from the District Court of McKenzie County, Northwest
Judicial District, the Honorable Robin Ann Schmidt, Judge.
E. Ward (argued) and Lawrence E. King (appeared), for
plaintiffs and appellees.
J. Hagel (argued) and Monte L. Rogneby (appeared), for
defendants and appellants Goliath Energy Services, LLC, and
1] In these consolidated appeals, Goliath Energy Services,
LLC, and George Satterfield challenge orders denying their
N.D.R.Civ.P. 60(b) motions to vacate default judgments
entered against them in favor of Monster Heavy Haulers, LLC,
and Rossco Crane and Rigging, Inc. We conclude the district
court acquired personal jurisdiction over the defendants in
the underlying actions and did not abuse its discretion in
denying the motions for relief from judgment. We affirm.
2] Monster is in the oil field construction, trucking, and
rigging business. Rossco is in the business of providing
various crane and rigging services. Goliath is a limited
liability company with its principal place of business
located in Grand Junction, Colorado, and it conducted
business in North Dakota. Satterfield is Goliath's
president and Karl Troestler was its chief financial officer.
Both Rossco and later Monster sued Goliath, Troestler, and
Satterfield to collect payment of outstanding balances owed
for services provided to Goliath. Rossco sought $95, 243.80
plus interest, and Monster sought $226, 431.35 plus interest.
3] Rossco commenced its action by service of the summons and
complaint through certified mail in November 2014. The
affidavit of service indicates that Goliath, Satterfield, and
Troestler were each served at three different addresses, two
in Grand Junction and one in Alexander, North Dakota. The
three return receipts from Alexander were signed by
"Larry Adams" and "J. Leigh, " who marked
the "Agent" boxes on the receipts. The six return
receipts from the two Grand Junction addresses were signed by
"Sherry Bley, " who did not mark either the
"Agent" or "Addressee" boxes. The
defendants did not file answers to the complaint.
4] After Rossco filed a motion for default judgment on
January 6, 2015, Satterfield phoned Rossco's attorney on
January 16, 2015, and requested that copies of the summons
and complaint and default judgment motion be emailed to him.
Rossco's attorney sent Satterfield a "test
email" to confirm his email address, and Satterfield
requested that the documents also be emailed to a Colorado
attorney. On January 16, 2015, Rossco's attorney emailed
the documents to Satterfield and copied them to the Colorado
attorney. On January 20, 2015, Satterfield sent an email to
Rossco's attorney, the Colorado attorney, and the North
Dakota attorney representing Goliath and Satterfield in these
appeals stating he had talked to Rossco's manager and
"they have agreed to stand down and work with me."
On January 21, 2015, Rossco's attorney emailed
Satterfield and copied it to the Colorado attorney and the
North Dakota attorney informing Satterfield that the judge
had signed the order for default judgment, but that
Rossco's attorney would "not prepare a judgment at
this time, in light of the apparent discussions/negotiations
between the parties."
5] On January 29, 2015, Rossco's attorney sent an email
to Satterfield informing him that he also represented Monster
and that Monster had filed a well and pipeline lien in
Billings County for a debt owed by Goliath. Satterfield asked
Monster's attorney to share this information with the
North Dakota attorney, but the North Dakota attorney told
Monster's attorney "[a]t this time you can
communicate directly with Goliath. I will let you know if
that changes." On February 23, 2015, Satterfield emailed
Monster's attorney to ask if Monster's position had
changed following Satterfield's direct communications
with Monster's general manager. However, the parties'
negotiations ultimately failed.
6] Monster commenced its action by service of the summons and
complaint through certified mail in March 2015. The affidavit
of service indicates Goliath, Satterfield, and Troestler were
each served at the same address in Grand Junction. Two return
receipts for Satterfield and Troestler were signed by
"Sherry Bley, " who indicated actual delivery
occurred at a different Grand Junction address. Neither the
"Agent" nor "Addressee" boxes were
marked. The defendants did not file answers to the compliant.
7] On May 7, 2015, Monster moved for a default judgment. The
defendants did not respond, and a default judgment in favor
of Monster for $240, 107.23 was entered on June 9, 2015. On
July 29, 2015, Rossco advised its attorney that negotiations
had also failed with the defendants. Rossco's attorney
filed the closing papers with the clerk of court, and a
default judgment was entered against the defendants in favor
of Rossco for $97, 233.04 on August 3, 2015.
8] After Monster moved to compel answers to interrogatories
in aid of judgment and execution, the North Dakota attorney
filed a notice of appearance on behalf of Goliath and
Satterfield. On November 23, 2015, Goliath and Satterfield
filed N.D.R.Civ.P. 60(b) motions to vacate the default
judgments obtained by both Monster and Rossco. Goliath and
Satterfield argued that service of process was insufficient
and that Monster and Rossco had failed to present adequate
proof to pierce Goliath's corporate veil and hold
Satterfield personally liable for the debts of Goliath. The
district court denied both motions for relief from the
The above-entitled matter having come before the Court on
hearing on February 2, 2016 at 2:30 pm in the Courthouse of
the above-named Court on the Defendants' Motion to Vacate
the Default Judgment[s] entered June 9, 2015 [and August 3,
2015] and the Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Answers to
interrogatories, and it appearing that service was
effectuated upon the Defendants, that the Defendants were
aware of the summons, complaint, motion[s] for default
judgment, and the default judgment[s], and that the
defendants failed to interpose an answer or other timely
response that the Defendants' Motion to Vacate Default
Judgment is not timely based on the facts presented and that
Defendants have not met their burden of proof as to the
defense of insufficiency of service of process and,
furthermore, the defense of insufficiency of service of
process was effectively waived by the Defendants'
deliberate failure to timely raise it[.]
and Satterfield appealed, and the appeals were consolidated
for consideration by this Court.
9] Goliath and Satterfield argue the district court erred in
denying their motions to vacate the default judgments under
10] In Shull v. Walcker, 2009 ND 142, ¶¶
13-14, 770 N.W.2d 274, this Court explained:
On appeal, to establish a basis for relief under N.D.R.Civ.P.
60(b) from a district court's denial of a motion for
relief from a default judgment, a party must show the
district court abused its discretion. US Bank Nat'l
Ass'n v. Arnold, 2001 ND 130, ¶ 21, 631 N.W.2d
150. A trial court abuses its discretion when it acts in an
arbitrary, unreasonable, or unconscionable manner, or when it
misinterprets or misapplies the law. Id. An abuse of
discretion by the trial court is never assumed and must be
affirmatively established, and this Court will not overturn a
court's decision merely because ...