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Leon Phillips, An Unmarried Man, and v. Carole Blazier-Henry

March 29, 2013

LEON PHILLIPS, AN UNMARRIED MAN, AND EARLINE CHANCE, AN UNMARRIED WOMAN, PLAINTIFFS-RESPONDENTS-CROSS APPELLANTS,
v.
CAROLE BLAZIER-HENRY, AN INDIVIDUAL, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT, AND ROY JACOBSON, INTERVENOR-APPELLANT-CROSS RESPONDENT.



Appeal from the District Court of the First Judicial District of the State of Idaho, Bonner County. The Honorable Steve Verby, District Judge.

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

2013 Opinion No. 39

Stephen W. Kenyon, Clerk

The judgment of the district court is reversed and the case is remanded.

This is an appeal from an order setting aside a sheriff's sale of real property. The respondents, Earline Chance and Leon Phillips (collectively "Chance"), who are deed of trust beneficiaries and judgment creditors, failed to attend or bid at the sheriff's sale but claimed the successful bidder, appellant Roy Jacobson, obtained the property for a grossly inadequate price. The district court agreed and set the sale aside. We reverse.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Between February of 2005 and August of 2007, Carole Blazier-Henry executed a series of promissory notes in favor of Chance. The notes were secured by a deed of trust on a less-than- twenty-acre parcel of real property owned by Blazier-Henry in Bonner County. Blazier-Henry failed to make timely payments on the notes, and on March 30, 2009, Chance filed a Complaint for Foreclosure of the deed of trust. Blazier-Henry did not answer the Complaint, and a default judgment was entered against her in the amount of $72,667.25, together with late fees and accrued interest on the principal balance at the rate of 10% per annum.

The court issued a Writ of Execution showing the amount owing to be $87,211.07, which included late fees, interest, and attorney fees. Chance levied upon Blazier-Henry's real property to satisfy the judgment. A sheriff's sale was set for June 2, 2009, at 10:00 a.m. in Bonner County. At the sheriff's sale, Jacobson purchased the real property for $1,000. Chance did not appear at the sheriff's sale, either personally or through counsel, and did not submit a credit bid.

Chance was represented by attorney Jovick during the foreclosure proceedings, until January 19, 2010, when attorney Bistline substituted in as counsel for Chance. On the date of the sheriff's sale, Jovick's paralegal received a call from the Bonner County Sheriff's Department informing her that the property had sold for $1,000. When the paralegal objected that the "credit bid was around Eighty Seven Thousand," the sheriff's employee responded that "she had nothing in writing regarding a credit bid." In an affidavit subsequently submitted to the district court, Jovick faulted Bonner County for failing to enter a credit bid on behalf of Chance. She asserted that in her experience in Kootenai County, it was common practice for the sheriff to provide a form that could be used by a judgment creditor in requesting a credit bid at a sheriff's sale. In this instance, Bonner County provided her with no such form.

On July 22, 2009, Jovick prepared a stipulation to set aside the sheriff's sale, which was signed by Bonner County's civil counsel on November 11, 2009, and entered in the court record on November 17, 2009. The stipulation provided that "[f]or factual reasons that will remain undisclosed, the Bonner County Sheriff's Department and [Chance] hereby stipulate to set aside said sale." The stipulation also provided that the Sheriff and Chance "agree that gross inadequacy of consideration, coupled with very slight additional circumstances is sufficient ground for setting aside the Sheriff's Sale as articulated by the Idaho Supreme Court in Gaskill v. Neil [sic], 77 Idaho 428 (1956)." Based on the stipulation, the court entered an order setting aside the sheriff's sale on November 20, 2009.

On December 30, 2009, Jacobson filed a motion to quash the order setting aside the sheriff's sale and the court quashed the order. Thereafter, Jacobson moved the court to require issuance of the sheriff's deed for the property he purchased at the sheriff's sale. In response, Chance moved the court to set aside the sheriff's sale or, alternately, extend the redemption period. On May 5, 2010, a hearing was held to address the motions submitted by the parties, and on May 19, 2010, the court issued an Order Re: Motion to Set Aside Sheriff's Sale, whereby it set the sheriff's sale aside.

Jacobson then filed a motion to reconsider and a motion to amend the court's order. The court issued its decision on January 14, 2011, denying Jacobson's motion to reconsider and granting his motion to amend the court's order to reflect that Jacobson was entitled to all of the money he paid for the property plus attorney fees and costs and any lost profit or business opportunities.

On February 9, 2011, the Court entered its Final Judgment.*fn1 Jacobson appealed to this Court and Chance cross-appealed.

II. ISSUES ON APPEAL

1. Did the district court err in setting aside the sheriff's sale?

2. Did the district court err in making its valuation ...


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