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Thompson v. Thompson

Court of Appeals of Idaho

September 22, 2017

PATRICIA J. THOMPSON, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
RONALD L. THOMPSON, Defendant-Respondent.

         2017 Opinion No. 45

         Appeal from the District Court of the Third Judicial District, State of Idaho, Canyon County. Hon. D. Duff McKee, District Judge; Hon. Debra A. Orr, Magistrate.

         Order of the district court, on intermediate appeal from the magistrate, affirming denial of motion for relief from judgment and grant of motion to dismiss, affirmed.

          Strother Law Office; Jeffrey A. Strother, Boise, for appellant. Jeffrey A. Strother argued.

          Ludwig, Shoufler, Miller, Johnson, PLLC; Daniel A. Miller, Boise, for respondent. Daniel A. Miller argued.

          GUTIERREZ, Judge

         Patricia J. Thompson appeals from the district court's order affirming the magistrate's denial of Patricia's motion for relief from judgment and granting Ronald L. Thompson's motion to dismiss and award of attorney fees. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Patricia and Ronald stipulated to a judgment and decree of divorce on July 23, 2013. The magistrate entered its judgment and decree of divorce on August 21, 2013. The judgment states, "[Patricia] shall own, control and as beneficiary be entitled to continue in effect, at her sole expense, the current Term Life Policy on [Ronald]." The judgment also states, "Each party shall execute any and all documents necessary to effectuate the terms and conditions set forth herein."

         On October 30, 2014, Patricia filed a motion for relief from judgment pursuant to Idaho Rules of Civil Procedure 60(a), 60(b)(5), and 60(b)(6).[1] In her motion, Patricia asserted that between July 23, 2013, and August 21, 2013, she contacted the insurance company regarding the status of the life insurance policy. The company informed her that the annual premium on the policy had been paid through August 2014. She again contacted the insurance company in June 2014 and learned that the policy had expired. She then contacted Ronald's attorney, who informed Patricia that the policy had expired on September 26, 2013, and the premiums were never paid through August 2014. In her motion, Patricia argued it was not equitable to enforce the judgment as written because the policy had lapsed, and Ronald had breached his fiduciary duty and/or the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing associated with the parties' stipulation.

         Ronald moved to dismiss pursuant to I.R.C.P. 12(b)(6), arguing Patricia's motion for relief from judgment failed to state claims upon which relief could be granted. Both sides filed affidavits in support of their arguments. Patricia moved for time to conduct discovery pursuant to I.R.C.P. 56(f), [2] arguing the magistrate should treat Ronald's motion to dismiss as a motion for summary judgment pursuant to I.R.C.P 56, and discovery would allow Patricia to establish the insurance company sent notices regarding the life insurance policy to Ronald. The magistrate held a hearing on all the motions and entered an order granting Ronald's motion to dismiss, denying Patricia's motion to continue and, in effect, denying Patricia's motion for relief from judgment.

         Patricia appealed to the district court. The district court affirmed the magistrate's decision, holding Ronald did not owe Patricia any duty with regard to the life insurance policy and awarding attorney fees to Ronald. Patricia timely appeals from the district court's order.

         II.

         ANALYSIS

         Patricia asserts the district court erred in affirming the magistrate's denial of both Patricia's motion for relief from judgment and her motion for continuance, as well as granting Ronald's motion to dismiss and award of attorney fees. For an appeal from the district court, sitting in its appellate capacity over a case from the magistrate division, this Court's standard of review is the same as expressed by the Idaho Supreme Court. The Supreme Court reviews the magistrate record to determine whether there is substantial and competent evidence to support the magistrate's findings of fact and whether the magistrate's conclusions of law follow from those findings. Pelayo v. Pelayo, 154 Idaho 855, 858-59, 303 P.2d 214, 217-18 (2013). If those findings are so supported and the conclusions follow therefrom, and if the district court affirmed the magistrate's decision, we affirm the district court's decision as a matter ...


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