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Orwig v. Orwig

Supreme Court of North Dakota

March 14, 2019

Steven Mark Orwig, Plaintiff and Appellee
v.
Mary Caroline Orwig, Defendant and Appellant Orwig's Livestock Supplements, Inc., Orwig's Tubs International Inc., and MVP Transport, Inc., Plaintiffs and Appellees
v.
Mary C. "Marcy" Orwig, Defendant, Third-Party Plaintiff, and Appellant
v.
Steven Orwig, Third-Party Defendant, and Appellee

          Appeal from the District Court of Dickey County, Southeast Judicial District, the Honorable Cherie L. Clark, Judge.

          Gregory W. Liebl (argued) and Lee M. Grossman (on brief), Fargo, ND, for plaintiff, appellee, and third-party defendant Steven Mark Orwig.

          Ashley K. Champ (argued) and Michael T. Andrews (appeared), Fargo, ND, for plaintiffs and appellees Orwig Livestock Supplements, Inc., Orwig's Tubs International Inc., and MVP Transport, Inc.

          Jonathan T. Garaas, Fargo, ND, for defendant, appellant, and third-party plaintiff.

          OPINION

          MCEVERS, JUSTICE.

         [¶1] Mary Orwig appeals from three district court orders finding her in contempt of court and from an order denying her motion to vacate the contempt orders. We conclude Mary Orwig failed to timely appeal two of the contempt orders, and we dismiss her appeal of those orders. We reverse and remand the remaining contempt order. We affirm the order denying the motion to vacate.

         I

         [¶2] In September 2016, Steven Orwig sued Mary Orwig for divorce. The Orwigs co-own Orwig's Livestock Supplements, Inc.; Orwigs Tubs International, Inc.; and MVP Transport, Inc. ("Corporations"). Before the divorce lawsuit, the Corporations sued Mary Orwig, alleging she made unauthorized transactions on the Corporations' behalf, including opening credit card accounts in the Corporations' names and using them for personal use. The Corporations also alleged Mary Orwig wrongfully detained and controlled their property. The Corporations requested the district court to enjoin Mary Orwig from transacting business on behalf of the Corporations and to remove her as an officer and director of the Corporations.

         [¶3] The district court consolidated both lawsuits and granted a preliminary injunction against Mary Orwig in October 2016, prohibiting her from transacting business on behalf of the Corporations and taking other actions adverse to the Corporations. In December 2016, the court ordered her to return corporate property in her possession.

         [¶4] In February 2017, the Corporations moved for contempt against Mary Orwig, alleging she violated the preliminary injunction and order to return corporate property and continued taking actions adverse to the Corporations. In May 2017, Steven Orwig moved for an order to sell the parties' Arizona real property, claiming its sale would resolve the parties' financial problems. Mary Orwig opposed the sale, claiming that since 2014 she spent a majority of her time residing on the property.

         [¶5] After a June 2017 hearing on the parties' motions, the district court issued a July 31, 2017, order finding Mary Orwig in contempt of the December 2016 order to return corporate property. The court ordered her to return certain corporate property, including credit card and tax information. The court also ordered the sale of Steven and Mary Orwig's Arizona property.

         [¶6] At a September 28, 2017, hearing, the district court found Mary Orwig in contempt for impeding the sale of the Arizona property. The October 9, 2017, order required Mary Orwig to allow the parties' realtor on the property within two weeks. The order also stated another hearing would be scheduled within three weeks to address Mary Orwig's compliance with the court's earlier orders.

         [¶7] The district court found Mary Orwig in contempt of the October 9, 2017, order at a October 19, 2017, hearing. Steven Orwig's attorney informed the court Mary Orwig continued to deny access to the Arizona realtor. The court issued its c o n te mpt order on November 13, 2017. The order required Mary Orwig to pay the other parties' attorney's fees and stated Mary Orwig "shall be imprisoned for a period of six (6) months, or until compliance with the aforementioned Order is achieved, whichever is shorter."

         [¶8] Mary Orwig moved to vacate the July 31, October 9, and November 13, 2017 contempt orders, arguing the district court violated her due process rights and did not have jurisdiction to order the sale of the Arizona property. The court denied her motion. On December 20, 2017, Mary Orwig filed a notice of appeal challenging the July 31, ...


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