(CN) – Los Angeles County was not negligent in its handling of a judgment against rapper Too $hort, a California appeals court ruled.
Bernard Ellerbee holds a 2001 judgment against the rapper, whose real name is Todd Anthony Shaw, who was ruled to be responsible for the death of Ellerbee’s son.
Ellerbee instructed the sheriff to serve Sony and MTV with notice of the judgment, since they were producing a record and a reality show with Shaw.
But MTV and Sony paid Shaw directly, not Ellerbee. Shaw did not forward the funds to Ellerbee and ultimately went bankrupt. He owes the federal government more than $1 million in taxes, according to the appellate opinion.
The trial court ruled that the county was negligent in its handling of the situation.
On appeal. Justice Jeffrey Johnson of the Los Angeles-based Second California District Court of Appeals ruled that the case never should have gone to trial.
“A creditor’s private instructions to act ‘promptly’ or to serve a writ ‘as soon as possible’ do not impose a mandatory obligation on the sheriff. The sheriff retains complete discretion to determine how and when it is feasible to allocate department resources to effect service, constrained only by the parameters that it be done prior to the writ’s expiration,” Johnson ruled.