United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON PLAINTIFF'S APPLICATION FOR PREJUDGMENT
Glazer Margolis U.S. Magistrate Judge.
February 14, 2017, plaintiff Jane Doe filed her complaint
(Dkt. #1) against defendant Richard Bruno and garnishees
Domco LLC, Domco II LLC, and Kem Bruno (also known as Kem
Curtin). Plaintiff has initiated this action pursuant to 18
U.S.C. § 2255, which provides a civil cause of action to
any person who, while a minor, was a victim of certain
predicate criminal offenses related to the exploitation of
minors and child pornography, and suffered personal injury as
a result. (Id.). Defendant has been indicted
pursuant to several of the predicate offenses in 18 U.S.C.
§ 2255; plaintiff alleges she was a victim of these
offenses and seeks damages for her resulting personal injury.
(Id.; see also U.S. v. Bruno, 16 CR 235 (JAM)).
date she filed the complaint, plaintiff also filed an
Application for Prejudgment Remedy (Dkt. #2), Motion for
Disclosure of Property and Assets (Dkt. #3), Motion for
Ex-Parte Temporary Restraining Order (Dkt. #4), and Motion
for Permission to Proceed Under Fictitious Name (Dkt. #5).
Two days later, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey A. Meyer granted
plaintiff's Motion to Proceed Under Fictitious Name (Dkt.
#14), issued a temporary restraining order with respect to
defendant Bruno (Dkt. #15), and referred the Application for
Prejudgment Remedy (Dkt. #2) and Motion for Disclosure of
Property and Assets (Dkt. #3) to this Magistrate Judge. (Dkt.
pending Application for Prejudgment Remedy
[“PJR”] seeks an attachment of $500, 000 on
defendant's real and personal property (Dkt. #2), and
the Motion for Disclosure of Property and Assets seeks
defendant's disclosure of any interest in assets
sufficient to satisfy the value of the PJR. (Dkt. #3). An
evidentiary hearing was held on plaintiff's PJR
application on April 3, 2017, at which plaintiff testified
briefly and defendant called no witnesses. (Dkt. #33).
reasons set forth below, plaintiff's Application for
Prejudgment Remedy (Dkt. #2) is granted in the amount of
$250, 000. Plaintiff's Motion for Disclosure of
Property and Assets (Dkt. #3) is granted, sufficient
to satisfy the value of this PJR.
complaint and affidavit in support of the PJR application,
plaintiff alleges as follows: When she was
seventeen-years-old, defendant Richard Bruno
“repeatedly raped and sexually abused her on camera
over a period of several months, creating a set of brutal and
graphic images.” (Dkt. #1, ¶ 2). Defendant was
plaintiff's family's landlord, and plaintiff and
defendant began communicating on social media. (Dkt. #2,
Affidavit in Support of PJR, ¶ 6). According to
plaintiff, defendant offered her money and marijuana in
exchange for having sex with him and taking photos.
(Id.). Plaintiff alleges that she usually met
defendant weekly at his office on his Mountain Avenue
property in New London. (Id. ¶ 7). Behind
defendant's office, there was a “secret room”
with a bed, women's clothing, sexual devices, a mirror,
and a video camera. (Id.). Plaintiff alleges that
she was the victim of sexual assault and unwanted sexual
activities, and that defendant produced videos of her
performing sexual acts on him. (Id. ¶¶ 5,
8). At the PJR hearing, plaintiff estimated that defendant
made more than ten of these videos. Additionally, at
defendant's request, plaintiff sent him nude photos of
herself. (Id. ¶ 8).
December 21, 2016, defendant was indicted in this district
under 18 U.S.C. §§ 2422(b) and 2251(a). (U.S.
v. Bruno, 16 CR 235(JAM), Dkt. #1). In Count Two of the
Indictment, for Production of Child Pornography under 18
U.S.C. § 2251(a), it is alleged that from November 2015
until May 2016, defendant “did knowingly employ, use,
persuade, induce, entice, and coerce a minor to engage in
sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing visual
depictions of such conduct. . . .” (Id. ¶
2). The Department of Justice identified defendant as having
created and possessed illicit images of plaintiff, and
identified plaintiff as a victim of defendant's criminal
conduct. (Id. ¶¶ 7-8). Plaintiff testified
at the PJR hearing that she is the minor referred to in Count
Two of that indictment.
alleges she has “suffered and continues to suffer
significant injury, including mental and emotional anguish
and fear for her personal safety, because of the acts of the
[d]efendant in creating, possessing and viewing the images
that document her humiliation and abuse.” (Dkt. #1,
¶ 9). Plaintiff has started counseling, but
“feel[s] like [defendant] ruined [her] life and [her]
ability to have a relationship. [She] feel[s] very guilty
about what [she] did with him.” (Dkt. #2, Affidavit in
Support of PJR, ¶ 9). She further swore that as a result
of defendant's behavior, she has “suffered extreme
emotional distress, interference with personal relationships,
feelings of shame, feelings of vulnerability and mistrust,
and depression and will continue to suffer the same in the
future.” (Id. ¶ 10). Plaintiff testified
that she began mental health counseling about one month
before the PJR hearing and has had two or three sessions so
far; she does not have another session scheduled.
LEGAL STANDARDS FOR PREJUDGMENT REMEDY
prejudgment remedy “is generally intended to secure the
satisfaction of a judgment should plaintiff prevail.”
Cendant Corp. v. Shelton, No. 3:06 CV 854 (JCH),
2007 WL 1245310, at *2 (D. Conn. Apr. 30, 2007)(citation
omitted). Rule 64 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
authorizes the Court to enter a prejudgment remedy as may be
permitted “under the law of the state where the court
is located” in order “to secure satisfaction of
the potential judgment.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 64(a). See
Granny Goose Foods, Inc. v. Brotherhood of Teamsters &
Auto Truck Drivers Local No. 70 of Alameda County, 415
U.S. 423, 436 n.10 (1974).
to the Connecticut PJR statute, the standard for issuing a
prejudgment remedy is probable cause, so that a prejudgment
remedy is appropriate
[i]f the court, upon consideration of the facts before it and
taking into account any defenses, counterclaims or set-offs,
claims of exemption and claims of adequate insurance, finds
that the [movant] has shown probable cause that such a
judgment will be rendered in the matter in the ...