfaction, in full, of his obligation to pay VFS... an amount equal to the sums transferred or deposited into the [529 Account] after September 16, 2011." (Gunderson Letter, Nov. 1, 2013, ECF No. 399-1). In response, VFS argued that the $22, 000 did not comply with the terms of the 529 Order. (Harris Email, Nov. 6, 2013, ECF No. 399-2).Then, in an effort to verify the exact amount owed under the 529 Order, VFS requested that Nello produce copies of all post-judgment statements for the 529 Account. ( Id. ). After further correspondence, Nello eventually produced the requested statements, ( see Gunderson Email, Nov. 7, 2013, ECF No. 399-3), which show that the amount deposited during the relevant period totals $42, 000, (Harris Email, Nov. 8, 2013, ECF No. 399-4). Nello does not dispute the $42, 000 total. Instead, he contends that because he personally deposited only $22, 000, his obligation under the 529 Order is limited to that amount. ( See Opp'n to Mot. Enforce, ECF No. 405, at 3-8). The additional $20, 000 was deposited by the child's mother, Stacey Gonfiantini. ( Id. (citing Stacey Gonfiantini Gift Letters, ECF No. 405-10)).

Nello now moves the Court to reconsider the deadline imposed in the Tax Refund Order. (Mot. Recons., ECF No. 390). Specifically, he seeks a sixty-day extension to pay the required sum. ( Id. ). VFS not only opposes Nello's motion to reconsider the Tax Refund Order, it also seeks an order requiring Nello to turn over $42, 000 under the 529 Order. (Mot. to Enforce, ECF No. 399). The Court now considers the pending motions.

II. Motion to Reconsider (ECF No. 390)

Nello asserts that he was financially unable to simultaneously satisfy both of the Turnover Orders within the thirty-day deadline. (Mot. Recons., ECF No. 390, at 4-5). Thus, he continues, they will "operat[e] in an unjust manner" absent the requested extension. ( Id. at 5). The Court finds this argument unpersuasive.

A. Legal Standard

A court should be loathe to revisit its own decisions unless extraordinary circumstances show that its prior decision was clearly erroneous or would work a manifest injustice. Christianson v. Colt Indus. Operating Corp., 486 U.S. 800, 816 (1988). This principle is embodied in the law of the case doctrine, under which "a court is generally precluded from reconsidering an issue that has already been decided by the same court, or a higher court in the identical case." United States v. Alexander, 106 F.3d 874, 876 (9th Cir. 1997) (quoting Thomas v. ...


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