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Credit Bureau of Eastern Idaho, Inc. v. Lecheminant

June 18, 2010

CREDIT BUREAU OF EASTERN IDAHO, INC., AN IDAHO CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
JEFF D. LECHEMINANT AND LISA LECHEMINANT, DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS.



Appeal from the District Court of the Seventh Judicial District of the State of Idaho, Madison County. Hon. Brent J. Moss, District Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: W. Jones, Justice

2010 Opinion No. 66

The judgment of the district court is vacated and remanded to district court for proceedings consistent with this Opinion. Idaho Code § 11-204 is unconstitutional. Attorneys fees and costs are awarded to appellants.

I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On February 14, 2006, the plaintiff, Credit Bureau of Eastern Idaho, Inc. (CBEI) filed a complaint against Jeff Lecheminant (Jeff) and his then current wife, Lisa Lecheminant, to obtain a judgment in the amount of $803.16. On March 28, 2006, a magistrate court entered a default judgment for the full amount in favor of CBEI. In September of 2006, CBEI was made aware that Jeff had remarried and was currently married to Sandy Lecheminant (Sandy).*fn1 Also CBEI was informed that Sandy was employed at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center (EIRMC).

That same month, CBEI filed an application with the magistrate court requesting the issuance of an order of continuing garnishment against EIRMC. The court, on September 28, 2006, entered an order requiring EIRMC to garnish Sandy's wages. On October 15, 2006, EIRMC and Sandy filed a claim of exemption asserting that Sandy's wages were exempt from garnishment pursuant to I.C. § 11-204. CBEI filed a motion to contest the claim of exemption. A hearing was held on October 21, 2007. On February, 21, 2008, the magistrate court entered a written order denying CBEI's motion to contest the claim of exemption and granting the claim of exemption.

CBEI filed a notice of appeal with the district court on February 28, 2008. On February 11, 2009, the district court entered a memorandum decision affirming the ruling of the magistrate court. CBEI filed a notice of appeal from the memorandum decision.

II. ISSUES ON APPEAL

1. Whether CBEI has standing to challenge the constitutionality of I.C. § 11-204.

2. Whether I.C. § 11-204 is constitutional.

3. Whether I.C. § 32-912 allows for garnishment in this case.

4. Whether a debt must benefit the community in order to be satisfied out of the community property.

5. Whether the principle of extension can be applied to I.C. § 11-204.

6. Whether Miller v. Miller, 113 Idaho 415, 745 P.2d 294 (1987), is applicable to this case.

7. Whether the Lecheminants were required to file a cross-appeal under I.A.R. 15.

8. Whether antenuptial debts can be satisfied out of community property.

9. Whether a party must prevail in its effort to enforce a judgment in order to be awarded post-judgment attorney fees and costs under I.C. § 12-120(5).

10. Whether attorney fees should be awarded to CBEI under I.C. § 12-120(1) and (3) on appeal.

III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

The constitutionality of a statute is a question of law over which this Court exercises free review. Moon v. North Idaho Farmers Ass'n, 140 Idaho 536, 540, 96 P.3d 637, 641 (2004) (citing Fremont-Madison Irr. Dist. & Mitigation Group v. Idaho Ground Water Appropriators, Inc., 129 Idaho 454, 457, 926 P.2d 1301, 1304 (1996); State v. Cobb, 132 Idaho 195, 197, 969 P.2d 244, 246 (1998)). Procedural issues are also a question of law over which this Court exercises free review. Zenner v. Holcomb, 14 ...


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