United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT AGAINST WALES & WOEHLER, INC., P.S., AND JASON
RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Russell
Brandt's Motion for Summary Judgement against Defendants
Wales & Woehler, Inc., P.S., and Jason Woehler
(collectively “Woehler” or “W&W”)
as to liability. Dkt. #23. Defendants oppose this Motion.
Dkt. #26. For the reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS
Mr. Brandt's Motion.
2005, Columbia Credit Services (“CCS”), Defendant
Sacor Financial, Inc. (“Sacor”)'s
predecessor, obtained a judgment against Mr. Brandt in King
County Superior Court, Case Number 05-2-150410-1 (hereinafter
the “Collection Action.”). See Dkts.
#25-1 and #25-2. In October of 2006, Mr. Brandt contacted a
CCS collection agent, Justin Lane, and negotiated a final
settlement. Dkt. #24 at ¶¶ 4-7; Dkt. #24-1; Dkt.
#25-7 at 22. Mr. Lane faxed the settlement agreement to Mr.
Brandt, and he paid the settlement amount as instructed by
Mr. Lane. Id. However, no satisfaction of judgment
was filed in the Collection Action.
this payment, CCS and its successors-in-interest continued to
send Mr. Brandt collection letters. See, e.g., Dkt.
#24 at ¶¶ 9, 11, and 13; Dkts. #24-1 at 7-15. Mr.
Brandt repeatedly followed up with the collectors to show
them proof he had paid. Dkt. #24 at ¶¶ 10, 12, and
14; Dkt. #25-7 at 29-30.
purchased Mr. Brandt's account from CCS in 2012, and
Defendants Wales & Woehler and specifically Jason Woehler
began working for Sacor. See Dkt #25-2 at 14.
Sacor's account notes show that an assignment of judgment
to Sacor was needed to begin garnishment on the judgment, but
that getting the assignment would delay garnishment
“45-60 days.” Dkt. #25-7 at 28-29. Instead of
waiting for that process to occur, Woehler filed an
Assignment of Judgment to Sacor Financial (hereinafter the
“Assignment of Judgment”) after just eleven days.
Dkt #25-2 at 14.
Assignment of Judgment was not signed by a Sacor employee. It
was signed by Frank G. Huguenin, who was Woehler's Rule 9
Intern. Jason Woehler notarized the Assignment of Judgment,
I, Jason Woehler, Notary Public in and for the State of
Washington, do hereby certify that on this day, Frank
Huguenin of SACOR Financial, Inc. personally appeared before
me, to me known to be the individual described in and who
executed the within instrument and acknowledged that he/she
signed the same as a free voluntary act and deed, with full
corporate authority, for the uses and purposes herein
Huguenin did not work for Sacor when Jason Woehler notarized
the Assignment of Judgment. Jason Woehler knew that Huguenin
did not work for Sacor when he notarized the Assignment of
Judgment. These facts have been admitted by Defendants
through their failure to respond to Plaintiff's Requests
for Admission on these topics. See Dkt. #25-9 at
November 9, 2012, Woehler filed an Application for Writ of
Garnishment against Bank of America in the Collection Action.
Dkt. #25-3 at 1-5. That Application for Writ of Garnishment
credited Mr. Brandt only $564.80 for amounts previously
garnished. Id. Mr. Brandt contacted Woehler just
days later and provided the firm proof that he had already
paid the debt; Attorney Woehler “responded that he did
not believe [Mr. Brandt] and called [him] a liar.” Dkt.
#24 at 3; see also Dkt #25-7 at 29-30. Sacor's own
records show Mr. Brandt provided: 1) a copy of the settlement
agreement signed by Mr. Lane and on CCS letterhead; 2) a copy
of Mr. Brandt's notes from his call with Lane; 3) a
receipt for the cashier's check he purchased to settle
the debt showing that a cashier's check was purchased by
Brandt and made payable to CCS 5280 in the amount of $5,
425.20; and 4) a cancelled copy of the cashier's check in
the amount of $5, 425.20, showing “[p]ay to the order
of: CCS 5280, ” showing the bank endorsement from the
deposit, and showing the account number and bank branch the
check was deposited in. See Dkt. #25-8 at 4-8.
“5280” is the account number CCS assigned
Brandt's account. See Dkt #25-7 at 17.
Sacor's records reflect that the records were transmitted
to Sacor by “Frank” on November 21, 2012 and
Woehler on November 30, 2012. Id. at 29.
did not quash the garnishment. Even after Mr. Brandt provided
Woehler these documents, $190.17 was garnished from
Brandt's BOA Account. Dkt. #25-3 at 7-10. Woehler filed
another Application for Writ of Garnishment on November 13,
2013. Id. at 11-15.
then filed a Motion and Order Directing Personal Appearance
of Russell Brandt for Examination. Mr. Huguenin, by then a
licensed Washington lawyer working for Woehler, appeared for
Sacor at the hearing. Brandt appeared pro se. Dkt.
#25-6 at 3-16 (Verbatim Report of Debtor Examination
Proceedings held June 30, 2015).
Brandt told the court he paid the debt in 2006. Id.
at 7:11-19. Brandt provided the court with the same documents
he had previously provided. Id. at 7:11-25, 8:1-4.
Brandt testified under oath that he had paid the debt and
spoken with Jason Woehler a couple of times on the matter.
Id. at 7:11-19, 8:10-11. Mr. Huguenin stated at the
hearing “[t]his is the first I've actually heard
about it, ” that he had not looked at the documents
submitted by Mr. Brandt, and that he had “not been
informed by our client that this judgment has been
paid.” Id. at 8:5- 6, 8:14-16. The court
commented that looking at Brandt's information, it
appeared that Sacor had been ...