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Stafford v. Fockaert

Supreme Court of Montana

February 25, 2014

GAIL STAFFORD, Plaintiff and Appellee,
v.
CHARLES FOCKAERT, Defendant and Appellant.

Submitted on Briefs: February 5, 2014

APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Second Judicial District, In and For the County of Butte-Silver Bow, Cause No. DV-12-302 Honorable Brad Newman, Presiding Judge

For Appellant: Charles Fockaert, (self-represented), Lakeside, Montana.

For Appellee: Quentin M. Rhoades, Alison Garab, Sullivan, Tabaracci & Rhoades, P.C., Missoula, Montana.

OPINION

Patricia Cotter Justice

¶1 Pursuant to Section 1, Paragraph 3(d), Montana Supreme Court Internal Operating Rules, this case is decided by memorandum opinion and shall not be cited and does not serve as precedent. Its case title, cause number, and disposition shall be included in this Court's quarterly list of noncitable cases published in the Pacific Reporter and Montana Reports.

¶2 Charles Fockaert (Fockaert) appeals from orders of the Second Judicial District Court, Silver Bow County, granting Gail Stafford's (Stafford) motion for judgment on the pleadings, denying Fockaert's motion for judgment on the pleadings, and denying Fockaert's motion for leave to amend his answer. We reverse.

ISSUES

¶3 A restatement of the dispositive issues on appeal is:

¶4 1. Did the District Court abuse its discretion in denying Fockaert's motion for leave to amend his answer?

¶5 2. Did the District Court err in granting Stafford's motion for judgment on the pleadings?

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

¶6 This case arises from Stafford's complaint against Fockaert asserting claims for unjust enrichment, constructive trust, and fraud. Both parties agreed that Stafford transferred $100, 000 to Fockaert's account with the Korea Exchange Bank in July 2010, and that Fockaert later refused or failed to repay the $100, 000. In his answer, Fockaert raised several affirmative defenses and argued that "no strings were attached to the funds" and "there was no time frame involved in the return of the funds." He also admitted the allegation set forth in paragraph 13 of the complaint, namely that: "On or about July 4, 2010, Stafford agreed to loan Fockaert $100, 000.00."

ΒΆ7 On April 11, 2013, Stafford filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings. She alleged that Fockaert's answer included admissions that: (1) Stafford had agreed to loan Fockaert $100, 000; (2) Stafford had transferred $100, 000 to his account; (3) Stafford had requested that he return the funds in August 2010; and (4) Fockaert had refused or failed to return the funds. In April and May 2013, Fockaert filed three motions: a motion to extend the time to respond to Stafford's motion ...


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