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Woodie v. Whitesell

Supreme Court of Wyoming

November 14, 2019

PAUL A. WOODIE and KIMBERLY A. WOODIE a/k/a KYMBERLY A. WOODIE a/k/a KYM WOODIE, husband and wife, Appellants (Defendants),
v.
JANET WHITESELL, Appellee (Plaintiff). PAUL A. WOODIE and KIMBERLY A. WOODIE a/k/a KYMBERLY A. WOODIE a/k/a KYM WOODIE, husband and wife, Appellants (Defendants),
v.
JANET WHITESELL, Appellee (Plaintiff).

          Appeal from the District Court of Teton County The Honorable Timothy C. Day, Judge

          Representing Appellants: William R. Fix and Jessica Simons of Fix Law Office, Jackson, Wyoming; Larissa A. McCalla, Wyarno, Wyoming. Argument by Ms. McCalla.

          Representing Appellee: John R. Goodell of Racine Olson, PLLP, Boise, Idaho.

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

          KAUTZ, JUSTICE

         [¶1] Janet Whitesell sued Paul and Kimberly Woodie (Woodies) in the district court in Teton County, Wyoming, seeking to collect on a promissory note (Note). The Woodies executed the Note in Idaho and delivered it to Ms. Whitesell in payment for real estate located in Idaho. The Note was originally secured by a deed of trust in the property. At the time of the transaction, neither party had any connection with Wyoming. The Woodies filed several motions to dismiss the Wyoming lawsuit, asserting the Wyoming district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction and the lawsuit was barred by the statute of limitations. The district court denied the Woodies' motions to dismiss and granted summary judgment in favor of Ms. Whitesell. The Woodies challenge both rulings on appeal. We affirm.

         FACTS

         [¶2] In May 2011, Ms. Whitesell sold her home in Idaho to the Woodies for $225, 000. The Woodies paid $50, 000 with money they borrowed from Snake River Funding (Snake River) and delivered a $175, 000 promissory note to Ms. Whitesell for the balance. The Note called for the Woodies to make 47 monthly installments beginning July 1, 2011, and to make a balloon payment on July 1, 2015. In return, Ms. Whitesell delivered a warranty deed to the Woodies, which they recorded. The Woodies gave Snake River a first deed of trust in the subject property as security for the debt associated with the $50, 000 down payment and gave Ms. Whitesell a second deed of trust in the same property to secure the $175, 000 Note.

         [¶3] The Woodies made five (5) monthly payments to Ms. Whitesell. They stopped making payments on the Note in December 2011, asserting Ms. Whitesell failed to timely vacate the property. In September 2012, Ms. Whitesell recorded a Notice of Default in the property records in Idaho. The next month, Snake River, as senior lienholder, also recorded a Notice of Default and began foreclosure proceedings. Snake River foreclosed on the property; neither Ms. Whitesell nor the Woodies redeemed the property.

         [¶4] In July 2017, Ms. Whitesell filed this lawsuit in Teton County, seeking judgment against both Mr. and Mrs. Woodie on the Note. A Teton County deputy sheriff served Mr. Woodie with the complaint and a summons in Teton County, Wyoming. Shortly thereafter, without filing any challenge to the Wyoming court's personal jurisdiction over either defendant, Wyoming counsel entered an appearance on behalf of both Mr. and Mrs. Woodie. The Woodies later filed several motions to dismiss arguing, among other things, Ms. Whitesell's complaint was barred by the applicable Idaho statute of limitations and the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over her complaint. The district court denied the motions to dismiss.

         [¶5] Ms. Whitesell filed a motion for summary judgment with an affidavit stating the Woodies defaulted on the Note and establishing the balance due. The district court found there were no genuine issues of material fact and granted summary judgment in her favor.

         ISSUES

         [¶6] The issues presented by the Woodies are:

1. Did the district court have subject matter and personal jurisdiction?
2. Did the district court correctly apply the correct Idaho statute of limitations?
3. Did the district court fail to properly apply the Idaho Trust Deeds Act?
4. Did the district court err in awarding interest, attorney's fees and costs to Ms. Whitesell?

         DISCUSSION

         1. Did the district court have subject matter and personal jurisdiction?

         [¶7] In their issue statement, the Woodies claim the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction; however, a close reading of their argument shows they challenge ...


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