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U.S. Bank National Association v. Viola

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio

August 24, 2017

U.S. BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, Plaintiff,
v.
ANTHONY L. VIOLA, ET AL., Defendants.

          OPINION & ORDER [Resolving Doc. 68]

          JAMES S. GWIN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE:

         In this foreclosure action, [1] Defendant Anthony Viola moves the Court to compel discovery by Plaintiff U.S. Bank and Defendant United States.[2] Viola seeks numerous documents and admissions from his opposing parties. Both Plaintiff U.S. Bank and Defendant United States filed oppose Viola's motion to compel discovery.[3] For the reasons stated below, the Court DENIES Defendant Viola's motion.

         I. Background

         In 2011, a federal jury convicted Viola of two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 and thirty-three counts of wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343. The Court sentenced the Defendant to 150 months in prison and ordered him to pay $2, 649, 865 in restitution. The Sixth Circuit affirmed his conviction and sentence. In 2012, a state-court jury acquitted Viola of charges similar to those in his federal trial.

         On February 24, 2016, Plaintiff U.S. Bank filed a complaint for foreclosure in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas alleging a breach of a promissory note and mortgage Gwin, J. given by Viola.[4] The complaint named the United States as a defendant because the United States had filed a tax lien that attached to the property at issue. The United States subsequently removed that complaint to federal court.[5]

         In March and June of 2017, Viola sought a number of admissions and documents from Defendant United States and Plaintiff U.S. Bank.[6] Both the United States and U.S. Bank refused to substantively respond to the majority of Viola's requests.[7] The United States provided the only substantive response, and gave Viola an itemized accounting of the criminal case restitution that he had paid, as well as a non-itemized accounting of the total amount of restitution paid in that same case.[8]

         On July 13, 2017, Defendant Viola filed a motion to compel U.S. Bank and the United States to comply with his March 2017 and June 2017 discovery requests.[9] On July 24 and 25, 2017, respectively, U.S. Bank[10] and the United States[11] filed motions opposing Viola's motion to compel. They argue that Viola's requests were irrelevant, procedurally improper, and an attempt to gain information in order to collaterally attack his federal criminal conviction.

         II. Discussion

         Parties may obtain discovery as to any unprivileged matter relevant to any party's claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the case.[12]

         A. Viola's March Request for Production of Documents

         In March of 2017, Viola requested documents from the government.[13] Viola sought, among other documents: records of restitution payments made by various criminal defendants in Viola's criminal case, payments allegedly made by the federal government to an individual not involved in this case, records of restitution received by banks that are not party to this foreclosure, and records of restitution payments allegedly made by individuals indicted in a state criminal proceeding.[14]

         In response, the United States provided Viola with an accounting of the total amount of restitution paid on the restitution order from Viola's criminal conviction, and with documents describing the amount of restitution Viola himself paid on that order.[15]

         The discovery that the United States provided in response to Viola's request is sufficient. Defendant Viola is entitled to know the amount he has paid, and the total amount paid, on his restitution order thus far. These pieces of information are potentially relevant to Viola's defense against the United States' interest in this foreclosure action. The United States has provided this information to Viola.

         Defendant Viola is not, however, entitled to discovery on restitution payments made in other, unrelated, cases. Viola is also not entitled to discovery on matters and theories intended to collaterally attack the validity of his criminal conviction and restitution order. Neither of these subjects are ...


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