Chapman v. Chapman, No. 23702.

CourtSupreme Court of South Dakota
Writing for the CourtGilbertson
Citation713 N.W.2d 572,2006 SD 36
PartiesDavid D. CHAPMAN, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. Michele CHAPMAN, Defendant and Appellee.
Docket NumberNo. 23702.
Decision Date12 April 2006
713 N.W.2d 572
2006 SD 36
David D. CHAPMAN, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
Michele CHAPMAN, Defendant and Appellee.
No. 23702.
Supreme Court of South Dakota.
Considered on Briefs January 9, 2006.
Decided April 12, 2006.

Page 573

COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

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Murl L. Woods, Attorney at Law, Rapid City, South Dakota, Attorney for plaintiff and appellant.

Michele R. Acre-Chapman, Rapid City, South Dakota, Pro se appellee.

Page 575

GILBERTSON, Chief Justice.


[¶ 1.] Appellant, David Chapman, (David), filed a motion for the genetic testing of a daughter born to the Appellee, Michele Chapman, (Michele), during the course of the parties' marriage. However, his motion was entered more than sixty days, and in fact, more than three years after the birth of the child. The trial court denied the motion. We affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURE

[¶ 2.] David and Michele were married on January 20, 1999. During the course of the marriage, Michele became pregnant. Michele moved from the marital home in 2000 when she was approximately six months pregnant. She gave birth to a daughter, S.M.A., on June 2, 2000. Michele did not list David as the father of S.M.A. on the birth certificate, electing to leave the name of the child's father blank. Instead, she listed the child's last name as that of her former spouse whom she divorced before her marriage to David.

[¶ 3.] The parties dispute when David received notice of the birth of S.M.A. David maintains he was not notified until several months after the birth and that he has never had contact with the child. Michele contends she attempted to discuss the child with David several times up until approximately October 2000, but David refused all attempts at visitation and contact with S.M.A.

[¶ 4.] Michele instituted child support enforcement proceedings against David in the fall of 2001. On October 30, 2001, David received a notice of support debt from the Office of Child Support Enforcement, (CSE), informing him he had a legal obligation to provide support for the child, and requesting financial information in order to set a support amount. The last paragraph of CSE's letter stated:

If you object to any part of this notice, you have ten (10) days from the date you received the notice to submit a written request for hearing before a Court Appointed Referee to the address listed below. If you wish to contest Paternity, you are required to commence an action in Circuit Court. Commencement of a Paternity Action does not postpone the establishment or enforcement of your Child Support Obligation.

See SDCL 25-7A-8.

David completed and signed the financial statement as required. David did not object to the child support proceedings and did not contest paternity after receipt of the notice of support obligation. On December 12, 2001, a child support order and judgment were entered in circuit court without further proceedings. The order and judgment required David to pay $225 per month in child support and fifty dollars per month toward $4,050 in back child support and statutory interest awarded from the date of S.M.A.'s birth on June 1, 2000, through November 30, 2001.

[¶ 5.] On March 3, 2004, David filed a summons and complaint seeking a divorce from Michele on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. On April 5, 2004, David filed a motion contesting paternity of S.M.A., and seeking to compel Michele and S.M.A. to undergo paternity testing along with David. Michele resisted the motion, arguing that the child was born of the marriage and that David did not challenge paternity at the time the final support order was entered on December 12, 2001.

[¶ 6.] The circuit court denied David's motion for paternity testing by order dated October 13, 2004. The circuit court found that David did not initiate legal action on the issue of paternity when he failed to request a hearing in the support action. In its conclusions of law, the circuit court held that the judgment and order

Page 576

for support was a final judgment that barred relitigation of the issue of paternity.

[¶ 7.] David requested an intermediate appeal on the issue before this Court, arguing that the issue was not barred by res judicata and that it was in the best interests of the child to definitively establish paternity via genetic testing. We denied the request by order on November 24, 2004, expressing no opinion on the merits of the appeal.

[¶ 8.] On April 20, 2005, the circuit court entered a judgment and decree of divorce, granting Michele sole legal and physical custody of S.M.A. The child support order was incorporated into the divorce decree by stipulation, requiring the monthly child support payment of $225, and the fifty dollar monthly payment for back child support and statutory interest. Both parties stipulated that the only contested issue remaining was David's motion for paternity testing, but agreed that the circuit court could enter a decree of divorce without trial on the matter.

[¶ 9.] David timely appeals the trial court's denial of his motion for paternity testing upon the final entry of the judgment and decree of divorce, and raises two issues for this Court's review.

1. Whether David is barred from raising the issue of paternity when paternity was established by statutory presumption and David failed to contest the presumption within the sixty-day statute of limitations as provided by SDCL 25-8-59.

2. Whether SDCL 25-8-59 is unconstitutional when it barrs a presumed father from contesting paternity after the sixty-day statute of limitations has expired.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

[¶ 10.] "Statutory interpretation and application are questions of law[,]" and are reviewed by this Court under the de novo standard of review. State v. Anderson, 2005 SD 22, ¶ 19, 693 N.W.2d 675, 681 (quoting Block v. Drake, 2004 SD 72, ¶ 8, 681 N.W.2d 460, 463 (citing Steinberg v. State Dept. of Military Affairs, 2000 SD 36, ¶ 6, 607 N.W.2d 596, 599)). Under the de novo standard of review we give no deference to the circuit court's conclusions of law. Id. (citing Sherburn v. Patterson Farms, Inc., 1999 SD 47, ¶ 4, 593 N.W.2d 414, 416 (citing City of Colton v. Schwebach, 1997 SD 4, ¶ 8, 557 N.W.2d 769, 771)).

[¶ 11.] "Statutory construction is employed to discover the true intent of the legislature in enacting laws, which is ascertained primarily from the language employed in the statute." Id. ¶ 20 (citing State v. Myrl & Roy's Paving, Inc., 2004 SD 98, ¶ 6, 686 N.W.2d 651, 653) (citing Martinmaas v. Engelmann, 2000 SD 85, ¶ 49, 612 N.W.2d 600, 611)). "We give words their plain meaning and effect, and read statutes as a whole, as well as enactments relating to the same subject." Id. (citing State v. I-90 Truck Haven Service, Inc., 2003 SD 51, ¶ 3, 662 N.W.2d 288, 290) (citing Martinmaas, 2000 SD 85, ¶ 49, 612 N.W.2d at 611).

ANALYSIS AND DECISION

[¶ 12.] 1. Whether David is barred from raising the issue of paternity when paternity was established by statutory presumption and David failed to contest the presumption within the sixty-day statute of limitations as provided by SDCL 25-8-59.

[¶ 13.] Res judicata serves as a bar to the relitigation of claims pursued

Page 577

and litigated in prior proceedings. Black Hills Jewelry Mfg. Co. v. Felco Jewel Indus., Inc., 336 N.W.2d 153, 157 (S.D.1983) (citing Matter of Estate of Nelson, 330 N.W.2d 151 (S.D.1983)); Schmidt v. Zellmer, 298 N.W.2d 178 (S.D.1980); Gottschalk v. South Dakota State Real Estate Comm'n, 264 N.W.2d 905 (S.D.1975). One purpose of res judicata is to prevent parties from being subjected twice to the same cause of action, as finality in litigation best serves public policy. Moe v. Moe, 496 N.W.2d 593, 595 (S.D.1993) (citing Black Hills Jewelry Mfg. Co., 336 N.W.2d 153).

[¶ 14.] The concepts of merger and bar embodied in res judicata are broad, encompassing not only the issues within the original action but also "all rights, questions, or facts directly involved and actually, or by necessary implication, determined therein." Id. (quoting Raschke v. DeGraff, 81 S.D. 291, 295-96, 134 N.W.2d 294, 297 (1965)). In addition, the bar and merger effects also extend to issues "which could have been properly raised and determined in a prior...

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15 practice notes
  • State v. $1,010.00 in American Currency, No. 23878.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • 6 d3 Setembro d3 2006
    ...and application are questions of law, and are reviewed by this Court under the de novo standard of review." Chapman v. Chapman, 2006 SD 36, ¶ 10, 713 N.W.2d 572, 576 (citing State v. Anderson, 2005 SD 22, ¶ 19, 693 N.W.2d 675, 681 (quoting Block v. Drake, 2004 SD 72, ¶ 8, 681 N.W.2d 46......
  • In re Processed Egg Prods. Antitrust Litig., MDL No. 2002.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • 20 d2 Março d2 2012
    ...they are defined by statute or unless a contrary intention plainly appears.” (citing N.D. Cent.Code § 1–02–02)); Chapman v. Chapman, 713 N.W.2d 572, 576 (S.D.2006) (“ ‘We give words their plain meaning and effect, and read statutes as a whole, as well as enactments relating to the same subj......
  • Kauth v. Bartlett, No. 24414.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • 12 d3 Março d3 2008
    ...subject." Rotenberger v. Burghduff, 2007 SD 7, ¶ 8, 727 N.W.2d 291, 294 (Rotenberger I) (quoting Chapman 746 N.W.2d 756 v. Chapman, 2006 SD 36, ¶ 11, 713 N.W.2d 572, 576). The courts must confine themselves to the language the legislature used and cannot insert words into the statute t......
  • In re Processed Egg Prods. Antitrust Litig., MDL No. 2002
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • 19 d1 Março d1 2012
    ...are defined by statute or unless a contrary intention plainly appears." (citing N.D. Cent. Code § 1-02-02)); Chapman v. Chapman, 713 N.W.2d 572, 576 (S.D. 2006) ("'We give words their plain meaning and effect, and read statutes as a whole, as well as enactments relating to the sam......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
15 cases
  • State v. $1,010.00 in American Currency, No. 23878.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • 6 d3 Setembro d3 2006
    ...and application are questions of law, and are reviewed by this Court under the de novo standard of review." Chapman v. Chapman, 2006 SD 36, ¶ 10, 713 N.W.2d 572, 576 (citing State v. Anderson, 2005 SD 22, ¶ 19, 693 N.W.2d 675, 681 (quoting Block v. Drake, 2004 SD 72, ¶ 8, 681 N.W.2d 46......
  • In re Processed Egg Prods. Antitrust Litig., MDL No. 2002.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • 20 d2 Março d2 2012
    ...they are defined by statute or unless a contrary intention plainly appears.” (citing N.D. Cent.Code § 1–02–02)); Chapman v. Chapman, 713 N.W.2d 572, 576 (S.D.2006) (“ ‘We give words their plain meaning and effect, and read statutes as a whole, as well as enactments relating to the same subj......
  • Kauth v. Bartlett, No. 24414.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • 12 d3 Março d3 2008
    ...subject." Rotenberger v. Burghduff, 2007 SD 7, ¶ 8, 727 N.W.2d 291, 294 (Rotenberger I) (quoting Chapman 746 N.W.2d 756 v. Chapman, 2006 SD 36, ¶ 11, 713 N.W.2d 572, 576). The courts must confine themselves to the language the legislature used and cannot insert words into the statute t......
  • In re Processed Egg Prods. Antitrust Litig., MDL No. 2002
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • 19 d1 Março d1 2012
    ...are defined by statute or unless a contrary intention plainly appears." (citing N.D. Cent. Code § 1-02-02)); Chapman v. Chapman, 713 N.W.2d 572, 576 (S.D. 2006) ("'We give words their plain meaning and effect, and read statutes as a whole, as well as enactments relating to the sam......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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