MARVEL BRUTE STEEL BUILDING v BASS

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Download PDF No. 14867 I N THE SUPFU3MF: COURT O F THE STATE O F MONTANA 1980 MARVEL BRUTE S T E E L B U I L D I N G , I N C . , DANTON D. WIRTH AND ROBERT DOWNS, P l a i n t i f f s and R e s p o n d e n t s , FRANK BASS, BASS AUCTION COMPANY, and PARKER MONTANA COMPANY, INC., D e f e n d a n t s and A p p e l l a n t s . Appeal from: D i s t r i c t C o u r t of t h e T h i r t e e n t h J u d i c i a l D i s t r i c t , H o n o r a b l e M. J a m e s S o r t e , Judge p r e s i d i n g . C o u n s e l of R e c o r d : For Appellants: R o b e r t L. Montana Johnson and T o r g e r S . O a a s , L e w i s t o w n , For R e s p o n d e n t s : C a l t o n Law F i r m , B i l l i n g s , Montana S u b m i t t e d on b r i e f s : M a y 2 7 , XEg Filed: 3 3 : I& - Decided: 1980 s i p i l lgea -- Mr. J u s t i c e D a n i e l J . S h e a d e l i v e r e d t h e O p i n i o n of t h e C o u r t . Defendants appeal from a judgment entered v e r d i c t i n Y e l l o w s t o n e County a w a r d i n g $ 7 , 0 0 0 plaintiffs warranty for in plaintiffs, fraudulent connection the sale of appeal jury and a breach tractor. of The i n a d d i t i o n t o moving t o d i s m i s s t h i s a p p e a l a s b e i n g u n t i m e l y f i l e d , have f i l e d a c r o s s - a p p e a l . defendants' a i n damages t o t h e misrepresentation with on W determine t h a t the e a p p e a l was n o t t i m e l y f i l e d a n d , t h e r e f o r e , must be dismissed. is cross-appeal subject Likewise, to the because same the impediment, that the plaintiffs' it, too, is dismissed. Just counsel would for before both be d e c i d e d the close of trial parties agreed that on b r i e f s w i t h o u t on April 13, any p o s t - j u d g m e n t a hearing. 1979, motions The p u r p o s e of t h i s a g r e e m e n t was s o t h a t t h e p r e s i d i n g j u d g e would n o t h a v e t o r e t u r n t o B i l l i n g s t o hear t h e motions. The d e f e n d a n t s ' a t t o r n e y claims motion the parties stipulated s u b m i t t e d upon c o m p l e t i o n of issue a binding plaintiffs' ruling attorney, that briefing within on a and fifteen the other would be deemed the judge would thereafter. The claims the that days hand, that s t i p u l a t i o n was n o t h i n g more t h a n a m u t u a l w a i v e r o f h e a r i n g s of post-judgment the m o t i o n s f o r t h e c o n v e n i e n c e of t h e j u d g e . s t i p u l a t i o n was, however, this Court has no Whatever record of it. F u r t h e r m o r e , a s s u m i n g t h e r e t o be a s t i p u l a t i o n i n e x i s t e n c e t h a t a m o t i o n would be deemed s u b m i t t e d upon " c o m p l e t i o n o f b r i e f i n g " , as the defendants contend, the s t i p u l a t i o n confer j u r i s d i c t i o n parties could not by this on t h e D i s t r i c t C o u r t t o d e c i d e t h e c a s e beyond t h e t i m e l i m i t a t i o n s e x p r e s s l y p r o v i d e d by r u l e . Here, after judgment defendants was filed entered, o f f i c i a l l y g a v e n o t i c e of their but motion before the e n t r y of j u d g m e n t . for a clerk new trial of court The j u r y r e t u r n e d w i t h i t s v e r d i c t on A p r i l 1 3 , 1 9 7 9 ; j u d g m e n t was e n t e r e d on A p r i l 20, 1 9 7 9 ; d e f e n d a n t s f i l e d t h e i r m o t i o n f o r a new t r i a l on A p r i l 23, 1 9 7 9 ; and t h e c l e r k o f c o u r t o f f i c i a l l y s e n t o u t n o t i c e o f entry of judgment stipulation on April 23, ( t h e c o n t e n t s of considered the matter 1979. which Pursuant to are disputed), s u b m i t t e d on b r i e f s . the oral the parties T h e r e was, however, no a g r e e m e n t a s t o when t h e b r i e f s would b e f i l e d . The d e f e n d a n t s w a i t e d for t h e y f i l e d t h e n o t i c e of a p p e a l . on May 15, 1979 d e n y i n g defendants filed plaintiffs then notice a t r i a l court ruling before The t r i a l c o u r t i s s u e d a n o r d e r t h e motion for of on appeal f i l e d a motion with a new June trial, and 1979. 12, the The t h i s Court t o dismiss t h e a p p e a l b e c a u s e i t had b e e n u n t i m e l y f i l e d . The i s s u e i s w h e t h e r t h e time period f o r f i l i n g n o t i c e of appeal expired t h i r t y days after the trial court order t h i r t y days a f t e r of May expired filed, and thirty thus, or whether expired it t h e m o t i o n f o r new t r i a l was s e r v e d - - t h a t t h i r t y d a y s a f t e r A p r i l 23, 1979. it 15, days after is, Under t h e c i r c u m s t a n c e s h e r e , the t h e n o t i c e of motion appeal for filed a new t r i a l was on J u n e 12, 1979 comes t o o l a t e . Rule 5 , I'4.R.App.Civ.P. requires that an appeal from a D i s t r i c t C o u r t j u d g m e n t m u s t be t a k e n w i t h i n t h i r t y d a y s f r o m t h e date of motion s e r v i c e of notice entry of judgment. Although a f o r a new t r i a l made p u r s u a n t t o R u l e 5 9 ( d ) , I'4.R.Civ.P. s t o p s t h e running of indefinitely. again a f t e r The the the thirty-day thirty-day trial enter submitted. an order period it d o e s n o t do s o generally within fifteen days after the the t r i a l court the matter is I f h e f a i l s t o r u l e by t h e t h e motion is c o n s i d e r e d d e n i e d , time s t a r t s running. s t a r t s running its order denying If t h e r e is a h e a r i n g , R u l e 5 9 ( d ) , M.R.Civ.P. f i f t e e n t h day, period, court has entered motion a f t e r a h e a r i n g . must of R u l e 5 9 ( d ) , M.R.Civ.P. and t h e a p p e a l Here t h e d e f e n d a n t s s e r v e d p l a i n t i f f s w i t h t h e m o t i o n on A p r i l 2 3 , 1 9 7 9 . A h e a r i n g on t h i s m o t i o n w a s r e q u i r e d w i t h i n t e n d a y s o f this d a t e of s e r v i c e u n l e s s c o n t i n u e d by t h e t r i a l c o u r t f o r a p e r i o d R u l e 5 9 ( d ) , M.R.Civ.P. of n o t t o e x c e e d t h i r t y d a y s . h e a r i n g was held ( b y agreement of the parties), B e c a u s e no the time for a p p e a l s t a r t e d r u n n i n g on May 3 ( t e n d a y s a f t e r d e f e n d a n t s s e r v e d The time f o r a p p e a l e x p i r e d on J u n e i t s m o t i o n f o r a new t r i a l ) . 2 , and t h u s , d e f e n d a n t s ' n o t i c e o f a p p e a l f i l e d on J u n e 1 2 came too late. Even t h o u g h t h e t r i a l c o u r t i s s u e d a n o r d e r on May 1 5 , 1979 denying t h e d e f e n d a n t s ' m o t i o n f o r a new t r i a l , the order was a n u l l i t y b e c a u s e it was i s s u e d a f t e r t h e t i m e had e x p i r e d u n d e r R u l e 5 9 , w i t h i n w h i c h t o r u l e on a m o t i o n f o r a new t r i a l . v. See L e i t h e i s e e r 348, 505 P.2d Montana S t a t e P r i s o n ( 1 9 7 3 ) , 1 6 1 Mont. W h a v e r e p e a t e d l y h e l d t h a t t h e time e 1203, 1206. and p r o c e d u r a l l i m i t a t i o n s f o r p o s t - j u d g m e n t 59 a r e m a n d a t o r y . Oils, K e l l y v. S e l l , Mont. Inc. 343, 574 P.2d Rule S e l l Paint Contractors (1978), & 1002, ( 1 9 7 4 ) , 1 6 4 Mont. motions under 1003; Armstrong v. 1 8 7 , 1 9 6 , 520 P.2d High C r e s t 1081, 1086. See a l s o , S e i b e l v . B y e r s ( 1 9 5 9 ) , 1 3 6 Mont. 3 9 , 4 6 , 344 P.2d 1 2 9 , 1 3 3 ( d e c i d e d b e f o r e our a d o p t i o n of t h e p r e s e n t r u l e s of p r o c e d u r e ) ; McVay v. McVay (1954), ( l i k e w i s e decided procedure) 1 2 8 Mont. before our 31, 34, adoption of 270 P.2d 393, 394 the present r u l e s of summarily denying . We plaintiffs' initially entered an motion dismiss, but to we, jurisdictional, reconsidering t h i s of issue. course, It order because are not the question precluded MCA, from is axiomatic t h a t j u r i s d i c t i o n a l d e f e c t s can be c o n s i d e r e d a t any s t a g e of t h e p r o c e e d i n g s . d o e s s e c t i o n 3-1-502, is Nor a s argued by t h e d e f e n d a n t s , p r e c l u d e t h e p l a i n t i f f s from r e n e w i n g i t s m o t i o n t o d i s m i s s . This s t a t u t e f o r b i d s o n l y a s u b s e q u e n t a p p l i c a t i o n f o r t h e same o r d e r t o a n y "other" court. judge, and n o t t h e r e n e w a l o f a m o t i o n b e f o r e t h e same Accepting t h e d e f e n d a n t s 1 argument t h a t t h e motion f o r a new t r i a l was t o be c o n s i d e r e d s u b m i t t e d t o t h e t r i a l c o u r t , o n l y upon c o m p l e t i o n of b r i e f i n g by b o t h s i d e s , would mean t h a t a t i m e period f o r an a p p e a l t o r u n c o u l d n e v e r be f i x e d . The p a r t i e s could c o n t r o l t h e time period s i m p l y by n o t g e t t i n g expeditiously this filed. For s i t u a t i o n h e r e from t h a t which e x i s t e d Northern, 1956. (1979), Inc. Furthermore, Mont we reason, . , distinguish i n B r i t t o n v. 6 0 1 P.2d extending the time the Burlington 1 1 9 2 , 36 S t . R e p . the defendants1 interpretation i n an u n t e n a b l e s i t u a t i o n the briefs for would result appeal thirty d a y s a f t e r t h e D i s t r i c t C o u r t r u l e d , whenever t h a t m i g h t b e . r u l i n g p r i n c i p l e of t h e r u l e s i s t o " s e c u r e t h e j u s t , The s p e e d y , and i n e x p e n s i v e d e t e r m i n a t i o n of every action." R u l e 1, M.R.Civ.P. and R u l e 6 ( b ) , M.R.Civ.P., expressly prohibit discretionary e x t e n s i o n s of any t i m e l i m i t s s e t u n d e r R u l e 5 9 ( d ) . The trial courts may not disregard the procedural r e q u i r e m e n t s g o v e r n i n g a m o t i o n f o r a new t r i a l a s s e t f o r t h i n Rule 5 9 ( d ) , by c o n v e n i e n c e of 161 Mont. i n d e f i n i t e l y extending one of 401, accomplish by 506 the parties. P.2d 1375, stipulation what time limits the C a i n v. for Harrington 1377. Nor can the District the (1973), the parties Court cannot a c c o m p l i s h by o r d e r . For cross-appeal the foregoing reasons, the appeal are dismissed. Justice and the We concur: Justices