May 23, 2013 – Noting that “the time has come for this litigation to end,” a state appeals court recently ended litigation that was ongoing for more than 20 years while examining the appealability of postjudgment orders aiding execution of judgments.
Twenty-two years after the first judgment was issued, a Wisconsin circuit court in 2012 issued a stipulated order that Kenneth and Susan Nelson satisfied their judgment debt to Orlando Residence Ltd., which had secured a $1.2 million judgment against them.
The Nelsons then moved for a final order to lift court-imposed restrictions against their assets, which were put in place previously to ensure satisfaction of the debt.
The Nelsons also sought appeal of other postjudgment orders, including orders related to calculations of interest and property redemption periods. They argued that previous orders were not final for purposes of appeal, and wanted a final order for that purpose.
However, in Orlando Residence Ltd. v. Nelson, 2012AP1528 (May 22, 2013), the appeals court ruled that no postjudgment orders were appealable.
First, the court ruled that temporary restrictions on assets were terminated when the court issued an order declaring satisfaction of the judgment.
“To the extent that any subsequent orders extended the restrictions postremittitur, those temporary restrictions ended with the April 2012 satisfaction of judgment,” Judge Paul Reilly wrote. “The circuit court properly declined to issue an order that was not needed.”
Second, the court ruled that other postjudgment orders were not appealable, despite noting that orders that do not involve the immediate transfer of title to property or contain statements of finality “are not final and may be open to review.”
No postjudgment order contained a statement of finality for purposes of appeal, and several did not transfer title to property. But the court found all orders unappealable for various reasons, including untimeliness under Wis. Stat. section 808.04.
“As Judge Posner observed in a decision issued by the Seventh Circuit more than four years ago, the time has come for this litigation to end,” wrote Judge Reilly, referring to federal litigation involving the same parties.