Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Riddle v. Riddle

Supreme Court of North Dakota

February 22, 2018

Mona Jean Riddle, Plaintiff and Appellee
v.
Robert Neal Riddle, Defendant and Appellant

         Appeal from the District Court of Foster County, Southeast Judicial District, the Honorable James D. Hovey, Judge. AFFIRMED.

          Kara E. Brinster, Jamestown, ND, for plaintiff and appellee.

          Joshua Nyberg, Fargo, ND, for defendant and appellant.

          OPINION

          VandeWalle, Chief Justice.

         [¶ 1] Robert Neal Riddle appealed from a district court order denying his motion for new trial. We affirm.

         I

         [¶ 2] On October 14, 2016, a trial was held to settle the distribution of debts and assets between then husband and wife, Mona and Robert Riddle. Mona Riddle and Robert Riddle had previously entered a settlement agreement which was rescinded after Mona Riddle discovered Robert Riddle had concealed disability income and lied about various marital assets.

         [¶ 3] Due to a travel or scheduling conflict, Robert Riddle did not attend the trial. Robert Riddle did not make any pre-trial motions asking for a continuance or to be telephonically connected during the proceeding. Shortly before the trial began, counsel met in chambers and the district court permitted Robert Riddle to phone-in and make arrangements with the clerk to be connected. Robert Riddle was able to phone-in during part of the two-hour proceeding, but was disconnected at some point during the trial. Mona Riddle testified to various valuations of debts and assets in both her and Robert Riddle's possession. Robert Riddle did not testify. His counsel did not call any witnesses, offer any exhibits, and did not provide an 8.3 Property and Debt Listing.

         [¶ 4] On February 22, 2017, the notice of entry of judgment was served on Robert Riddle. The district court's order analyzed the Ruff-Fischer guidelines and awarded Robert Riddle approximately 47% and Mona Riddle 52% of the marital estate. On March 16, 2017, Robert Riddle filed a motion for new trial arguing there was an irregularity in the proceeding and newly discovered evidence. The district court denied Robert Riddle's motion because he failed to present grounds for new trial provided in N.D.R.Civ.P. 59(b)(1) and (4).

         II

         [¶ 5] "A district court's decision whether to grant or deny a new trial under N.D.R.Civ.P. 59(b) rests entirely within its discretion, and our review of a denial of a new trial motion is limited to deciding whether the court manifestly abused its discretion." Carroll v. Carroll, 2017 ND 73, ¶ 9, 892 N.W.2d 173. "A district court abuses its discretion when it acts in an arbitrary, unreasonable, or unconscionable manner, when it misinterprets or misapplies the law, or when its decision is not the product of a rational mental process leading to a reasoned determination." Id.

         [¶ 6] In his motion for new trial, Robert Riddle argued his counsel's conduct created an irregularity in the proceeding warranting a new trial under N.D.R.Civ.P. 59(b)(1). Robert Riddle also argued a new trial was necessary under N.D.R.Civ.P. 59(b)(4) because his counsel's failure to present relevant evidence at trial unfairly prejudiced him. Rule 59(b)(1) and (4) provides:

The court may, on motion of an aggrieved party, vacate the former verdict or decision and grant a new trial on any of the following grounds materially affecting the substantial rights of the party:
(1) irregularity in the proceedings of the court, jury, or adverse party, or any court order or abuse of discretion that prevented ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.