Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Summary 2007 WY 82

Summary of Decision issued May 15, 2007

[SPECIAL NOTE: This opinion uses "Universal Citation." It was given an "official" citation when issued. You should use this citation whenever you cite the opinion, with a P.3d parallel citation. You will also note that all of the paragraphs are numbered. When you need to provide a pinpoint citation to a quote, the universal portion of the citation will use that paragraph number. The pinpoint citation in the P.3d portion will need to have the reporter page number. If you need assistance in putting together a citation from this, or any future opinion using the Universal Citation form, please contact the Wyoming State Law Library.]

Summaries are prepared by Law Librarians and are not official statements of the Wyoming Supreme Court.

Case Name: Vroman v. Town & Country Credit Corp.

Citation: 2007 WY 82

Docket Number: 06-170

Appeal from the District Court of Laramie County, the Honorable Nicholas G. Kalokathis, Judge

Representing Appellant (Plaintiff): William D. Bagley, of Bagley, Karpan, Rose & White, Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Representing Appellee (Defendant): Dale W. Cottam and Billie L.M. Addleman, of Hirst & Applegate, PC, Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Issues: Whether the district court erred in failing to award damages for the injury resulting from the admitted negligence and admitted breach of contract of Town & Country. Whether the district court erred in failing to award punitive damages.

Facts/Discussion: Vroman initiated the instant case seeking damages for a mortgage refinancing transaction gone awry. Town & Country admitted liability. The district court entered its Judgment and Order in favor of Town & Country because it found that Vroman was not entitled to damages.
Standard of Review: The Court reviews a district court’s findings of fact under a clearly erroneous standard.
The purpose of compensatory damages is to place the injured party in the position he or she would have been in had the wrongful conduct not occurred. The Court found that the district court’s decision in the matter did not leave Vroman in the position she would have been in if Town & Country had adequately performed its duty. Vroman incurred damages because Beneficial’s mortgage and WyHy’s mortgage were not satisfied and released during the refinancing. In light of the Town & Country’s admission of liability and the undisputed evidence relating to the additional mortgage payments, the Court concluded that the district court erred in failing to award damages to Vroman to recoup the $13,969.93 she paid.
The district court denied claims for damages for the amount of closing costs on her house and rental property and to compensate for damage to her credit rating. The breach did not cause Vroman to incur the closing costs, so the Court agreed with the district court’s decision to decline to award money with respect to those claims. Vroman failed to prove that her credit rating suffered. The Court agreed with the district court’s decision to reject the damages claimed for lost rental income because the amount of cash that would be disbursed was clearly identified on the settlement statements signed at closing. Fraud was also alleged by Vroman. It must be established by clear and convincing evidence. Vroman failed to direct the Court to any evidence in the record supporting the allegation of fraud and as a result, the Court was unable to find the district court had erred in denying the claim.

Holding: The Court affirmed the district court’s decision denying punitive damages. The district court’s failure to award compensatory damages for the amounts Vroman incurred to satisfy her second mortgages was clearly erroneous. The Court reversed the district court’s decision denying compensatory damages and remanded.

Affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded in part.

J. Burke delivered the decision.

Link: http://tinyurl.com/2umf9e .

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