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Rohrer v. Bureaus Investment

July 7, 2010

PEGGY A. ROHRER, APPELLANT (DEFENDANT),
v.
BUREAUS INVESTMENT, GROUP NO. 7, LLC, APPELLEE (PLAINTIFF).



Appeal from the District Court of Big Horn County The Honorable Steven R. Cranfill, Judge.

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

Before KITE, C.J., and GOLDEN, HILL, VOIGT*fn1, and BURKE, JJ.

[¶1] Appellant, Peggy A. Rohrer (Rohrer), contends that the district court abused its discretion in denying her "Motion to Have Requests for Admission Deemed Denied, or in the Alternative to Withdraw Admissions." She also contends that the district court erred in granting summary judgment for Appellee, Bureaus Investment, Group No. 7, LLC (Group 7) because it had failed to present a prima facie case for summary judgment and because she came forward with evidence that created genuine issues of material fact. We reverse and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

ISSUES

[¶2] Rohrer raises these issues:

I. Whether the district court erred in denying [Rohrer‟s] Motion to have Requests for Admissions Deemed Denied, or in the Alternative, Motion to Withdraw Admissions, where the only evidence on the record establishes that [Rohrer] had denied the matters in the request for admissions and returned them to [Group 7] through the United States Postal Service, and where Rule 36 of the Wyo. R. Civ. P. allows for withdrawal of admissions where the moving party can show that presentation of the merits of the action will be subserved by allowing the withdrawal and the opposing party fails to demonstrate that they will be prejudiced by allowing the withdrawal.

II. Whether the district court erred in granting [Group 7‟s] Motion for Summary Judgment, finding that [it] had made and supported its motion for summary judgment as required by Rule 56 of the Wyo. R. Civ. Pro., where the rule requires there to be no genuine issues of material fact before summary judgment will be granted as a matter of law.

Group 7 did not provide a statement of the issues, but it argues that the district court‟s order denying Rohrer‟s motion to withdraw admissions was not an abuse of discretion and that the grant of summary judgment in Group 7‟s favor was sound.

PROCEEDINGS

[¶3] On August 6, 2007, Group 7 filed a complaint in the district court. A very similar amended complaint was filed on December 26, 2007. (The district court apparently asked Group 7 to file an amended complaint at an in-chambers conference on November 8, 2007. That proceeding was not reported and it is not included in the record on appeal.)

The amended complaint alleged that Group 7 owned a credit account in Rohrer‟s name. The complaint further alleged that Rohrer had obtained credit card account number ************9333 (hereafter "Account") from Chase Manhattan Bank (USA).

[¶4] Continuing, Group 7 alleged that Rohrer used the Account, that it had bought that Account, and the corresponding debt was now owed to Group 7. By using the Account, Rohrer agreed to its terms and owed "$5,504.61, as well as interest from the day following the last cycle date, 04/08/2004." Group 7 further contended that Rohrer owed reasonable attorney‟s fees and contractual interest "if provided in the attached agreement." Rohrer is alleged to have failed to make the payments due under the Account agreement. Because Rohr failed to make the payments, Group 7 alleged she owed it $6,682.15 plus contractual interest from 04/08/2004 (the contractual interest rate was 15.9900%). Group 7 contended that Rohrer also owed it prejudgment interest on that sum as well. Group 7 also contended that it would be "inequitable" for the district court to deny Group 7‟s claim for repayment of the sums at issue. A copy of the Account agreement was attached to the complaint.

[¶5] On August 31, 2007, and January 7, 2008, Rohrer, acting pro se, answered the complaints, generally asserting that she owed nothing and therefore could not owe any interest or attorney‟s fees either. She also claimed the money figures cited in the complaint were inaccurate and that she had steadfastly denied owing the claims made by Chase and Group 7. On January 7, 2008, Rohrer also filed a motion to dismiss due to lack of prosecution. That motion was denied by order entered on April 14, 2008. Rohrer filed another motion to dismiss due to lack of prosecution on July 17, 2008. Group 7 filed a motion for summary judgment on August 5, 2008. Attached to that motion was a copy of "Plaintiff‟s First Combined Discovery to Defendant." In that discovery request, Group 7 demanded that Rohrer admit to the following facts:

(1) Admit that you applied for a credit account with Chase.

(2) Admit that credit card number ************9333 was issued to you by Chase herein.

(3) Admit that you received at least one credit card for Credit Account ************9333.

(4) Admit that you received a card holder agreement, a copy of which is attached to the complaint, when you received the credit card ...


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