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Harle v. Williams

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division

March 14, 2019

LYNN HARLE, Plaintiff/Appellee,
v.
MARK S. WILLIAMS, Defendant/Appellant.

          Appeal from the Superior Court in Maricopa County No. CV2010-050488 The Honorable Aimee L. Anderson, Judge (Retired)

          Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, PLC, Phoenix By John J. Egbert Co-counsel for Plaintiff/Appellee

          Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, PLC, Peoria By Garrett J. Olexa Co-counsel for Plaintiff/Appellee

          May Potenza Baran & Gillespie PC, Phoenix By Andrew A. Harnisch Counsel for Defendant/Appellant

          Judge Randall M. Howe delivered the decision of the Court, in which Presiding Judge Diane M. Johnsen and Judge Maria Elena Cruz joined.

          OPINION

          HOWE, JUDGE

         ¶1 Under A.R.S. § 12-1551(A) and (B), a party has ten years from the date a judgment is entered to enforce it unless the party renews it within that period, which extends the enforcement period another ten years. The issue in this case is whether a contractual agreement barring a party from executing on the judgment tolls the enforcement period. We hold that it does.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2Lynn Harle and Mark S. Williams were partners in a real estate venture. Harle sued Williams and others in 2010 alleging breach of their partnership agreement. Harle and Williams reached a settlement in May 2011 in which Williams agreed to pay $50, 000 in $500 monthly installments and waived his interest in certain real estate (the "Settlement Agreement"). The Settlement Agreement also called for entry of a $150, 000 stipulated judgment against Williams and included a covenant not to record or execute on the judgment as long as Williams timely made the monthly installment payments. If William ever failed to do so,

then without notice or action of any kind, this Covenant Not to Execute shall become null and void and Plaintiff shall be entitled to record and enforce the Stipulated Judgment, according to its terms, and Plaintiff shall be entitled to use any and all legal remedies available to it for the enforcement of the Stipulated Judgment.

         The court entered the stipulated judgment on May 23, 2011.

         ¶3 Williams timely paid under the Settlement Agreement until November 2014. Harle did not begin formal collection actions on the unpaid amounts until March 23, 2016, when he recorded the judgment and sought two writs of garnishment. He then conducted a judgment debtor's examination of Williams in June 2017.

         ¶4 Shortly after the debtor's examination, Williams contended for the first time that the judgment had expired under A.R.S. § 12-1551(B) because Harle did not timely renew it under A.R.S. § 12-1612. After briefing, the trial court determined that the judgment "remain[ed] enforceable because the period of enforceability was tolled while Plaintiff was legally barred from enforcing the judgment." It further determined that the judgment would remain "in full force and ...


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