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Clark v. Ryan Park Prop. & Homeowners Ass'n

Supreme Court of Wyoming

December 30, 2014

FERN CLARK and TRAVIS CLARK, Appellants (Petitioners),
v.
THE RYAN PARK PROPERTY AND HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, Appellee (Respondent)

Appeal from the District Court of Carbon County. The Honorable Wade E. Waldrip, Judge.

Representing Appellants: Holli Austin-Belaski, Corthell and King, P.C., Laramie, Wyoming.

Representing Appellee: Douglas W. Bailey, Bailey, Stock and Harmon, P.C., Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Before BURKE, C.J., and HILL, KITE, DAVIS, and FOX, JJ.

OPINION

Page 289

BURKE, Chief Justice.

[¶1] Appellants, Fern and Travis Clark, brought an action against the Ryan Park Property and Homeowners Association seeking an order, pursuant to the Wyoming Nonprofit Corporation Act, requiring the Association to allow the Clarks to inspect and copy certain corporate records. The district court entered the order, but denied the Clarks' request to recover costs and attorney's fees. On appeal, the Clarks contend that the denial of attorney's fees and costs is contrary to the provisions of the Act. We will affirm.

ISSUE

[¶2] The Clarks present this issue, which we reword slightly for the sake of clarification:

Whether the district court erred by failing to adhere to the mandatory language of Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 17-19-1604 (LexisNexis 2011), when it ordered the Association to allow the Clarks to copy and inspect documents but denied the Clarks' request for attorney's fees and costs.

FACTS

[¶3] The Clarks, property owners in Ryan Park, Wyoming, and members of the Association, commenced an action in district court claiming that the Association had unlawfully denied their repeated requests to inspect and copy certain Association records. The Clarks claimed that the Association was required by statute to keep and maintain these documents, that the Clarks had a statutory right to inspect and copy them, and that the Clarks were entitled under the statutes to recover the costs and attorney's fees they had incurred in bringing the action. The Clarks moved for an order allowing them to inspect and copy the documents, and also sought an award of costs and attorney's fees.

[¶4] At the beginning of the hearing on the Clarks' motion, counsel for the Association told the district court that the Association had " no problem" with the court entering an order requiring it to produce the records because the Association had already complied with the Clarks' request for documents. Counsel for the Clarks indicated that the Clarks still wanted the district court to enter the order because they asserted they had not received all of the documents they had requested. They also maintained that they were entitled to recover costs and attorney's fees. The district court proceeded with the hearing.

[¶5] Soon after the hearing, the district court entered its order granting the Clarks' motion. The district court noted that the Association had stipulated to the entry of the order, and stated that the court concurred with that stipulation. Accordingly, it ordered that, " [a]s the parties have agreed, and as has already been done, the [Association] shall make available for copying and inspection those records requested by the Clarks that are in existence and in its possession or in the possession of its agents and which can be reasonably obtained." The district court declined to ...


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