100 A.3d 510 (N.H. 2014), 2012-754, In re Estate of Bergquist

Docket Nº:2012-754
Citation:100 A.3d 510, 166 N.H. 531
Opinion Judge:Lynn, J.
Party Name:In re Estate of Jack Michael Bergquist
Attorney:Waystack Frizzell, Trial Lawyers, of Colebrook ( Erin S. Meenan and Jonathan S. Frizzell on the brief, and Ms. Meenan orally), for the petitioner. Parnell & McKay, PLLC, of Londonderry ( Rory J. Parnell on the brief and orally), for the respondent.
Judge Panel:LYNN, J. DALIANIS, C.J., and CONBOY and BASSETT, JJ., concurred. Dalianis, C.J., and Conboy and Bassett, JJ., concurred.
Case Date:August 08, 2014
Court:Supreme Court of New Hampshire
 
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Page 510

100 A.3d 510 (N.H. 2014)

166 N.H. 531

In re Estate of Jack Michael Bergquist

No. 2012-754

Supreme Court of New Hampshire

August 8, 2014

Argued February 12, 2014.

1st Circuit Court -- Lancaster Probate Division.

Waystack Frizzell, Trial Lawyers, of Colebrook ( Erin S. Meenan and Jonathan S. Frizzell on the brief, and Ms. Meenan orally), for the petitioner.

Parnell & McKay, PLLC, of Londonderry ( Rory J. Parnell on the brief and orally), for the respondent.

LYNN, J. DALIANIS, C.J., and CONBOY and BASSETT, JJ., concurred.

OPINION

Page 511

Lynn, J.

The petitioner, Eddie Nash & Sons, Inc., appeals an order of the Circuit Court -- Lancaster Probate Division ( Hampe, J.) ruling that the respondent, the Estate of Jack Michael Bergquist (the estate), owes the petitioner $544.21 and excluding the petitioner's claim for post-judgment interest. We reverse and remand.

The parties either do not dispute, or the record establishes, the following facts. In November 2001, the petitioner brought a small claim complaint against the decedent in Colebrook District Court for $5,000.00 owed pursuant to an agreement to purchase logging equipment. In February 2002, the court entered a default judgment for the petitioner for $5,136.99, [166 N.H. 533] including costs and interest. After the decedent failed to make any payment on the judgment, the petitioner filed a motion for periodic payments in the district court pursuant to RSA 524:6-a (2007) (amended 2009). In 2003, the court entered a periodic payment order requiring monthly payments of $50 to begin in May 2003 until the " judgment and all costs are paid in full." The order listed the total due as $5,394.26, but did not indicate why that total had increased more than $250 in the thirteen months following entry of the original judgment. Neither the 2002 judgment nor the 2003 order made explicit reference to the petitioner's entitlement to continuing post-judgment interest.

The decedent made payments under the order each month until May 2011; the petitioner was made aware of his death in June 2011. The petitioner filed a creditor's claim against the estate that included $3,697.57 for " Balance of Court Judgment," and requested the total claim " Plus Interest." The estate objected to the claim, which the petitioner later amended to consist only of the $3,697.57 for the remaining balance on the court judgment, " plus statutory post[-]judgment interest on that amount." At a hearing on the objection, Susan Nash represented the petitioner and stated her belief, based on her own extensive experience in small claims court, that judgments in small claims actions always included continuing post-judgment interest. The estate agreed that the petitioner was owed $544.21 as the remaining balance due on the $5,394.26 specified in the periodic payment order, but argued that post-judgment interest had not been awarded, and should be excluded from the claim, because the periodic payment order was silent on the subject. The probate division agreed, and entered judgment for the petitioner for $544.21.

On appeal, the petitioner argues that the probate division erred when it excluded its claim for statutory post-judgment interest. The estate counters that...

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