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Leroy Mickey, An Individual v. Benone Halinga

March 5, 2013

LEROY MICKEY, AN INDIVIDUAL, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
BENONE HALINGA, AN INDIVIDUAL; AND PETRONELA HALINGA, AN INDIVIDUAL, DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.



Appeal from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Ronald J. Wilper, District Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gratton, Judge

2013 Unpublished Opinion No. 387

Stephen W. Kenyon, Clerk

THIS IS AN UNPUBLISHED OPINION AND SHALL NOT BE CITED AS AUTHORITY

Order of the district court granting in part and denying in part motion to set aside default and default judgment, affirmed.

Benone and Petronela Halinga appeal from the district court's order granting in part and denying in part their motion to set aside default and default judgment. The appellants claim the district court erred in failing to set aside default pursuant to Idaho Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(1), (b)(4), and (b)(6).

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The district court found the following facts and set forth its conclusions of law orally at a hearing on May 3, 2012: On February 28, 2012, Leroy Mickey filed a verified complaint against the appellants and Benone Enterprises asserting claims for breach of contract and violation of Idaho's employee wage claim laws. In addition to asserting those two claims, Mickey also asserted Benone Enterprises was the "alter ego" of the appellants.

On March 23, 2012, Mickey filed for entry of default and default judgment. Based on the failure to timely answer the complaint, the district court entered a default judgment. On April 16, 2012, Petronela Halinga, Benone Halinga, and Benone Enterprises filed a motion to set aside default and default judgment. The district court found that Petronela was individually served and accepted service of process for her husband, Benone, and found no basis to set aside the default. The district court also found that Petronela was not authorized to accept service of process on behalf of Benone Enterprises and since the corporation was not properly served, vacated the default against the business. Petronela and Benone timely appeal.

II.

ANALYSIS

The appellants claim the district court erred by denying, in part, the motion to set aside default and default judgment. Specifically, the appellants argue the default should be set aside pursuant to I.R.C.P. 60(b)(1), (b)(4), and (b)(6). The interpretation of the Idaho Rules of Civil Procedure is a matter of law over which this Court has free review. Printcraft Press, Inc. v. Sunnyside Park Utilities, Inc., 153 Idaho 440, 448, 283 P.3d 757, 765 (2012). The decision to grant or deny a motion under I.R.C.P. 60(b) is committed to the discretion of the trial court.

A trial court's decision whether to grant relief pursuant to I.R.C.P. 60(b) is reviewed for abuse of discretion. The decision will be upheld if it appears that the trial court (1) correctly perceived the issue as discretionary, (2) acted within the boundaries of its discretion and consistent with the applicable legal standards, and (3) reached its determination through an exercise of reason. A determination under Rule 60(b) turns largely on questions of fact to be determined by the trial court. Those factual findings will be upheld unless they are clearly erroneous. If the trial court applies the facts in a logical manner to the criteria set forth in Rule 60(b), while keeping in mind the policy favoring relief in doubtful cases, the court will be deemed to have acted within its discretion.

Eby v. State, 148 Idaho 731, 734, 228 P.3d 998, 1001 (2010) (internal citations omitted). To decide whether findings of fact are clearly erroneous, this Court must determine whether the findings are supported by substantial, competent evidence. In re Williamson, 135 Idaho 452, 454, 19 P.3d 766, 768 (2001). Evidence is substantial and competent if a reasonable trier of fact would accept it and rely on it. Id. Findings based on substantial, competent evidence, ...


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