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Mid Dakota Clinic P.C. v. Livengood

Supreme Court of North Dakota

April 25, 2017

Mid Dakota Clinic P.C., a corporation, Plaintiff and Appellant
v.
Sara L. Livengood, Defendant

         Appeal from the District Court of Burleigh County, South Central Judicial District, the Honorable Gail Hagerty, Judge.

         REVERSED.

          Clifton G. Rodenburg, Amanda L. Wiebolt, and Eeva M. Greenley, P.O. for plaintiff and appellant; submitted on brief.

          Sara L. Livengood, defendant; no appearance.

          OPINION

          VandeWalle, Chief Justice.

         [¶ 1] Mid Dakota Clinic appealed a district court's order denying its motion to vacate a satisfaction of judgment. We conclude the district court abused its discretion in failing to vacate the erroneously filed satisfaction of judgment. We reverse.

         I.

         [¶ 2] A default judgment was entered against Sara Livengood in December 2008. In 2012, Mid Dakota Clinic's counsel filed a "Full Satisfaction of Judgment" with the district court. However, this filing contained errors; the document had Mid Dakota Clinic and Livengood's case number but different parties listed as plaintiff and defendant. The clerk of the district court apparently accepted the document without cross-checking the names of the parties with the case file number and it became part of the record in this case. According to Mid Dakota Clinic, the satisfaction was supposed to be filed in the listed plaintiff/defendant case, not the numbered case and Livengood has yet to satisfy Mid Dakota Clinic's judgment against her.

         [¶ 3] In 2016, Mid Dakota Clinic attempted to collect on the judgment and discovered the satisfaction of judgment in the record. Upon discovering the erroneous document, Mid Dakota Clinic moved the district court to vacate it. Although Livengood was served with a notice of the motion, she did not respond. The district court denied the motion. Mid Dakota Clinic moved the district court to reconsider its denial; the district court denied the motion for reconsideration.

         [¶ 4] On appeal, Mid Dakota Clinic argues the district court abused its discretion in not vacating the erroneously filed satisfaction of judgment.

         II.

         [¶ 5] Mid Dakota Clinic moved to vacate the erroneous filing under Rule 60(a) of the North Dakota Rules of Civil Procedure. N.D.R.Civ.P. 60(a) states:

The court may correct a clerical mistake or a mistake arising from oversight or omission whenever one is found in a judgment, order, or other part of the record. The court may do so on motion or on its own, with notice. But after an appeal has been docketed in the Supreme Court and while it is pending, such a mistake may be corrected only with the Supreme Court's leave.

         [¶ 6] We review orders denying Rule 60(a) motions under an abuse of discretion standard. Erickson v. Olsen, 2016 ND 33, ¶ 11, 875 N.W.2d 535. A district court "abuses its discretion when its acts in an arbitrary, unreasonable, or unconscionable manner, or when it misinterprets or misapplies the law." Norberg v. Norber g, 2017 ND 14, ¶ 7, 889 N.W.2d 889 (quoting Grager v. Schudar, 2009 ND ...


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