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Cowboy's LLC v. Heather Hope Schumacher

Supreme Court of Wyoming

June 7, 2018

COWBOY'S LLC, a Wyoming limited liability company, Appellant (Defendant),
v.
HEATHER HOPE SCHUMACHER, Appellee (Plaintiff). COWBOY'S LLC, a Wyoming limited liability company, Appellant (Defendant),
v.
HEATHER HOPE SCHUMACHER, Appellee (Plaintiff). COWBOY'S LLC, a Wyoming limited liability company, Appellant (Defendant),
v.
HEATHER HOPE SCHUMACHER, Appellee (Plaintiff).

          Appeal from the District Court of Johnson County The Honorable William J. Edelman, Judge.

          Representing Appellant: Jeffrey J. Gonda, Mistee L. Elliott and J. Kyle Hendrickson of Lonabaugh and Riggs, LLP, Sheridan, Wyoming.

          Representing Appellee: J. Craig Abraham of Liberty Law Offices, Gillette, Wyoming.

          Before BURKE, C.J., and HILL [*] , DAVIS, FOX, and KAUTZ, JJ.

          BURKE, CHIEF JUSTICE.

         [¶1] Cowboy's LLC entered into a settlement agreement with Heather Hope Schumacher, but failed to pay her the money as agreed. Ms. Schumacher filed a motion to enforce the settlement agreement, and the district court granted her motion. Cowboy's challenges the district court's decision in this appeal. We affirm.

         ISSUES

         [¶2] Although Cowboy's stated the issue variously in its different briefs, the single issue raised by this appeal is whether the district court erred when it granted Ms. Schumacher's motion to enforce the settlement agreement and ordered Cowboy's to comply with it.

         FACTS

         [¶3] On March 15, 2013, Ms. Schumacher filed a pro se complaint against Cowboy's.[1] In it, she claimed that she had been granted a divorce in 2009, and that the divorce decree awarded her certain property, but that her ex-husband failed to convey the property to her. Ms. Schumacher further alleged that she had filed lien statements against this disputed property. Though it is not apparent from the complaint, other parts of the record indicate that the liened property was then owned by Cowboy's.

         [¶4] Cowboy's did not answer or otherwise respond to the complaint, and default was entered against it. The district court later set aside that default, and ordered Ms. Schumacher to file an amended complaint, allowing Cowboy's twenty days to file an answer to that complaint. No amended complaint was ever filed, however. Instead, the next significant pleading is a "Motion to Enforce Settlement Agreement" filed by Ms. Schumacher. In it, she asserted that the parties had reached a settlement agreement requiring Cowboy's to pay her $98, 742 in return for her release of all liens against Cowboy's property. She further asserted that Cowboy's had failed to pay her as agreed, and sought an order requiring Cowboy's to comply with the settlement agreement within a reasonable time.

         [¶5] The district court held a hearing on the motion, but instead of requiring Cowboy's to comply with the settlement agreement, the district court ordered the parties to "attempt to settle this matter without the necessity of further litigation by seeking private sale and/or performing on the Settlement Agreement." Attempts to settle apparently failed, and Ms. Schumacher filed a second motion to enforce the settlement agreement. She again asserted that Cowboy's had not complied with the agreement, and asked the district court for an order requiring Cowboy's to comply or, "in the alternative, " an "order requiring that the subject property be sold at public auction to the highest bidder."

         [¶6] The district court held a hearing on Ms. Schumacher's second motion to enforce the settlement agreement, but Cowboy's did not appear or otherwise respond to the motion. The district court found that Ms. Schumacher was "entitled to the benefit of the settlement agreement she entered into in this matter, " and ordered Cowboy's to perform as agreed by paying Ms. Schumacher $98, 742 within fifteen days of entry of its order. The district court further ordered that "in the event [Cowboy's] does not fully perform [its] obligations under the settlement agreement the subject property shall be sold by the Johnson County Sheriff to the highest bidder." Cowboy's appealed from that order.

         [¶7] Subsequently, Cowboy's filed a motion pursuant to W.R.C.P. 60(b) asking the district court to vacate its order enforcing the settlement agreement. In support of this motion, Cowboy's asserted for the first time that the district court had erred in enforcing the settlement agreement because Ms. Schumacher's liens against Cowboy's property were invalid or void. Later, Cowboy's filed a notice of appeal asserting that its motion to vacate the order was ...


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