757 P.2d 1024 (Alaska 1988), S-2295, Kollodge v. State

Docket Nº:S-2295.
Citation:757 P.2d 1024
Opinion Judge:MOORE, Justice.
Party Name:Kenneth R. KOLLODGE and Kathleen A. Kollodge, Appellants, v. STATE of Alaska, Richard D. Savell, and State Employee John Doe I and II, Appellees.
Attorney:Thomas R. Wickwire, Fairbanks, for appellants. Patrick T. Brown, Fairbanks, for appellees.
Judge Panel:Before MATTHEWS, C.J., and RABINOWITZ, BURKE, COMPTON and MOORE, JJ.
Case Date:June 03, 1988
Court:Supreme Court of Alaska
 
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Page 1024

757 P.2d 1024 (Alaska 1988)

Kenneth R. KOLLODGE and Kathleen A. Kollodge, Appellants,

v.

STATE of Alaska, Richard D. Savell, and State Employee John

Doe I and II, Appellees.

No. S-2295.

Supreme Court of Alaska

June 3, 1988

Thomas R. Wickwire, Fairbanks, for appellants.

Patrick T. Brown, Fairbanks, for appellees.

OPINION

Before MATTHEWS, C.J., and RABINOWITZ, BURKE, COMPTON and MOORE, JJ.

MOORE, Justice.

In this appeal, we review the superior court's dismissal of Kenneth and Kathleen Kollodge's abuse of process claim against Richard Savell. The superior court found that the Kollodges failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. We affirm.

I.

This suit is related to Kollodge v. State, which came before this court in December, 1987. That case arose out of the State's discharge of Kenneth Kollodge from his position as wage adjuster for the State Department of Labor. Kenneth Kollodge sued the State and the Alaska Public Employees Association (APEA) for wrongful termination and breach of the duty of fair representation. The superior court granted summary judgment in favor of both the State and the APEA on November 7, 1986. Soon after, both the State and the APEA moved for an award of attorneys' fees.

Page 1025

Prior to disposition of the attorneys' fees issue, Richard Savell, counsel for the State, refused Kollodge's request to stay execution of the judgment while Kollodge appealed. Thereafter, on November 24, 1986, Kollodge transferred his interest in the family home to his wife, Kathleen Kollodge, by quitclaim deed. On December 10, 1986, the superior court awarded the State $50,664.85 in costs and attorney's fees arising out of the initial proceeding. The State recorded this judgment on December 15, 1986. 1

Savell wrote a letter for the State, dated December 11, 1986, to the Kollodges' counsel. The letter warned counsel that the State considered Kollodge's transfer of interest in the family home, just days before the judgment for fees was entered, a fraudulent conveyance. Accordingly, if Kathleen Kollodge did not "reconvey the property to the marital community," the State would file suit against the Kollodges to set aside the transaction as a fraudulent conveyance. The Kollodges' counsel rejected the proposal, and the State filed suit on January 15, 1987 to set aside the conveyance.

The Kollodges' answer to the State's complaint included a third-party complaint against Richard Savell alleging abuse of process and malicious prosecution. Ultimately, Kollodge voluntarily dismissed the malicious prosecution claim because it was premature. 2 As for the abuse of process claim, the Kollodges allege that Savell knew that the State's judgment was "junior to the existing Mortgage/Deed of Trust note, the judgment of ... [APEA] ... and the [Kollodges'] homestead exemption...." Thus, "even if title were in Kenneth and Kathleen Kollodge's name there would be no equity to sell to pay the State's judgment, even if it were to sell at execution...." The Kollodges conclude, "[t]he decision to file this action was made either without reasonable inquiry ... as required by Civil Rule 11, or ... was made to harass Mr. Kollodge, coerce him to drop his appeal or threaten his marriage or for some other improper purpose...."

On March 23, 1987, Savell's counsel filed a Motion to Strike and/or Dismiss the Third-Party Complaint. Savell argued that the Kollodges' abuse of process claim must fail on two grounds: First, the claim did not comply with Civil Rule 14(a) because it was not directed towards a party who is or may be liable to the Kollodges for any part of the State's claim against them. Second, the Kollodges failed to state a claim for abuse of process upon which relief could be granted. See Alaska R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).

Counsel for the Kollodges did not appear at the May 7, 1987 hearing on the Motion to Dismiss. The superior court issued an order on May 11, 1987 striking the abuse of process claim for failure to comply with Civil Rule 14(a), and dismissing the abuse of process claim under...

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