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Beaulieu v. Aulis

United States District Court, D. New Hampshire

May 6, 2019

Christopher Beaulieu, a/k/a Crystal Beaulieu
v.
John P. Aulis, Aaron M. Belanger, Edward P. Kirrane, Dominic M. Salce, Michael Shepley, Paul Laflamme, Kevin Washburn, Jason Whitney, Scott Collier, and Rueben James Ruiter

          Christopher (Crystal) Beaulieu, pro se Laura E.B. Lombardi, Esq.

          Rueben James (Ruiter) Bushnell, pro se

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Andrea K. Johnstone, United States Magistrate Judge.

         The court held an evidentiary hearing on March 14, 2019 to assess whether Rueben James Ruiter (a/k/a Rueben Bushnell) (“Bushnell”) should be ordered to make periodic payments on the $10, 300.00 default judgment he owes to plaintiff Christopher (a/k/a Crystal) Beaulieu, pursuant to N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. (“RSA”) § 524:6-a and Fed.R.Civ.P. 69. See generally Jan. 28, 2019 Order (Doc. No. 134). Beaulieu and Bushnell both appeared pro se at the evidentiary hearing.

         Bushnell testified under oath and was examined by both Beaulieu and the court regarding his property and sources of income. The court had before it financial records relating to Bushnell's inmate account filed under seal at Level II by the New Hampshire Department of Corrections (“DOC”), see Doc. No. 143, which this court used in examining Bushnell.

         Standard

         N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. (“RSA”) § 524:6-a, I, provides this court with discretion to order a judgment debtor to make periodic payments from non-exempt property and income to satisfy the judgment and cost of the proceedings, “after allowing the debtor an appropriate amount for his or her support and that of the debtor's family.” N.H. Super. Ct. R. 51(g).

The court may prescribe the times, places, amount of payments and other details in making any of its orders. The court may at any time review, revise, modify, suspend or revoke any order made. Failure to obey any lawful order of the court, without just excuse, shall constitute a contempt of court.

N.H. Super. Ct. R. 51(h).

         If the court finds that “the debtor has no property other than property that is exempt from attachment or execution and that the debtor is unable to make weekly payments on the judgment, ” the request for periodic payments will be denied. N.H. Super. Ct. R. 51(f). The judgment creditor bears the burden of proof relevant to the identification of non-exempt property and the debtor's ability to pay. See Key Bank v. Latshaw, 137 N.H. 665, 674, 633 A.2d 952, 958 (1993); see also N.H. Cir. Ct.-Dist. Div. R. 4.10(d) (plaintiff bears burden “to establish that the defendant has the ability to pay the from non-exempt assets either in full or in installments”).

         Personal and Employment History

         Bushnell is thirty-two. He is divorced and has a minor son, but he does not presently have custody of his son and does not at this time provide financial support for his son or ex-wife.

         Bushnell is an inmate at the Northern New Hampshire Correctional Facility (“NCF”) who has been in and out of prison at times in the last ten years. Although the maximum term of Bushnell's current sentence is set to expire in February 2022, he becomes eligible for parole in August 2019, see DOC Online Inmate Locator, https://business.nh.gov/inmatelocator/. Bushnell said he anticipates he may be paroled at that time.

         Bushnell was named as a defendant in this case on a tort claim for assaulting Beaulieu while they were both incarcerated in January 2012. Bushnell did not file an appearance in this case before the court ruled that he was liable for a $10, 300.00 default judgment on that claim. See Apr. 14, 2017 Order (Doc. No. 100) (approving Mar. 2, 2017 R&R (Doc. No. 98)). In the March 14, 2019 hearing on Beaulieu's request for periodic payments on that judgment, Bushnell ...


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