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Jonas v. Jonas

Supreme Court of Montana

July 23, 2013

LINDA B. JONAS, Plaintiff and Appellee,
v.
EDWIN R. JONAS, III, Defendant and Appellant.

Submitted on Briefs: April 3, 2013

APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Twentieth Judicial District, In and For the County of Lake, Cause No. DV 09-388 Honorable C.B. McNeil, Presiding Judge

COUNSEL OF RECORD:

For Appellant: Ronald F. Waterman, Gough, Shanahan, Johnson & Waterman, PLLP; Helena, Montana.

For Appellee: Quentin Rhoades, Robert D. Erickson, Sullivan, Tabaracci & Rhoades, PC; Missoula, Montana.

OPINION

Michael E Wheat, Justice.

¶1 This is the third appeal brought by Edwin R. Jonas, III (Edwin) in this matter. E dwin appeals the denial of his August 1, 2012 motion to set aside a charging order and appointment of a receiver entered by the Twentieth Judicial District Court, Lake County. Linda B. Jonas (Linda) requests an order, pursuant to M. R. App. P. 19(5), directing Edwin and his former counsel, Ronald F. Waterman (Waterman) to personally satisfy the costs, expenses, and attorney fees she reasonably incurred from their pursuit of these proceedings We affirm the District Court's denial of Edwin's motion and also conclude that Linda is entitled to the requested award of fees and costs, to be imposed on Edwin.

ISSUES

¶2 The issues on appeal are:

¶3 1. Did the District Court err by denying Edwin's motion to set aside the charging order and the appointment of the receiver?

¶4 2. Is Linda entitled to an award of fees and costs pursuant to M. R. App. P. 19(5)?

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

¶5 Edwin's third appeal to this court follows years of protracted litigation in several states. Linda and Edwin were married for 26 years and have three children together. Linda filed for divorce in 1988 and their marriage was dissolved in 1990. On December 4, 2009, Linda filed a Notice of Filing of Foreign Judgment in Lake County, Montana, to domesticate a 2006 New Jersey state court judgment entered against Edwin. See § 25-9-501 to -508, MCA. T he New Jersey judgment had ordered Edwin to pay $243, 000.00 in unpaid alimony, $18, 000.00 in unpaid child support, $4, 759.50 in medical insurance and medical expenses for Linda and Edwin's children, and $103, 991.05 in attorney fees and costs. The total judgments entered against Edwin amounted to $695, 476.97, plus interest, which itself totaled $147, 205.35 as of December 31, 2005. T he judgments were affirmed by the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, and Edwin did not appeal to the New Jersey Supreme Court. Jonas v. Jonas, 2008 N.J. Super Unpub. LEXIS 1006, 2008 WL 239069 (N.J. Super A.D. January 30, 2008).

ΒΆ6 On December 29, 2009, Linda filed a motion seeking to satisfy the New Jersey judgment with Edwin's interest in Blacktail Mountain Ranch Co., LLC (BMR). BMR is a Nevada limited liability corporation licensed to do business in Montana with assets, including real property, located in Lake County. L inda's motion asserted that Edwin was the sole and managing member of BMR. She specifically sought a charging order, the appointment of a receiver, the foreclosure of Edwin's distributional interest in BMR, and the judicial dissolution, and winding up, of BMR. The motion explained that Linda sought to dissolve and wind up BMR and stated the legal bases for her claims. Linda also filed a notice of lis pendens on December 29, 2009, noticing Waterman and ...


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