from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District,
State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Gerald F. Schroeder,
court decision renewing judgments, affirmed.
Office of Vernon K. Smith, Boise, for appellant. Vernon K.
Swafford Law, PC, Idaho Falls, for respondent. Larren K.
BURDICK, CHIEF JUSTICE.
consolidated appeal arises out of Ada County and involves the
validity of two judgments and their subsequent renewals
obtained by Sharon Smith, nka Sharon Bergmann (Sharon)
against Vernon Kenneth Smith (Vernon). The judgments have
remained unsatisfied, and Sharon has been granted renewals of
the judgments every five years as required by the applicable
statute. In 2014, Sharon sought to collect on the
judgments, and Vernon subsequently challenged the validity of
the judgments and their renewals. The magistrate court
determined the judgments were valid and any claims of
improper renewal were barred by res judicata. Vernon
appealed to the district court, which dismissed the appeal
for lack of jurisdiction and res judicata. In
November 2016, while Vernon's initial appeal was pending,
a magistrate judge once again renewed one judgment for an
additional five years. Vernon appealed this renewal, which
the district court again dismissed citing res
judicata. Vernon appealed the district court's
decisions and this Court consolidated both appeals. For the
reasons discussed below, we affirm.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
and Vernon were divorced on February 11, 1991. On the same
day, a magistrate judge entered a judgment awarding money and
property to Sharon in the amount of $202, 526.13 (1991
judgment). To secure payment of the judgment, Sharon was
granted a lien on all of the community property awarded to
Vernon. The judgment was later amended on February 28, 1994,
to exclude Sharon's attorney fees as a community debt,
and subsequently was reduced to $194, 936.13.
1996, Sharon filed a motion to renew the 1991 judgment, as it
had not yet been satisfied. Vernon objected to the renewal,
stating that no valid lien was created by the judgment
because he had no real property for a lien to attach to, and
thus without a valid lien the judgment could not be renewed.
Justice McDevitt, sitting as a district judge pro tem, stated
there was no requirement that the judgment be attached to
some real property; rather, the statute only required the
judgment be unsatisfied to be renewed. Because there was no
dispute that the judgment was unsatisfied, Sharon's
motion for renewal of the 1991 judgment was granted on
November 5, 1996. Vernon appealed the renewal, and the Idaho
Court of Appeals affirmed the renewal of the judgment.
Smith v. Smith, 131 Idaho 800, 803, 964 P.2d 667,
670 (Ct. App. 1998). The judgment was subsequently renewed in
2001, 2006, and 2011. Vernon did not challenge any subsequent
January 1999, Sharon obtained a judgment against Vernon for
child support and spousal maintenance (1999 judgment). The
amount of the judgment was $25, 280.16 for child support and
$9, 490.00 for spousal maintenance. This judgment was renewed
in 2004, 2009, and 2014. Vernon did not appeal the 1999
judgment or any of the subsequent renewals.
2015, following the death of Vernon's mother, Sharon
moved the court to appoint a receiver for a limited liability
company solely owned by Vernon, to issue a temporary
restraining order, and to issue a writ of execution. Sharon
alleged Vernon had inherited the entirety of his mother's
estate, and had transferred the inheritance to VHS
Properties, LLC, of which Vernon was the sole member. Sharon
alleged no payments had been made on the judgments and the
total amount now owing with interest was $866, 285.20 on the
1991 judgment and $93, 940.16 on the 1999 judgment, as of
March 20, 2015. In September 2015, Vernon objected and filed
a petition for declaratory judgment to confirm the judgments
void and unenforceable. Vernon subsequently moved for summary
judgment on his motion for declaratory judgment. In February
2016, the magistrate court denied Vernon's motion for
summary judgment, finding the judgments and renewals were
valid, and claims of improper renewal were barred by res
appealed the magistrate court's decision regarding the
validity of the judgments to the district court. The district
court dismissed Vernon's appeal. With regard to the 1991
judgment, the district court determined that because Vernon
appealed the 1996 renewal, any issues he sought to raise
which could have been asserted in that appeal were barred by
res judicata. Additionally, the district court
determined, the time for appealing the 1994 amendment and the
renewals of the 1991 judgment had expired, and thus the court
could not consider Vernon's assertions that the renewals
were invalid. With regard to the 1999 judgment, the district
court concluded that Vernon's failure to timely appeal
the 1999 judgment or any of its renewals deprived the court
of jurisdiction to consider his present appeal.
the initial appeal to the district court was pending, Vernon
filed another notice of appeal challenging the most recent
renewal of the 1991 judgment, which was granted by the
magistrate court on November 17, 2016. The district court
stated that the issues raised by Vernon in the second appeal
either were identical to issues in the previous appeal, or
could have been asserted in the previous appeal, and thus the
appeal was dismissed. Vernon timely appealed to this Court.
Both cases were consolidated for appeal and oral argument.
ISSUES ON APPEAL
the district court properly determine that the issues raised
by Vernon on appeal regarding the 1991 judgment were barred
by res judicata?
the district court properly determine that Vernon's
failure to timely appeal the 1999 judgment renewals deprived
the court of jurisdiction to consider the validity of the
Sharon entitled to attorney fees on appeal?