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State v. Lavallie

Supreme Court of North Dakota

March 24, 2015

State of North Dakota and Kesha Peltier a/k/a Kesha Lavallie, Plaintiffs State of North Dakota Appellee
v.
Dustin Lavallie, Defendant and Appellant

Appeal from the District Court of Rolette County, Northeast Judicial District, the Honorable Michael G. Sturdevant, Judge.

Ashley Marie Samuelson, Child Support Enforcement, Devils Lake, ND, for appellee; on brief.

Dustin Ray Lavallie, self represented, Belcourt, ND, defendant and appellant; on brief.

Opinion of the Court by Crothers, Justice. Daniel J. Crothers, Lisa Fair McEvers, Carol Ronning Kapsner, Dale V. Sandstrom, Gerald W. VandeWalle, C.J.

OPINION

Page 169

Crothers, Justice.

[¶1] Dustin Lavallie appeals from a district court order denying his motion for reconsideration of his motion to dismiss the registration of a South Dakota child support order. He argues the district court erred in determining he cannot challenge South Dakota's subject-matter jurisdiction. We affirm.

I

[¶2] Kesha Lavallie and Dustin Lavallie have a child who was born in 2010. Dustin Lavallie claims he was and is " an enrolled resident of the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation." He stated he is " temporarily confined to the North Dakota State Penitentiary," but upon release will return home to Belcourt, North Dakota. While he claims the child " was conceived, born and currently resides permanently on the reservation," the child's birth certificate states the child was born in Brown County, South Dakota.

[¶3] Kesha Lavallie filed for and received child support benefits from South Dakota from July 2011 to July 2012. South Dakota entered a support order on July 18, 2011. In August 2012, South Dakota Child Support registered the order in North Dakota, requesting the Devils Lake Regional Child Support Unit to enforce a child support order against Dustin Lavallie. The North Dakota district court notified Lavallie of the registered order and informed him that he had twenty days to request a hearing on the validity of the registration and that failure to contest the validity or enforcement of the registered order would result in confirmation and enforcement of the order. Lavallie failed to timely contest the order, which was registered in North Dakota on November 7, 2012. In May 2014, Lavallie moved to dismiss the order, asserting the South Dakota court lacked personal and subject-matter jurisdiction. The district court denied the motion to dismiss, finding the motion frivolous. Lavallie filed a motion to reconsider, arguing the court failed to consider his reply to the State's response to his motion to dismiss. The district court denied his motion to reconsider. Lavallie appeals from the order denying reconsideration of his motion to dismiss.

II

[¶4] A " district court's decision on a motion for reconsideration . . . is reviewed under the abuse of discretion standard." Motschman v. Bridgepoint Mineral Acquisition Fund, LLC, 2011 ND 46, ¶ 10, 795 N.W.2d 327. " A district court abuses its discretion only if it acts in an arbitrary, unreasonable, or unconscionable manner, if its decision is not the product of a rational mental process leading to a reasoned determination, or if it misinterprets or misapplies the law." Id. " Interpretation of a statute is a question of law which we review de novo on appeal." Johnson v. Johnson, 527 N.W.2d 663, 668 (N.D. 1995). Subject-matter jurisdiction cannot be waived and can be raised at any time in a proceeding. Trottier v. Bird, 2001 ND 177, ¶ 5, 635 N.W.2d 157. " The question of subject matter jurisdiction is a question of law and is reviewed de novo, if the jurisdictional facts are not in dispute." Ellis v. North Dakota State Univ.,

Page 170

 2010 ND 114, ¶ 8, 783 N.W.2d 825. " Analysis of a district court's ruling regarding personal jurisdiction is a question of law, which we consider under the de novo standard of review." Luger v. ...


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