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In re Estate of Ferdinand E. Marcos Human Rights Litigation

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

August 30, 2019

In re ESTATE OF FERDINAND E. MARCOS HUMAN RIGHTS LITIGATION,
v.
Estate of Ferdinand E. Marcos, THIS DOCUMENT RELATES TO Hilao, et al. and DeVera, et al.
v.
Estate of Ferdinand E. Marcos.

          ORDER (1) GRANTING MOTION FOR EXTENSION OF JUDGMENT ON CONTEMPT, AND (2) EXTENDING JUDGMENT ON CONTEMPT

          DERRICK K. WATSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         On July 23, 2019, Plaintiff Class of Human Rights Victims (Plaintiff Class) filed a Motion for Extension of Judgment on Contempt (Motion) that has since been opposed by Defendant Estate of Ferdinand E. Marcos (Defendant) and its representatives, Imelda R. Marcos and Ferdinand R. Marcos. Because Plaintiff Class has moved for an extension of the Judgment on Contempt prior to the expiration of said judgment and shown good cause for doing so, and because Defendant fails to provide an adequate reason for not extending the same, the Motion is GRANTED, and the Judgment on Contempt is EXTENDED, pursuant to Haw. Rev. Stat. Section 657-5, until January 25, 2031-20 years after the original entry of said judgment.

         RELEVANT PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         The federal litigation against Defendant began in the 1980's. Understandably, therefore, the procedural history of said litigation is long. For purposes of the present Motion, however, much of that procedural history need not be recounted. Instead, the Court begins its brief summary with the Judgment on Contempt.

         The Judgment on Contempt was entered on January 25, 2011. Dkt. No. 10665. In relevant part, the Judgment on Contempt provided as follows:

3. The sanction [of $100, 000.00 per day] was for violation of this Court's preliminary and permanent injunction, the latter of which was entered as part of the Judgment Order of February 3, 1995. The sanction ceased running ten years later when enforcement of the Judgment Order expired on February 3, 2005 pursuant to H.R.S. Sec. 657-5.
4. A total of 3, 536 days elapsed during which the contemnors remained in contempt of the permanent injunction and did not purge their contempt or seek to reduce the sanction.
5. Judgment is entered in favor of the Plaintiff Class and against Imelda R. Marcos, Ferdinand R. Marcos and the Estate of Ferdinand E. Marcos, jointly and severally, in the amount of $353, 600, 000.00.
6. The judgment is entered personally against Imelda R. Marcos and Ferdinand R. Marcos. Since they served as executors of the Estate of Ferdinand E. Marcos and their contemptuous acts were on behalf of the Estate, the Estate is in privity with them and subject to the judgment herein.
7. The judgment is compensatory and in favor of the Plaintiff Class since the Class has been prevented from collecting on its original judgment (and judgments registered in other states) in an amount well in excess of the amount of this judgment.

         Defendant appealed the Judgment on Contempt, and, on October 24, 2012, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. Dkt. No. 10690. On appeal, Defendant argued that, “because the underlying damages judgment expired in 2005 and because the $100, 000 per day contempt sanction upon which the contempt judgment was based was coercive in nature, the contempt judgment is unenforceable.” Id. at 2. The Ninth Circuit, first, observed that Defendant's argument was “likely waived” because Defendant did not sufficiently raise it before the district court. Id. at 2-3. Independent of waiver, the Ninth Circuit also rejected the argument on the merits. Id. at 3-4. Specifically, the Ninth Circuit explained that, even if the contempt sanction was coercive, it was also “clearly” compensatory. Id. at 3. Moreover, the district court did not abuse its discretion in treating the entirety of the sanction as compensatory because no party had asked the court to allocate the daily sanction amount between compensatory and coercive components. Id. at 4.

         On July 23, 2019, the Plaintiff Class filed the instant Motion for Extension of Judgment on Contempt. Dkt. No. 10741. Defendant, Imelda R. Marcos, and Ferdinand R. Marcos have filed an opposition to the Motion, Dkt. No. 10743, and Plaintiff Class has filed a reply, Dkt. No. 10744. With briefing now complete, the Court makes the following ruling.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 69(a) provides that the procedure on execution of a judgment “must accord with the procedure of the state where the court is located….” In Hawai‘i, the applicable procedure of the state can be found in ...


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