FRANK A. DEEDE, Appellant (Defendant),
KERRY E. DEEDE, k/n/a KERRY E. WALLACE, Appellee (Plaintiff).
from the District Court of Fremont County The Honorable
Norman E. Young, Judge
Representing Appellant: Collin C. Hopkins, The Law Offices of
Collin Hopkins, PC, Riverton, Wyoming.
Representing Appellee:Frank B. Watkins, Frank B. Watkins, PC,
DAVIS, C.J., and BURKE [*] , FOX, KAUTZ, and BOOMGAARDEN, JJ.
Frank A. Deede challenges an order denying his motion to
reduce the amount he owes his ex-wife, Kerry E. Wallace,
pursuant to the terms of their divorce settlement agreement
and the district court's subsequent contempt orders. We
affirm and award sanctions.
1. Did the district court abuse its discretion when it denied
Mr. Deede's motion to modify amount due, which was based
on Mr. Deede's allegation that some of the underlying
debt was forgiven?
Ms. Wallace entitled to an award of attorney fees and costs
under W.R.A.P. 10.05?
Mr. Deede and Ms. Wallace were married on July 5, 1998, and
divorced on March 26, 2009. During their marriage, they
purchased real estate known as the Longpoint property. They
financed their $25, 000 down payment on the property with a
Bank of America credit card. The terms of their divorce
settlement awarded Mr. Deede the Longpoint property and
required him to pay several debts, including the balance on
the Bank of America credit card, by June 1, 2009. Mr. Deede
failed to make those payments; the district court found him
in contempt and ordered that he be jailed unless he made
arrangements to pay the debt. Instead of making such
arrangements, Mr. Deede filed for bankruptcy. Because no
payments were made on the Bank of America credit card, the
account went into default, and Bank of America threatened
collection against Ms. Wallace. Ms. Wallace made several
payments and then her father settled the debt. Ms. Wallace
later repaid her father. Ms. Wallace filed a Proof of Claim
with the bankruptcy court in the amount of $51, 282.62, which
was based upon payments that Mr. Deede owed under the terms
of the divorce settlement, payments Ms. Wallace had made on
the debt, and her attorney fees. Ms. Wallace received a
distribution of $9, 659.29 from the bankruptcy trustee on
August 1, 2016.
In November 2016, Ms. Wallace filed another request to hold
Mr. Deede in contempt because the remainder of his debt to
her was not discharged in bankruptcy and Mr. Deede had not
complied with the terms of the divorce settlement or the
prior contempt order. With additional attorney fees incurred
from the bankruptcy and second contempt proceedings, the
outstanding balance claimed by Ms. Wallace was $52, 157.83.
In February 2017, the district court found Mr. Deede in
contempt and ordered him to begin serving a 90-day jail term
in March 2017, unless he purged his contempt. The court
awarded Ms. Wallace a judgment of $41, 623.33, plus interest
and attorney fees in the amount of $1, 595.00. In April 2017,
Mr. Deede was jailed for failing to comply with the contempt
order. After serving 8 days, Mr. Deede's jail sentence
was suspended, and in August 2017, the district court entered
an order requiring Mr. Deede to pay Ms. Wallace $56, 055.41
on or before October 2, 2017, or serve the remaining 82 days
of his suspended jail sentence.
Mr. Deede filed a motion to stay his jail sentence and to
modify the amount due. He argued that he should be credited
for $27, 782.91 because, he alleged, Bank of America
cancelled that amount of debt when Ms. Wallace's father
settled with it. Bank of America issued a Form 1099-C,
indicating debt forgiveness in the amount of $27, 782.91. Ms.
Wallace contended that the amount forgiven was interest that
had accrued after the account went into default. Mr. Deede
argued that the amount could not have been for interest only
and that Bank of America had to have forgiven some of the
debt because it was not mathematically possible to have
generated over $27, 000 in interest on a $25, 000 charge.
After an unrecorded hearing, on October 24, 2017, the
district court denied Mr. Deede's motion, finding that
Mr. Deede had failed to prove that the amount due was
incorrect or that he "should otherwise be given a credit
against the Bank of America debt." Also on October 24,
the court entered an order releasing Mr. Deede from jail,
recognizing that he paid $26, 000.00 to Ms. Wallace, and
ordering him to pay the outstanding $30, 315.41 (which
included $860.00 ...