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State v. White

Supreme Court of North Dakota

February 22, 2018

State of North Dakota, Plaintiff and Cassie A. Loibl, Plaintiff and Appellee
v.
Jeremy L. White, Defendant and Appellant

         Appeal from the District Court of Richland County, Southeast Judicial District, the Honorable Bradley A. Cruff, Judge.

          Tressie C. Brazil, Fargo, ND, for plaintiff and appellee, Cassie A. Loibl.

          Jessica L. Busse, Fargo, ND, for defendant and appellant.

          OPINION

          Crothers, Justice.

         [¶ 1] Jeremy White appeals a district court order denying his motions for relief from a judgment relating to primary residential responsibility and for contempt against Cassie Loibl. We affirm, concluding the court did not abuse its discretion in denying White's motions.

         I

         [¶ 2] White and Loibl have one child together, born in 2015. In March 2016, the State sued White to decide issues of child support, health insurance and who could claim the child for income tax purposes. White was incarcerated when the State filed its complaint. The Barnes County Sheriff personally served White with the complaint at the Barnes County Correctional Facility.

         [¶ 3] In May 2016, Loibl moved to establish parental rights and responsibilities. Loibl served White with the motion by mailing it to the Barnes County Correctional Facility and two other addresses in Valley City.

         [¶ 4] White did not respond to either the State's complaint or Loibl's motion. The district court entered a judgment awarding Loibl primary residential responsibility and sole decision-making responsibility of the child. The court awarded White supervised parenting time and ordered him to pay $575 per month in child support.

         [¶ 5] In February 2017, White moved for relief from the judgment under N.D.R.Civ.P. 60(b) and for contempt against Loibl. White claimed he did not respond to Loibl's motion because he did not receive the motion. He stated he was released from jail on March 4, 2016, and did not reside at the addresses to which Loibl mailed the motion.

         [¶ 6] After an April 2017 hearing the district court denied White's motions. The court found White failed to provide Loibl his address after she requested it from him and did not establish extraordinary circumstances warranting relief from the judgment.

         II

         [¶ 7] White argues the court abused its discretion by denying his motion for relief from the judgment. He claims extraordinary circumstances justify relief because he did not receive Loibl's motion.

         [¶ 8] We review a district court's denial of a motion for relief from a final judgment or order under N.D.R.Civ.P. 60(b) for an abuse of discretion. Anderson v. Baker, 2015 ND 269, ¶ 7, 871 N.W.2d 830. A district court abuses its discretion if it acts in an arbitrary, unconscionable, or unreasonable manner, if it misinterprets or misapplies the law or if ...


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