United States District Court, D. Nevada
FDIC as Receiver for AMTRUST BANK, f/k/a Ohio Savings Bank, a federal savings bank, et al., Plaintiffs,
REX H. LEWIS, et al., Defendants.
before the court is a motion for contempt filed by plaintiffs
Iota Cinnamon, LLC, Iota Coral, LLC, Iota Red, LLC, Iota
Royal, LLC, and Iota Violet, LLC (collectively, as
“judgment creditors”). (ECF No. 249). Defendant
Rex Lewis (“judgment debtor” or
“Lewis”) filed a response (ECF No. 252), to which
judgment creditors replied (ECF No. 254).
before the court is judgment creditors' motion to modify
injunction. (ECF No. 250). Judgment debtor filed a response
(ECF No. 253), to which judgment creditors replied (ECF No.
facts of the instant case are familiar to the court and the
parties. This dispute arose out of five commercial loan
agreements guaranteed by judgment debtor. Each loan was
secured by one or more deeds of trust on the relevant
properties. After Nevada's real estate market crashed in
2008, the borrowers defaulted on the loans and the banks
foreclosed on the properties. Substantial debts remained
after the foreclosure sales. (ECF No. 174).
creditors filed a deficiency judgment action against judgment
debtor as guarantor of the loans. (ECF No. 1). Judgment
creditors moved for summary judgment, and judgment debtor did
not oppose the motion. The court granted summary judgment and
entered judgment against judgment debtor and his various
companies, jointly and severally, for $66, 089, 661.52. (ECF
Nos. 41, 59).
3, 2014, the court entered an order enjoining judgment debtor
from transferring assets he currently owns which are worth
$5, 000.00 or more. (ECF No. 65).
August 27, 2015, Lewis filed a notice of appeal. (ECF No.
182). On May 30, 2017, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the
court's order enjoining judgment debtor from transferring
assets he currently owns which are worth $5, 000.00 or more
(ECF No. 65). (ECF Nos. 256, 258).
instant motions, judgment creditors renew their previous
motions for contempt and to modify the
injunction. (ECF Nos. 249, 250).
well established that “courts have inherent power to
enforce compliance with their lawful orders through civil
contempt.” Shillitani v. United States, 384
U.S. 364, 370 (1966). Additionally, “[a] court has wide
latitude in determining whether there has been contemptuous
defiance of its order.” Gifford v. Heckler,
741 F.2d 263, 265 (9th Cir. 1984) (citing Neebars, Inc.
v. Long Bar Grinding, Inc., 438 F.2d 47, 48 (9th Cir.
contempt . . . consists of a party's disobedience to a
specific and definite court order by failure to take all
reasonable steps within the party's power to
comply.” In re Dual-Deck Video Cassette Recorder
Antitrust Litig., 10 F.3d 693, 695 (9th Cir. 1993).
However, “a person should not be held in contempt if
his action[s] appear to be based on a good faith and
reasonable interpretation of the court's order.”
Id. (quoting Vertex Distrib., Inc. v. Falcon
Foam Plastics, Inc., 689 F.2d 885, 889 (9th Cir. 1982)).
Further, “[s]ubstantial compliance with the court order
is a defense to civil contempt, and is not vitiated by a few
technical violations where every reasonable effort has been
made to comply.” In re Dual-Deck, 10 F.3d at
695. . . .
district court has “wide discretion” when
deciding whether to modify an injunction based on changes in
factual or legal circumstances. System Federation No. 91
v. Wright, 364 U.S. 642, 647 (1961); see also
A&M Records, Inc. v. Napster, Inc., 284 F.3d 1091,
1098 (9th Cir. 2002). When deciding whether to modify an
injunction, the court must strike a balance “between
the policies of res judicata ...