Posted 11/9/2015

Johnson v. Cowthorn, 2015 WL 6441434 (W.D.La. October 21, 2015) recognized that the plaintiff’s §1983 suit against two licensed bail bond agents for an alleged assault would fail unless the defendants were acting under color of state law, but thought that the combination of state licensing, enforcement of an arrest warrant, and acting with the assistance of law enforcement could meet the state action requirement.  The court found “though the Complaint lacks detail sufficient to determine whether Johnson’s challenged arrest occurred in conjunction with law enforcement, it alleges enough information to withstand dismissal for frivolity.”  The court nevertheless dismissed the suit as barred by the statute of limitations.

Commonwealth v. Edge, Case No. 1907 MDA 2014 (Pa.Sup. October 22, 2015) affirmed the trial court’s decision to forfeit the entire $10,000 bond.  The trial court properly considered the factors set forth in Commonwealth v. Hahn, 81 A.3d 57 (Pa. 2013) and did not abuse its discretion.  The Court stated, “Here, the resources expended by the Commonwealth resulted in the defendant’s capture, not the efforts expended by Fabie.  Moreover, like the trial court, we discern no factors that militate in Fabie’s favor.”

In Aguilar v. United States, 2015 WL 6452574 (Fed.Cl. October 26, 2015) a relative of an alien was surety for the alien on a $15,000 cash delivery bond.  The Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) mailed a notice of hearing to the wrong address and the alien failed to appear.  The Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) then demanded that the surety deliver the alien to a federal office building in Chicago.  The surety and alien went to the building and showed the demand to the security guard who took them to the EOIR office in the basement rather than the ICE office on the 4th Floor.  They never got to the ICE office, and the surety failed to follow up to try to deliver the alien.  ICE eventually forfeited the cash bond.  After the alien was granted permanent legal resident status, the surety sued in U.S. District Court to recover the $15,000.  The case was transferred to the Court of Federal Claims because the amount in controversy exceeded $10,000, and the parties cross moved for summary judgment on the administrative record.  The court granted judgment to the Government finding that ICE applied the proper factors in reaching its decision and that ICE’s determination of “a substantial violation was neither arbitrary, nor capricious, nor contrary to law.”

Financial Casualty & Surety, Inc. v. Parker, Case No. 4:14-cv-360 (S.D.Tex. November 2, 2015) granted the surety summary judgment against an agent based on the agent’s contractual obligation to indemnify the surety.  The defendant argued that the surety’s claim was barred by the statute of limitations, but the court found that under Texas law the indemnification cause of action accrued upon entry of judgment against the surety rather than upon forfeiture of the bond or the principal’s failure to appear.  The bonds were for cases in New Jersey, and under New Jersey procedure the earliest the judgment would have been entered was 75 days after the forfeiture order.  The court did not need to reach the surety’s arguments as to the effect of remission proceedings or other causes of delay because even using the earliest date the surety’s suit was timely.  The court found that the surety’s calculations gave the defendant the credits to which she was entitled and correctly calculated the amount owed.  The court entered judgment for that amount plus prejudgment interest and attorneys fees.