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MVRA Does Not Permit Victims to Intervene in Another Suit in Order to Collect Restitution

The Mandatory Victims Restitution Act (MVRA) does not allow a victim to intervene into another suit in order to pursue the collection of restitution, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decided February 9, 2010.

Thomas Bourke sought intervention as of right into a California suit in order to enforce a restitution order that had been entered in his favor. After intervention was denied, Bourke appealed. The Ninth Circuit affirmed.

Under the MVRA, the only enforcement mechanism available to victims is to obtain an “abstract of judgment” and proceed against the debtor, the court wrote.

In Bourke’s case, doing so would have been futile, though, because the restitution obligation had been satisfied through the assignment of another judgment to the United States.

Only the United States, the court concluded, could intervene in order to collect on Bourke’s behalf.

See: Schultz v. US, 594 F. 3d 1120, (9th Cir. 2010).

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Related legal case

Schultz v. US