During Monday morning’s session in the courtroom of 34th District Court Judge David Parrott, the judge raised his voice several times in addressing defendant Rebecca Kesler, startling other court officials who are used to Judge Parrott’s soft-spoken ways.
The cameraman from Channel 7 television news, who had been waiting for Kesler’s court appearance, said the judge “sure woke me up.” Channel 7 had been drawn to the case because Kesler had won $50,000 in a television game show.
After the court session, David Williams, the attorney for plaintiff Kevin Hirsch, described Judge Parrott as “righteously angry”.
Hirsch sued Kesler for breach of contract and in May, Judge Parrott made a judgment of $13,000 against Kesler. But Hirsh has been unable to collect.
He asked Judge Parrott to appoint a Receiver, who would have the power to go into Kesler’s house and elsewhere to seize items to satisfy the judgment. The court session Monday was concerning the request for a Receiver.
But, Judge Parrott said since the judgment was just ordered in May, it is too soon to use such harsh means to collect.
Judge Parrott told Williams that other means are available to try to collect. He said they can obtain discovery to find her assets and she’s obligated to respond.
He said he would deny without prejudice, so the motion for a Receiver could be later re-filed if they are unsuccessful in finding assets to attach to satisfy the judgment.
Attorney Williams spoke at the beginning of the session stating Judge Parrott has jurisdiction of the judgment and its enforcement, although Kesler had argued otherwise in a Response Brief in Opposition to Plaintiff’s Motion to Appoint Receiver.
Williams said every judgment would be stayed if a defendant could appeal which would stop enforcement.
He said there are no less drastic measures that can be tried and that is why he and his client are asking for a Receiver to be appointed. He said they can’t garnish her wages because she’s not working.
Williams said a court officer has been out six times to Kesler’s home, but they wouldn’t answer the door.
Williams said Kesler has moved all her assets and she says the entire contents of her residence belongs to her husband Timothy Szetela or the Trust of Timothy Szetela.
“Which is pretty amazing,” Williams said of the idea that Kesler owns absolutely nothing.
In her Response Brief Kesler said the trust was set up four years ago, before the law suit against her was filed.
But, Williams told the judge, in 2011 there was a vehicle registered in Kesler’s name.
Williams said there was $50,000 in her name when she won [in the Who Wants to be a Millionaire game show in 2010]. He asked, “Where did it go?”
Judge Parrott named a number of places the money could have gone, including paying taxes, bills, and the like
Williams charged that Kesler and her husband are hiding her assets.
Kesler said under court rules once an appeal has been filed, the jurisdiction switches to the new court. She cited Michigan Court Rule 7.107.
Judge Parrott asked if she read the rule underneath it and she asked if he meant 7.109 and he responded, no, he meant 7.108.
He said an appeal does not “stay execution”.
Judge Parrott said under Rule 7.108 there are certain things that have to be done and said she hadn’t done this things.
“Your argument is frivolous, again,” the judge said, voice rising.
He said he thinks her misinterpretation is intentional. “I can’t believe you are that monumentally incompetent,” he stormed.
He said this could be a criminal contempt of court.
He said this is at least the third time she has filed frivolous briefs and, arguably, it could have been four or five times.
“I’ve had it with you,” Judge Parrott continued. “You went to law school. You have a law degree… I can’t change the judgment… Had they [the plaintiffs] filed a response to this, I would have granted them sanctions…”
Kesler tried to talk and Judge Parrott told her to take a seat.
He said her motion made a couple of good points until she got to the third point. That’s the one that made him “righteously angry.”
At that point he denied the plaintiff the “harsh method” of appointing a Receiver and told them to try other means.
He warned Kesler not to give him anything frivolous again.
As Kesler was leaving the courtroom, she softly said, “Nobody came to my house.”