2014 Unpublished Opinion No. 340
Appeal from the District Court of the First Judicial District, State of Idaho, Kootenai County. Hon. Carl B. Kerrick, District Judge; Hon. Robert Caldwell, Magistrate.
Decision, on intermediate appeal, affirming magistrate's final decree of divorce, affirmed.
Ramona R. Liesche of Liesche & Reagan, P.A., Coeur d'Alene, for appellant.
Suzanna L. Graham, Coeur d'Alene, for respondent.
GUTIERREZ, Chief Judge
Jared Lee Olbricht appeals from the decision of the district court affirming the magistrate's final decree of divorce. Olbricht challenges the district court's affirmance of the magistrate's finding that the proceeds of Olbricht's medical malpractice settlement were community property. Olbricht also contends the district court erred by affirming the magistrate's failure to award the balance of a community shareholder loan--a loan to the community business--to the community, thus entitling Olbricht to one-half of the balance of the shareholder loan. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.
FACTS AND PROCEDURE
Olbricht and Michelle Duhon married in 2007. Just months after the marriage, Olbricht suffered an injury while skiing. The surgery for the injury was unsuccessful and resulted in severe disability. Olbricht prepared to institute a malpractice action against the treating physician, but Olbricht and the physician entered into a mediated settlement agreement that Olbricht and Duhon signed. As a result of the agreement, Olbricht received over $217, 000 after the law firm's share, subrogation, and costs advanced were deducted. The check, which was in Olbricht's name, was deposited into the Olbricht-Duhon joint checking account. Sometime later, $60, 000 of the funds were used to provide working capital for a newly acquired community business--a pharmacy. The $60, 000 was logged on the pharmacy's corporate books as a loan from the two shareholders, Olbricht and Duhon.
In 2010, Olbricht and Duhon separated, and Duhon subsequently filed for divorce. Olbricht answered and filed a counterclaim, arguing in part that "separate funds [should] be reimbursed to him in the amount of a minimum of $207, 000 as part of the property distribution herein." Following a bench trial, the magistrate issued a decision, finding the $217, 000 settlement was community property and finding the pharmacy, including its liability on the community loan, had a net-zero value as a community business. The magistrate issued a final decree of divorce, making a division of the property and awarding the pharmacy, including its encumbrances, to Duhon. Olbricht moved for reconsideration, which was denied, and then made an intermediate appeal to the district court, asserting two issues for the district court's review: (1) whether the magistrate erred by finding that the proceeds of Olbricht's settlement were community property and (2) whether the magistrate erred by failing to award a community shareholder loan to the community, thus entitling Olbricht to one-half of the balance of the shareholder loan. After a hearing before the district court, the court affirmed the findings and decision of the magistrate. Olbricht now appeals to this Court.