Interstate Production Credit Ass'n of Great Falls v. DeSaye

Decision Date14 November 1991
Docket NumberNo. 90-628,90-628
Citation250 Mont. 320,48 St.Rep. 986,820 P.2d 1285
PartiesINTERSTATE PRODUCTION CREDIT ASSOCIATION OF GREAT FALLS, Montana, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Joseph L. DeSAYE and Grace L. DeSaye, Defendants, Counter-Claimants and Appellants, v. INTERSTATE PRODUCTION CREDIT ASSOCIATION OF GREAT FALLS, Montana, Counter-Defendant.
CourtMontana Supreme Court

Leo Graybill, Jr., Graybill, Ostrem, Warner & Crotty, Great Falls, for defendants, counter-claimants and appellants.

John Paul, Alexander, Baucus & Linnell, Great Falls, for plaintiff and respondent.

McDONOUGH, Justice.

This is an appeal from a judgment of possession of the Twelfth Judicial District, Chouteau County. Subsequent to a foreclosure action, the District Court found that the appellants, Joe and Grace DeSaye (DeSaye), were not entitled to possession of their farm in Loma, Montana during the statutory redemption period. We affirm.

A question in this case involves the District Court's denial of a motion in limine during the foreclosure proceeding. DeSaye was precluded from introducing expert testimony regarding the interest rates charged by respondent, Interstate Production Credit Association of Great Falls, Montana (IPCA). However, this Court granted IPCA's motion dismissing DeSayes' appeal of the District Court's ruling on the motion in limine because DeSayes failed to file their appeal of the foreclosure judgment and decree in a timely fashion.

There is one issue for our review. Did the District Court err by finding that Joseph L. DeSaye was not entitled to possession of the foreclosed farm during the statutory redemption period?

Following a jury verdict in favor of IPCA, the District Court entered a judgment and decree of foreclosure against DeSayes. DeSaye objected that the judgment failed to identify how the issue of possession during the year of redemption would be resolved. The court ordered briefs on the possession issue and an evidentiary hearing was held. The subject property, located at Loma, Montana, is a large irrigated farm consisting of two houses and several outbuildings. The "large" house is occupied by DeSayes' son Grant, Grant's wife and their children. Grant utilizes the property to run cattle independently of his father. In addition, along with his father, he attends to farming operations. Initially, the court found that during the redemption period DeSaye would be entitled to possession of the 'small house' but not to the 'large house', outbuildings and surrounding grounds.

Subsequent to the District Court's decision, this Court decided Federal Land Bank of Spokane v. Snider (1991) 247 Mont. 508, 808 P.2d 475. In Snider, this Court held that when determining possession of foreclosed property during the redemption period there is no basis for dividing lands that the execution debtor occupies. In May, 1991, we requested the District Court to reconsider its decision in light of the Snider decision. The District Court reviewed the record, found it unnecessary to obtain further evidence and determined that DeSaye did not occupy the foreclosed land as a home for himself and his family thereby granting possession of all the foreclosed land to IPCA. DeSaye appeals.

Section 71-1-229, MCA, provides in relevant part that:

The purchaser of lands at mortgage foreclosure is not entitled to the possession thereof as against the execution debtor during the period of redemption allowed by law while the execution debtor personally occupies the land as a home for himself and his family.

Determining who is entitled to possession of the property hinges on whether DeSaye (the execution debtor) personally occupied the land as a home for himself and his family. Resolution of this matter is a question of fact to be determined by the trial court.

This Court will affirm the findings of a trial court sitting without a jury unless the findings are clearly erroneous. Rule 52(a), M.R.Civ.P. In comparison, this Court will affirm the verdict of a jury if there is substantial credible evidence in the record to support the verdict. It is necessary to clarify these two standards and their proper application.

Substantial credible evidence when used to support a jury verdict is fairly well understood; however, when substantial evidence is used in the clearly erroneous standard it is less clear. If a finding is not supported by substantial evidence it is clearly erroneous. The converse proposition that a finding supported by substantial evidence cannot be clearly erroneous is not true in a non-jury case. Wright and Miller, 9 Federal Practice and Procedure, Civil § 2585 at p. 735. "Substantial evidence and clearly erroneous are not synonymous and a finding may be set aside, though supported by substantial evidence if found to be clearly erroneous." W.R.B. Corp. v. Geer (C.A. 5th 1963), 313 F.2d 750.

We adopt the following three-part test to determine if a finding is clearly erroneous. First, the Court will review the...

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  • Driscoll v. Stapleton
    • United States
    • Montana Supreme Court
    • September 29, 2020
    ...of the record, we have a definite and firm conviction that the lower court was mistaken. Interstate Prod. Credit Ass'n of Great Falls v. DeSaye , 250 Mont. 320, 323, 820 P.2d 1285, 1287 (1991).2 It is not entirely clear from Count I in Plaintiffs’ Complaint, their briefing here and below, o......
  • Vernon Kills On Top v. State
    • United States
    • Montana Supreme Court
    • September 15, 1996
    ...standard is not the standard by which we review a district court's findings of fact. We held inInterstate Production Credit Association v. DeSaye (1991), 250 Mont. 320, 820 P.2d 1285, that we will review a district court's findings of fact for the following criteria: (1) the Court will dete......
  • Albinger v. Harris
    • United States
    • Montana Supreme Court
    • June 6, 2002
    ...that a mistake has been committed." Griffin, 275 Mont. at 44, 909 P.2d at 711-12 (citing DeSaye v. Interstate Production Credit Assn. (1991), 250 Mont. 320, 323, 820 P.2d 1285, 1287). The standard of review of a district court's conclusions of law is whether the court's interpretation of th......
  • Kafka v. Montana Dept. of Fwp
    • United States
    • Montana Supreme Court
    • December 31, 2008
    ...to M.R. Civ. P. 52(a). We use a three-part test to determine if a finding is clearly erroneous. Interstate Prod. Credit Assn. v. DeSaye, 250 Mont. 320, 323, 820 P.2d 1285, 1287 (1991). First, we examine the record to determine if the findings are supported by substantial evidence. DeSaye, 2......
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