Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Rojas: Criminal case does not include obligor/indemnitor contract dispute

In U.S. v. Rojas, No. 04-10877 (Nov. 10, 2005), the Court held that a district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, as part of a criminal proceeding, to adjudicate a dispute between an obligor who pledged collateral with a surety company for a bond for a criminal defendant out on bail, and the surety company, regarding the amount of money owed by the surety to the pledgor after the defendant failed to appear and the collateral was forfeited. The Court pointed out that the dispute did not involve the forfeiture of a bond "or any of that," but merely a contractual dispute over the indemnification contract. This dispute should have been resolved in a separate civil proceeding. The Court therefore vacated the order of the district court which directed payment by the surety to the obligor.