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Newman v. Estate of Hobbic

Court of Appeals of Kentucky

February 2, 2018

DAVID NEWMAN APPELLANT
v.
ESTATE OF JOSEPH K. HOBBIC; BETTY HOBBIC, CO-ADMINISTRATRIX OF THE JOSEPH K. HOBBIC ESTATE; AND DEANNA MAHONEY, CO-ADMINISTRATRIX OF THE JOSEPH K. HOBBIC ESTATE APPELLEES

         APPEAL FROM JEFFERSON CIRCUIT COURT HON. ANGELA MCCORMICK BISIG, JUDGE ACTION NO. 09-CI-007083

          BRIEF AND ORAL ARGUMENT FOR APPELLANT: Harry B. O'Donnell IV Louisville, Kentucky

          BRIEF AND ORAL ARGUMENT FOR APPELLEES: Stephen A. Schwager Louisville, Kentucky

          BEFORE: JONES, D. LAMBERT, AND TAYLOR, JUDGES.

          OPINION

          TAYLOR, JUDGE:

         David Newman brings this appeal from an Opinion and Order of the Jefferson Circuit Court entered July 16, 2015, and an order entered February 9, 2016, denying Newman's Kentucky Rules of Civil Procedure (CR) 59.05 motion, all of which adjudicated the validity of a judgment lien filed by the Estate of Joseph K. Hobbic, Betty Hobbic, co-administratrix of the Joseph K. Hobbic Estate; and Deanna Mahoney, co-administratrix of the Joseph K. Hobbic Estate (the Estate). We affirm.

         On March 13, 2008, after a jury trial, the Estate obtained a judgment against Newman in the total amount of $21, 000, with interest of 12 percent per annum and costs.[1] Thereafter, on January 26, 2009, the Estate filed a Notice of Judgment Lien (judgment lien notice) against real property owned by Newman in Jefferson County. The judgment lien was filed in accordance with Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) 426.720.[2] The notice of judgment lien identified Newman as the judgment debtor and informed him that the Estate was attaching a judgment lien upon all real property located in Jefferson County that Newman possessed an ownership interest therein.

         Subsequently, on July 15, 2009, the Estate filed a complaint for foreclosure in the Jefferson Circuit Court against, inter alios, Newman to enforce its lien claim. The Estate asserted that a valid judgment lien existed upon real property owned by Newman that was located at 6009 Athens Drive, Louisville, Kentucky. The Estate claimed that the 2008 judgment remained unsatisfied and sought to enforce its judgment lien and collect the judgment indebtedness through a judicial sale of the real property.

         The Estate eventually filed a motion for summary judgment, again arguing that it possessed a valid judgment lien upon Newman's real property. Thus, the Estate maintained the real property owned by Newman should be sold by the master commissioner to satisfy the 2008 judgment. Newman conversely argued that the judgment lien notice was defective as it failed to strictly adhere to the requirements of KRS 426.720. As such, Newman asserted that the lien was not valid and the Estate was not entitled to enforce its judgment lien against his real property.

         By Opinion and Order entered July 16, 2015, the circuit court granted the Estate's motion for summary judgment and order of sale. The circuit court determined that the Estate's judgment lien notice complied with KRS 426.720 and was valid. Newman then filed a CR 59.05 motion to vacate the Opinion and Order. On February 9, 2016, the circuit court entered an Opinion and Order denying the CR 59.05 motion, corrected a clerical error regarding judgment interest, and granted a judgment and order of sale, which was also rendered on this date. This appeal follows.

         To begin, summary judgment is proper where there exists no material issue of fact and movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. CR 56. Steelvest, Inc. v. Scansteel Service Center, Inc., 807 S.W.2d 476 (Ky. 1991). All facts and inferences therefrom are viewed in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Id. Additionally, the interpretation of a statute is an issue of law whereupon our review is de novo. Pearce v. University of Louisville, 448 S.W.3d 746 (Ky. 2014). Our review proceeds accordingly.

         Newman initially contends that the judgment lien notice was invalid because it failed to strictly comply with the mandates of KRS 426.720. In particular, Newman asserts that the judgment lien notice failed to properly state the interest rate on the judgment, failed to state that court costs were awarded, failed to include the complete text of KRS 427.060, failed to include the "header" of KRS 427.060, and erroneously included an additional sentence not contained in KRS 427.060. As the judgment lien notice did not strictly comply with KRS 426.720, Newman argues that the judgment lien is invalid and not enforceable against his property.

         A judgment lien is a statutory creature; its provisions and requirements for perfection are set forth in KRS 426.720, [3] which provides:

A final judgment for the recovery of money or costs in the courts of record in this Commonwealth, whether state or federal, shall act as a lien upon all real estate in which the judgment debtor has any ownership interest, in ...

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