Friday, July 13, 2012

Summary 2012 WY 96

Summary of Decision July 12, 2012

Chief Justice Kite delivered the opinion for the Court. The Court affirmed the district court’s order and judgment with the exception that the Court vacated the costs awarded for legal research.

Case Name: WILLIAM R. FIX v. SOUTH WILDERNESS RANCH HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, a Wyoming unincorporated non-profit association and FRANK FORELLE.

Docket Number: S 11 0260

Appeal from the District Court of Teton County, Honorable James L. Radda, Judge.

Representing Appellant: William R. Fix, William R. Fix, P.C., Jackson, Wyoming.

Representing Appellee: South Wilderness Ranch Homeowners Association: Mathew E. Turner of Mullikin, Larson & Swift LLC, Jackson, Wyoming.

Representing Appellee: Frank Forelle: No appearance.
Date of Decision: July 12, 2012

Facts: The South Wilderness Ranch Homeowners Association (HOA) filed an action against William R. Fix to recover $2,500 in assessments he allegedly owed as a lot owner in the South Wilderness Ranches Subdivision. The HOA also sought interest and attorney fees. Mr. Fix denied that he owed the assessments and filed a counterclaim seeking a judicial determination that the covenants pursuant to which the assessments were to be paid were null and void. In the alternative, he sought damages for injuries he allegedly sustained when the HOA failed to enforce the covenants and allowed his neighbor to build a fence that violated the covenants.

After summary judgment proceedings, the district court entered an order granting judgment in favor of the HOA on its claim for the assessments, interest and attorney fees. Subsequently, the court severed Mr. Fix’s counterclaim from the rest of the case and entered judgment for the HOA on its complaint in the amount of the $2,500 assessments, plus pre-judgment interest, attorney fees and costs, for a total judgment of $22,077.38.

Mr. Fix appealed, claiming the district court erred in granting summary judgment against him on the HOA’s complaint and severing his counterclaim. He also claimed the attorney fees and costs awarded were excessive.

Issues: Mr. Fix, appearing pro se, presented the issues for the Court’s determination as follows:

I. The [district] court erred in granting summary judgment against the homeowner.

II. The [district] court awarded attorney fees that are excessive.

III. The severance ordered by the [district] court sua sponte constitutes error.

IV. The costs awarded by the [district] court are not permitted.

The HOA asserted the district court rulings were proper and sought leave to submit evidence of its fees, costs and expenses, including attorney fees, incurred in defending the appeal.
Holdings: The Court affirmed the district court’s order and judgment with the exception that the Court vacated the costs awarded for legal research.

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

[SPECIAL NOTE: This opinion uses the "Universal Citation." It was given an "official" citation when it was issued. You should use this citation whenever you cite the opinion, with a P.3d parallel citation. You will also note when you look at the opinion 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 and we will provide any needed assistance]

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