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AOR Direct L.L.C. v. Bustamante

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division

August 4, 2016

AOR DIRECT L.L.C., an Arizona limited liability company, Petitioner,
THE HONORABLE LORI HORN BUSTAMANTE, Judge of the SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF ARIZONA, in and for the County of MARICOPA, Respondent Judge, BUTEO L.L.C., an Arizona limited liability company; SCOTT G. MILLER and JENNIFER MILLER, husband and wife, Real Parties in Interest.

         Petition for Special Action from the Superior Court in Maricopa County No. CV 2013-008508 The Honorable Lori Horn Bustamante, Judge

          Quarles & Brady LLP, Phoenix By Isaac M. Gabriel Counsel for Petitioner

          Fennemore Craig, P.C., Phoenix By Gerald L. Shelley, Alexander R. Arpad, Todd Kartchner, Courtney R. Beller Counsel for Real Parties in Interest

          Judge Randall M. Howe delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Presiding Judge Andrew W. Gould and Judge Kent E. Cattani joined.


          HOWE, Judge

         ¶1 AOR Direct, LLC seeks special action relief from the trial court's setting the amount of the supersedeas bond that Buteo, LLC and Scott and Jennifer Miller (collectively, "Buteo") must post at less than half of the total damages awarded to AOR. AOR argues that A.R.S. § 12-2108 and Arizona Rule of Civil Appellate Procedure 7 mandate that the supersedeas bond amount be set as $614, 687.07, the total amount of damages awarded to AOR, the prevailing party.

         ¶2 We accept special action jurisdiction because AOR challenges the setting of a supersedeas bond, see City Ctr. Exec. Plaza, LLC v. Jantzen, 237 Ariz. 37, 39 ¶ 2, 344 P.3d 339, 341 (App. 2015), and has "no equally plain, speedy and adequate remedy by appeal, " Ariz. R. P. Spec. Act. 1(a). Because the trial court erroneously set the supersedeas bond at the total amount of damages awarded, less the amount of a prejudgment provisional remedy bond previously released to AOR and an attorneys' fees award from a separate action, we grant relief to AOR and vacate the court's order. We remand the matter for the trial court to set the supersedeas bond at $614, 687.07, the total amount of damages awarded to AOR.


         ¶3 In January 2012, AOR lent Buteo $400, 000. Buteo signed a promissory note for the loan and Scott Miller signed the guaranty, both promising to repay AOR the money at 8% interest per year, but if Buteo were to default, the interest would rise to 17% per year. The note matured on December 15, 2012, and stated that the "amount of each payment received shall be applied by [AOR] first to any costs and expenses of [AOR] for which [Buteo] is responsible hereunder, and thereafter to pay interest hereunder, in arrears, and thereafter to unpaid principal hereunder." The note further stated that "[Buteo] shall pay all costs and expenses, including attorneys' fees and court costs incurred in the collection or enforcement of all or part of this Convertible Note."

         ¶4 In 2013, AOR sued Buteo for breach of the note and breach of the guaranty and applied for a prejudgment provisional remedy in the form of a writ of attachment for Buteo's personal property ("2013 case"). AOR alleged that Buteo defaulted on its obligations under the note by failing to make timely payments and to pay all amounts due upon maturity. As relief, AOR requested judgment in the principal sum of $400, 000, accrued and accruing interest and late fees, any other costs, and attorneys' fees pursuant to the loan documents and A.R.S. § 12-341.01.

         ¶5 After an evidentiary hearing, the trial court granted AOR's application for a prejudgment provisional remedy. The court ordered that a writ would attach to all of Buteo's personal property and all amounts due to or payable to Buteo on account of his ownership interest in any entity, unless Buteo agreed to post a $200, 000 bond as security for "any judgment" that AOR obtained. Buteo agreed to post the $200, 000 bond, and the court ordered that the provisional remedy bond "remain in place through . . . judgment of this matter or upon further order of the Court."

         ¶6 Buteo filed a counterclaim, and in July, AOR moved for summary judgment on its two breach of contract claims. The trial court granted summary judgment in October, but declined to certify the judgment under Arizona Rule of Civil Procedure 54(c) because of the pending counterclaim. See Ariz. R. Civ. P. 54(c) ("A judgment shall not be final unless the court states that no further matters remain pending and that the judgment is entered pursuant to Rule 54(c).").

         ¶7 After intervening litigation and almost two years later in December 2014, AOR brought another action against Buteo, requesting that the trial court appoint a receiver to manage the company and dissolve Buteo's limited-liability-company status ("2014 case"). In September 2015, the trial court dismissed Buteo's counterclaim and entered a final judgment in AOR's favor in the 2013 case. The court awarded AOR $614, 687.07 in damages, consisting of $400, 000 in principal and $214, 687.07 in accrued interest; $224, 840 in attorneys' fees; and $5, 890.91 in taxable costs. It also awarded AOR post-judgment interest. The court ordered that the $200, 000 provisional remedy bond "be released immediately to AOR" "to be applied against the Judgment amounts stated herein." In the same judgment, the court also dismissed the 2014 case with prejudice.

         ¶8 The court subsequently amended its previous final judgment removing its order dismissing the 2014 case and issued another final judgment in the 2014 case in Buteo's favor. The court awarded Buteo $116, 627.21 in attorneys' fees, $394.08 in ...

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