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Ironwood Commons Community Homeowners Association, Inc v. Randall

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division

April 4, 2019

IRONWOOD COMMONS COMMUNITY HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC, Plaintiff/Appellee,
v.
SHANNON K. RANDALL, Defendant/Appellant.

          Appeal from the Superior Court in Maricopa County TJ 2014-002225. The Honorable David W. Garbarino, Commissioner.

          Dessaules Law Group, Phoenix By Douglas C. Wigley, Jonathan A. Dessaules Counsel for Defendant/Appellant

          Maxwell & Morgan PC, Mesa By B. Austin Baillio, Rebecca L. Easton, Chad M. Gallacher Counsel for Plaintiff/Appellee

          Judge Michael J. Brown delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Presiding Judge Kenton D. Jones and Judge Jon W. Thompson joined.

          OPINION

          BROWN, JUDGE.

         ¶1 Shannon K. Randall appeals the trial court's ruling that an affidavit of renewal filed in the superior court of the county in which a transcript of a justice court judgment was docketed, instead of in the superior court of the county in which the judgment was obtained, complied with statutory renewal requirements. She also challenges the court's award of post-judgment attorneys' fees and costs. For the following reasons, we affirm the ruling that the judgment was properly renewed and the award of costs for the subsequent garnishment proceeding. We vacate, however, the award of attorneys' fees and remand for further proceedings.

         BACKGROUND

         ¶2 In 2011, the Casa Grande Justice Court (Pinal County) entered judgment in favor of Ironwood Commons Community Homeowners Association, Inc. ("Ironwood") and against Randall in the amount of $4, 089.05 arising from her delinquent assessments. The judgment included a clause purporting to award attorneys' fees and costs incurred in collecting the judgment. In 2014, Ironwood filed a transcript of judgment in the Maricopa County Superior Court and two days later recorded the judgment, also in Maricopa County.

         ¶3 To prevent the judgment from lapsing, Ironwood filed an affidavit of judgment renewal in the Maricopa County Superior Court in 2016, stating that the justice court judgment "ha[d] not been recorded or docketed in any other county." Ironwood then filed an application for garnishment, a post-judgment statement of costs, and an application for post-judgment attorneys' fees. The clerk of the court issued a writ of garnishment, and the trial court awarded attorneys' fees ($1, 130) and costs ($510.77).

         ¶4 Randall moved to quash the writ of garnishment, arguing execution on the judgment was prohibited under Arizona Revised Statutes ("A.R.S.") section 12-1551(B) because the judgment was not properly renewed. Randall also filed a motion to vacate the award of attorneys' fees and costs, asserting the award was not grounded in any statutory or contractual provision and the justice court judgment was invalid. Ironwood opposed both motions and also filed an application for order of continuing lien against Randall's non-exempt earnings, which the court granted.

         ¶5 During oral argument on the motions, Randall argued the justice court judgment expired because the affidavit of renewal should have been filed in the Pinal County Superior Court to give her proper notice. The trial court rejected the argument and, citing A.R.S. § 33-962(A) and § 12-1612(A), ruled that the "proper court" for filing a renewal affidavit was "the court where the judgment was docketed," which in this case was the Maricopa County Superior Court. The court upheld its previous award of attorneys' fees and costs to Ironwood and this timely appeal followed.

         DISCUSSION

         A. Proper Court for Judgment Renewal

         ¶6 Randall contends the justice court judgment cannot be enforced against her because it was not renewed in accordance with A.R.S. § 12-1612. We review issues requiring statutory interpretation de novo. State ex rel. Indus. Comm'n of Ariz. v. Galloway,224 Ariz. 325, 327, ¶ 7 (App. 2010). When interpreting statutes, we will "effectuate the text if it is clear and unambiguous." BSI Holdings, LLC v. Ariz. Dep't of Transp.,244 Ariz. 17, 19, ¶ 9 (2018). "In construing a specific provision, we look to the statute as a whole and we may also consider statutes that are in pari materia- of the same subject ...


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