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SWC Production, Inc. v. Wold Energy Partners, LLC

Supreme Court of Wyoming

September 11, 2019

SWC PRODUCTION, INC., an Oklahoma corporation, Appellant (Defendant),
v.
WOLD ENERGY PARTNERS, LLC., a Delaware limited liability company, Appellee (Plaintiff).

          Appeal from the District Court of Converse County The Honorable F. Scott Peasley, Judge

          Representing Appellant: S. Thomas Throne of Throne Law Office, P.C., Sheridan, Wyoming.

          Representing Appellee: Thomas F. Reese and Will Reese of Williams, Porter, Day & Neville, P.C., Casper, Wyoming.

          Before DAVIS, C.J., and FOX, KAUTZ, BOOMGAARDEN, and GRAY, JJ.

          BOOMGAARDEN, Justice.

         [¶1] Appellant, SWC Production, Inc. (SWC), appeals the district court's denial of its W.R.C.P. 60(b) motion, arguing that two pieces of evidence, one of which it possessed and the other which was a matter of public record at the time of trial, constituted newly discovered evidence. SWC contends that it was not owing to a want of due diligence that it did not discover the documents in its physical possession or data available on the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission's (Commission) website prior to trial. The district court disagreed. Finding no abuse of discretion, we affirm.

         ISSUE

         [¶2] SWC raises one issue, rephrased as:

I. Whether the district court abused its discretion by denying SWC's W.R.C.P. 60(b) motion.

         FACTS

         [¶3] Since May 2015, Wold Energy Partners, LLC (Wold) has operated the Powell Pressure Maintenance Unit (Unit). SWC owns a non-operating working interest in the Unit. The Unit Operating Agreement (Agreement) outlines the parties' respective duties within the Unit. Wold, on December 20, 2016, sued for breach of contract, alleging SWC failed to pay its share of operating costs due under the Agreement. SWC counterclaimed, arguing breach of contract, conversion, and unjust enrichment against Wold. Subsequently, the parties filed motions for summary judgment.[1] On July 20, 2018, the district court granted Wold's motion for summary judgment and, on August 21, 2018, entered final judgment in favor of Wold in the amount of $123, 967.51, plus interest and attorneys' fees.

         [¶4] Following entry of final judgment, SWC discovered two items it characterizes as "newly discovered evidence." First, SWC discovered, "in another file," revenue distribution "check stubs" from Wold's predecessor-in-interest. Second, SWC discovered, on the Commission's website, production data Wold's predecessor-in-interest in the Unit submitted to the Commission. SWC filed a W.R.C.P. 60(b) motion to set aside judgment based on this "newly discovered evidence."[2] SWC alleged both items, taken together, proved Wold's predecessor-in-interest failed to pay SWC according to the Agreement-a liability SWC alleged Wold assumed when it became the operator of the Unit. The district court concluded that neither item of evidence was "newly discovered" and denied SWC's motion. SWC appealed.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         [¶5] We review the district court's denial of SWC's W.R.C.P. 60(b) motion for abuse of discretion. Campbell v. Hein, 2013 WY 131, ¶ 8, 311 P.3d 165, 167 (Wyo. 2013); Painovich v. Painovich, 2009 WY 116, ¶ 5, 216 P.3d 501, 503 (Wyo. 2009). "An abuse of discretion occurs where the district court could not reasonably have concluded as it did." Drury v. State, 2008 WY 130, ¶ 8, 194 P.3d 1017, 1019 (Wyo. 2008) (citing Thomas v. State, 2006 WY 34, ¶ 10, 131 P.3d 348, 352 (Wyo. 2006)). "[I]t is the movant's burden to bring his cause within the claimed grounds of relief and to substantiate these claims with adequate proof." Painovich, ¶ 5, 216 P.3d at 503 (citing In re ...


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