MICHAEL CLARKE and SUE CLARKE, Individually and as husband and wife, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
HOLLY LATIMER, Defendant-Respondent.
May 2018 Term
from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District of
the State of Idaho, Ada County. Honorable Samuel Hoagland,
district court's judgment is affirmed in part, reversed
in part, and vacated in part, and its order denying
prejudgment interest is affirmed.
R. Clark, Clark & Associates, Boise, for appellants.
Latimer, Ewa Beach, Hawaii, respondent pro se.
appeal arises from Michael and Sue Clarke's attempted
recovery of earlier financial losses sustained due to the
fraudulent investment practices of Zach Latimer. After
obtaining a judgment against Latimer, the Clarkes filed a
separate action against his wife, Holly Latimer, alleging
that the Latimers engaged in transfers of funds that violated
the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act, I.C. §§ 55-910
to 55-921. The district court found in favor of the
Clarkes' claim after a bench trial but ruled that there
was no prevailing party and denied the Clarkes' request
for attorney's fees and costs. The court also ordered the
Clarkes to file a partial satisfaction of judgment in their
separate action against Zach and denied their post-trial
motion for prejudgment interest. The Clarkes now challenge
each of these determinations, and seek additional fees and
costs for their appeal.
I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL
2012, the Clarkes obtained a judgment against Zach Latimer
for $7, 405, 256.44 in a lawsuit stemming from Latimer's
loss of the Clarkes' retirement savings in a fraudulent
investment scheme. The Clarkes recorded the judgment in Utah
in an effort to garnish wages from Latimer's employer.
Thereafter, Latimer's wages were continuously garnished
other than during a period in 2014 when garnishment was
stayed while Latimer's bankruptcy proceedings were
pending. Garnishment continued after Latimer's attempt to
discharge his debt to the Clarkes through the bankruptcy
action was denied.
point, Latimer formed two companies-ZV Latimer Investments,
Inc., and VVL, LLC-for which he opened Wells Fargo bank
accounts. As the sole shareholder, officer, director,
manager, and member, Latimer exercised exclusive control over
each company. There is no evidence that either entity
actually engaged in any legitimate business. Latimer did
however have his employer directly deposit his wages into the
companies' bank accounts after 25% was garnished. Through
all of this, Latimer would periodically transfer various
funds from the companies' bank accounts to his wife's
personal bank account. The transfers arose from Holly
Latimer's requests for money for household and family
purposes on an as-needed basis. The district court found that
Holly remained in a state of "deliberate ignorance"
regarding the precise nature of the transfers. The court also
found that notwithstanding some extravagant spending of the
money on her part, the transferred funds were used for
legitimate household and family purposes.
December 2015, the Clarkes filed their complaint against
Holly seeking a judgment in the total amount of the transfers
plus prejudgment interest, attorney's fees, and costs. On
March 17, 2017, following a bench trial, the district court
ruled in favor of the Clarkes. In a written Findings of Fact
and Conclusions of Law, the court awarded a judgment of $252,
868.41, which was the specific amount sought by the Clarkes
at trial. The court did not award fees or costs after
concluding that there was no prevailing party in the action.
The court also ordered the Clarkes to file a partial
satisfaction of judgment in their separate case against Zach
for the amount of the new judgment against Holly.
the Clarkes filed a motion for prejudgment interest pursuant
to Idaho Code sections 55-916 and 28-22-104, seeking $81,
619.32. The motion was denied from the bench. On April 27,
2017, the Clarkes filed a partial satisfaction of judgment in
their case against Zach, as well as their objection to the
district court's order. At that time, the Clarkes also
STANDARD OF REVIEW
as to prevailing party, prejudgment interest, and
attorney's fees and costs are committed to the sound
discretion of the trial court and will not be altered absent
an abuse of that discretion. Jorgensen v. Coppedge,
148 Idaho 536, 538, 224 P.3d 1125, 1127 (2010); Dillon v.
Montgomery, 138 Idaho 614, 617, 67 P.3d 93, 96 (2003);
Bingham v. Montane Res. Assocs., 133 Idaho 420, 427,
987 P.2d 1035, 1042 (1999). To determine if a trial court
abused its discretion, this Court considers whether the trial
court perceived the issue as one of discretion, acted within
the outer boundaries of that discretion, acted consistently
with the applicable legal standards, and reached its decision
by an exercise of reason. Jorgensen, 148 Idaho at
538, 224 P.3d at 1127.
district court found that the transfers between Zach and
Holly Latimer were voidable under the Uniform Fraudulent
Transfer Act, I.C. §§ 55-910 to 55-921 (2012). In
2015, the Act was amended, which included its renaming to the
Uniform Voidable Transactions Act and some minor
modifications to the substantive statutes. I.C. §§
55-910 to 55-922 (2017). Because a ...