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Marriage of Braendle

Court of Appeal of California
46 Cal. App. 4th 1037 (1996)


Facts

Dina (plaintiff) and Ruediger Braendle (defendant) divorced on December 11, 1991. As part of the marital dissolution, Ruediger was awarded stock in American Overseas Airfreight (American) in the amount of $1,438,651. Ruediger owed $58,000 to American. The debt was not assigned to either Dina or Ruediger in the judgment of dissolution. Dina was awarded property and other bank accounts that had less value than the stock. The trial court ordered Ruediger to pay Dina $483,393 to equalize the division of property. Ruediger was ordered to turn over the stock as security for the money owed to Dina. The stocks were to be held until Ruediger paid Dina. Ruediger delivered the stock certificates to the clerk of the court. On May 29, 1994, American sued Ruediger for breach of contract. American obtained a judgment against Ruediger for $70,842.52. A writ of execution was issued, and a lien was placed on the stock certificates. The stock certificates were transferred to the local sheriff’s office for possible sale. American made a public representation that a sale of the stock certificates would take place. Dina filed an ex parte motion with the court that handled the marital dissolution, petitioning the court to give Dina the stock certificates. The trial court ordered the sheriff to return the stock certificates to Dina. American asked the court to assign the debt to Dina as a community debt. The trial court ruled that Dina’s security interest took priority over American’s judgment and lien in the stocks. The trial court ordered the stock certificates to be transferred to Dina, and American appealed the trial court’s order.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Baron, J.)

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