J. MICHAELA BYRNES, Appellant (Defendant),
MICHAEL W. HARPER and CARLA JO HARPER, husband and wife, Appellees (Plaintiffs).
from the District Court of Johnson County The Honorable
William J. Edelman, Judge
Representing Appellant: Pro se
Representing Appellee: Christopher M. Wages, The Wages Group,
BURKE, C.J., and HILL, [*] DAVIS, FOX, and KAUTZ, JJ.
J. Michaela Byrnes sold property to Michael and Carla Jo
Harper on a contract for deed. A dispute arose over the
Harpers' right to prepay the contract and Ms. Byrnes'
obligation to deliver the deed, and the Harpers filed a
declaratory judgment action. The district court ruled in
favor of the Harpers and ordered Ms. Byrnes to pay attorney
fees and costs for discovery violations. Ms. Byrnes filed a
pro se appeal from both orders. We dismiss Ms.
Byrnes' appeal of the declaratory judgment ruling as
untimely, summarily affirm the order awarding fees and costs
for failure to present cogent argument or pertinent
authority, and grant the Harpers' request for sanctions
pursuant to W.R.A.P. 10.05.
We agree with the Harpers' statement of the dispositive
issues, which we restate as:
1. Did Ms. Byrnes file a timely notice of appeal from the
district court's declaratory judgment order?
2. Did Ms. Byrnes support her appeal from the order awarding
fees and costs with cogent argument or pertinent authority?
3. Should the Harpers be awarded sanctions pursuant to
Ms. Byrnes sold property in Johnson County to the Harpers on
a contract for deed dated September 1, 2015. Rather than
placing the deed in escrow, Ms. Byrnes retained the deed
until final payment. In November 2015, the Harpers notified
Ms. Byrnes that they had obtained financing and wished to pay
the outstanding balance on the contract for deed. The Harpers
made multiple requests that Ms. Byrnes deliver the deed to
the closing agent, but Ms. Byrnes refused.
On September 1, 2016, the Harpers filed a complaint for
declaratory judgment seeking a declaration that the contract
for deed allowed early payoff and required Ms. Byrnes to
deliver the deed. The Harpers also requested that the
district court order Ms. Byrnes to remove her personal