A. Dorr v. Smith, No. S-09-0249.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
Writing for the CourtKITE, Chief Justice.
Citation238 P.3d 549,2010 WY 120
PartiesMark A. DORR, Appellant (Defendant), v. SMITH, KELLER & ASSOCIATES, Appellee (Plaintiff).
Decision Date24 August 2010
Docket NumberNo. S-09-0249.

238 P.3d 549
2010 WY 120

Mark A. DORR, Appellant (Defendant),
v.
SMITH, KELLER & ASSOCIATES, Appellee (Plaintiff).

No. S-09-0249.

Supreme Court of Wyoming.

Aug. 24, 2010.


238 P.3d 550

Representing Appellant: Greg L. Goddard of Goddard, Wages & Vogel, Buffalo, Wyoming.

Representing Appellee: W. Perry Dray and Timothy L. Woznick of Dray, Thomson & Dyekman, P.C., Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Before KITE, C.J., and GOLDEN, HILL, VOIGT * , and BURKE, JJ.

KITE, Chief Justice.

[¶ 1] Mark A. Dorr appeals from the district court's denial of his motion to declare Smith, Keller & Associates' (SKA) judgment against him satisfied. He challenges the district court's rulings that posting a supersedeas bond did not stop interest from accruing on the judgment and he was not entitled to credit against the judgment for settlements made by third parties in related actions.

[¶ 2] Finding no error, we affirm.

ISSUES

[¶ 3] Mr. Dorr articulates two appellate issues:

I. Whether the District Court erred when it ruled that the posting of a supersedeas bond does not toll the accrual of interest on a judgment.

II. Whether the District Court erred when it ruled that Mark Dorr was not entitled to credits against the original judgment amount for settlement payments made by other parties.

SKA maintains that the district court properly denied Mr. Dorr's motion to declare the judgment satisfied because posting a supersedeas bond does not stop interest from accruing on a judgment and Mr. Dorr was not entitled to credit against the judgment for the third party settlements.

FACTS

[¶ 4] This appeal is the most recent stop on a long and tortured path toward dissolution and termination of an ill-fated and short-lived accounting partnership. Many of the underlying facts are not relevant to our decision here, but are set out in detail in our four earlier decisions in this case. Dorr, Keller, Bentley & Pecha v. Dorr, Bentley & Pecha, 841 P.2d 811 (Wyo.1992) ( Dorr I); Smith, Keller & Associates v. Dorr & Associates, 875 P.2d 1258 (Wyo.1994) ( Dorr II ); Pecha v. Smith, Keller & Associates, 942 P.2d 387 (Wyo.1997) ( Dorr III ) and Smith, Keller & Associates v. Dorr, 4 P.3d 872 (Wyo.2000) ( Dorr IV ). We will limit our recitation of the facts to those relevant to this particular appeal.

[¶ 5] In 1988, two accounting firms, Dorr and Associates of Gillette and SKA of Cheyenne formed a third accounting firm named Dorr, Keller, Bentley and Pecha (DKBP).

238 P.3d 551

Difficulties soon arose between the partners, and SKA notified Dorr and Associates that it intended to dissolve the DKBP partnership in May 1989. In accordance with the terms of the partnership agreement, the parties submitted their disputes to arbitration. Dorr I, 841 P.2d at 813. The arbitration order awarded $105,163.78 in damages to SKA for unpaid compensation and violation of the dissolution provisions of the partnership agreement. Dorr I, 841 P.2d at 813 n. 1. The arbitration award also provided:

In addition to and exclusive of the foregoing, Dorr is directed to deliver to Keller all sums in [a bank account].

Dorr is further directed to deliver to Keller all accounts receivable existing as of May 4, 1989, and to pay to Keller any sums paid for said accounts receivable hereafter.

Dorr is further directed to return to Keller all computer software in Dorr's possession which was brought into the partnership and/or owned by Keller as of May 4, 1989.

Id. The district court confirmed the arbitration award.

[¶ 6] In 1996, Mr. Dorr and his associates posted a $120,000 supersedeas bond to stay execution on the judgment. We ultimately ordered the district court in Dorr IV, 4 P.3d at 876, to:

[E]nter a judgment against Mark Dorr and Steven Bentley, jointly and severally, for the arbitration award in the amount of $105,163.78, plus interest thereon from and after August 24, 1989; enter a judgment against Mark Dorr and Steven Bentley, jointly and severally, for the work in process in the amount of $1,451.96, plus appropriate interest; and direct the Clerk of the District Court to pay over to SKA all funds held on behalf of D & A, the Dorr faction, or members thereof, in partial satisfaction of the judgment.

The bond was released to SKA and, apparently, it took no further action to execute on the judgment for several years.

[¶ 7] On April 30, 2007, SKA filed a motion to revive the judgment pursuant to Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 1-16-502 (LexisNexis 2009). 1 The motion represented that over $64,000 on the judgment principal and $43,000 in interest remained unpaid. In response, Mr. Dorr filed a motion to declare the judgment satisfied. Of relevance to this appeal, Mr. Dorr claimed that the accrual of interest ceased when he posted the supersedeas bond and he was entitled to credit against the judgment for two settlements made by third parties Bill Dorr (Mr. Dorr's father) and First Interstate Bank in a related fraudulent conveyance action.

[¶ 8] After conducting hearings on the motion, the district court ruled that interest did not stop accruing when Mr. Dorr posted the supersedeas bond and Mr. Dorr had not met his burden of proving that he was entitled to set off the two settlements against SKA's outstanding judgment. Mr. Dorr appealed.

DISCUSSION
1. Accrual of Interest on Judgment After Posting Supersedeas Bond

[¶ 9] SKA secured a monetary judgment against Mr. Dorr and, pursuant to Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 1-16-102(a) (LexisNexis 2009), interest accrued on that judgment:

(a) Except as provided in subsections (b) and (c) of this section, all decrees and judgments for the payment of money shall bear interest at ten percent (10%) per year from the date of rendition until paid.

Id.

[¶ 10] Mr. Dorr posted a supersedeas bond to prevent SKA from executing on the

238 P.3d 552

judgment while the case was on appeal. W.R.A.P. 4.02 governs supersedeas bonds and provides in pertinent part:

(a) Whenever an appellant so entitled desires a stay on appeal, appellant may present to the trial court a supersedeas bond in such amount as shall be fixed by the trial court and with surety or sureties to be approved by the court or by the clerk of court. The bond shall be conditioned for the satisfaction of the judgment in full together with costs, interest, and damages for delay, if for any reason the appeal is not perfected or is dismissed, or if the judgment is affirmed, and to satisfy in full such modification of the judgment and such costs, interest, and damages as the appellate court may adjudge and award.

(b) When the judgment is for the recovery of money not otherwise secured, the amount of the bond shall be fixed at such sum as will cover the whole amount of the judgment remaining and unsatisfied, costs on appeal, and interest, unless the court, after notice and hearing and for good cause shown, fixes a different amount or orders security other than the bond.

[¶ 11] Mr. Dorr claims that when he posted the bond, interest stopped accruing on the judgment and release of the bond to SKA satisfied the judgment. Resolution of this issue requires us to interpret the above-referenced statute and court rule. We interpret statutory provisions by employing the following standards:

The paramount consideration is to determine the legislature's intent, which must be ascertained initially and primarily from the words used in the statute. We look first to the plain and ordinary meaning of the words to determine if the statute is ambiguous. A statute is clear and unambiguous if its wording is such that reasonable persons are able to agree on its meaning with consistency and predictability. Conversely, a statute is ambiguous if it is found to be vague or uncertain and subject to varying interpretations. If we determine that a statute is clear and unambiguous, we give effect to the plain language of the statute.

Kennedy Oil v. Dep't of Revenue, 2008 WY 154, ¶ 10, 205 P.3d 999, 1003 (Wyo.2008).

Morris v. CMS Oil and Gas Co., 2010 WY 37, ¶ 26, 227 P.3d 325, 333 (Wyo.2010). Court rules are construed by applying the same principles. MM v. State of Wyoming, Dep't of Family Servs., 2009 WY 28, ¶ 11, 202 P.3d 409, 413 (Wyo.2009). See also, Cotton v. McCulloh, 2005 WY 159, ¶ 14, 125 P.3d 252, 257-58 (Wyo.2005). All of these determinations involve issues of law and are reviewed de novo on appeal. Morris, ¶ 26, 227 P.3d at 333; Nickle v. Bd. of County Comm'rs of Platte County, 2007 WY 115, ¶ 16, 162 P.3d 1208, 1213 (Wyo.2007) (interpreting court rule).

[¶ 12] Section 1-16-102(a) states that interest accrues “from the date of rendition until paid” and Rule 4.02(a) indicates that the bond should be conditioned to account for “interest” and “damages for delay.” In V-1 Oil Co. v. People, 799 P.2d 1199, 1203 (Wyo.1990), we confirmed that posting a supersedeas bond “does not constitute accomplished payment until an unqualified right to the proceeds accrues after the judgment is affirmed on appeal.” If the legislature intended for the filing of a supersedeas bond to stop interest from accruing on the judgment, it would have specified that and not simply stated that interest accrues until the judgment is “paid.” Section 1-16-102(a). Because payment of the judgment is not achieved by posting a supersedeas bond, the district court properly determined...

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31 practice notes
  • N. Laramie Range Found. v. Converse Cnty. Bd. of Cnty. Comm'rs, Nos. S–12–0060
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • 14 Diciembre 2012
    ...that a statute is clear and unambiguous, we give effect to the plain language of the statute. Dorr v. Smith, Keller & Associates, 2010 WY 120, ¶ 11, 238 P.3d 549, 552 (Wyo.2010) (citation omitted).Mule Shoe, ¶ 13, 252 P.3d at 954–55. All statutory provisions pertaining to the same subject a......
  • Halling v. Yovanovich, S-16-0163
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • 9 Marzo 2017
    ...for the loss from the time between the ascertainment of the damages and the payment by the defendant." Dorr v. Smith, Keller & Assocs. , 2010 WY 120, ¶ 13, 238 P.3d 549, 552 (Wyo. 2010). The parties agreed to a 6 percent annual interest rate accruing monthly, and for the reasons discussed s......
  • Baessler v. Freier, No. S–10–0212.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • 26 Agosto 2011
    ...determine that a statute is clear and unambiguous, we give effect to the plain language of the statute.Dorr v. Smith, Keller & Associates, 2010 WY 120, ¶ 11, 238 P.3d 549, 552 (Wyo.2010). [¶ 24] Section 12–8–301(a) unambiguously states that a person who legally provides alcohol to another i......
  • Baessler v. Freier
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • 30 Abril 2011
    ...determine that a statute is clear and unambiguous, we give effect to the plain language of the statute.Dorr v. Smith, Keller & Associates, 2010 WY 120, ¶ 11, 238 P.3d 549, 552 (Wyo. 2010). [¶24] Section 12-8-301(a) unambiguously states that a person who legally provides alcohol to another i......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
31 cases
  • N. Laramie Range Found. v. Converse Cnty. Bd. of Cnty. Comm'rs, Nos. S–12–0060
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • 14 Diciembre 2012
    ...that a statute is clear and unambiguous, we give effect to the plain language of the statute. Dorr v. Smith, Keller & Associates, 2010 WY 120, ¶ 11, 238 P.3d 549, 552 (Wyo.2010) (citation omitted).Mule Shoe, ¶ 13, 252 P.3d at 954–55. All statutory provisions pertaining to the same subject a......
  • Halling v. Yovanovich, S-16-0163
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • 9 Marzo 2017
    ...for the loss from the time between the ascertainment of the damages and the payment by the defendant." Dorr v. Smith, Keller & Assocs. , 2010 WY 120, ¶ 13, 238 P.3d 549, 552 (Wyo. 2010). The parties agreed to a 6 percent annual interest rate accruing monthly, and for the reasons discussed s......
  • Baessler v. Freier, No. S–10–0212.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • 26 Agosto 2011
    ...determine that a statute is clear and unambiguous, we give effect to the plain language of the statute.Dorr v. Smith, Keller & Associates, 2010 WY 120, ¶ 11, 238 P.3d 549, 552 (Wyo.2010). [¶ 24] Section 12–8–301(a) unambiguously states that a person who legally provides alcohol to another i......
  • Baessler v. Freier
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • 30 Abril 2011
    ...determine that a statute is clear and unambiguous, we give effect to the plain language of the statute.Dorr v. Smith, Keller & Associates, 2010 WY 120, ¶ 11, 238 P.3d 549, 552 (Wyo. 2010). [¶24] Section 12-8-301(a) unambiguously states that a person who legally provides alcohol to another i......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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