HAYDEN R. FLEMING, et al., Plaintiffs/Appellants/Cross-Appellees,
GLEN TANNER, Defendant/Appellee/Cross-Appellant, JESSICA TANNER, Defendant/Appellee.
from the Superior Court in Maricopa County No. CV2015-007971
The Honorable Lori Horn Bustamante, Judge
and Stein, PC, Mesa By Henry M. Stein, Amy R. Wilson Counsel
Carden Law Firm, PC, Scottsdale By Joshua W. Carden Counsel
Richter Law, PLLC, Scottsdale By Shawn Richter Counsel for
Kent E. Cattani delivered the opinion of the Court, in which
Acting Presiding Judge Paul J. McMurdie and Judge Samuel A.
This case involves a disagreement over an $800, 000 loan by
Hayden R. and LaDonna M. Fleming to their daughter Jessica
Tanner and her then-husband, Glen Tanner. The Flemings
settled their dispute with their daughter but pursued this
breach of contract case against Glen. The Flemings sought
damages of $50, 000 in principal and $184, 721.92 in
accumulated interest, plus attorney's fees and costs.
Following a bench trial, the superior court awarded the
Flemings $50, 000, but denied their claim for interest and
their request for attorney's fees. The Flemings appeal
from that ruling. Glen cross-appeals, challenging the $50,
000 award as well as the superior court's rejection of
his statute of limitations defense and his counterclaim
seeking an offset for the amount Jessica paid on the loan. We
conclude that the superior court correctly denied the
Flemings' claim for interest because the original oral
agreement between the Flemings and the Tanners contemplated
no interest at all. As to Glen's cross-appeal, we vacate
the award of $50, 000 payable by Glen to the Flemings because
Jessica already paid enough to satisfy the debt in full. We
affirm in all other respects.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
In May 2007, the Flemings agreed to loan the Tanners $800,
000 to assist them with the purchase of a home in Maricopa
County. The agreement was not in writing, and there was no
discussion of interest on the loan or a specified repayment
schedule. The Tanners agreed to repay the loan at some point
in the future, and the parties agreed that the loan would be
due and payable upon demand by the Flemings.
The Tanners made three payments to the Flemings totaling
$340, 000 between November 2008 and May 2011, sometimes in
response to the Flemings' request for partial repayment.
In May 2009, Glen transferred title to another property (the
"Terravita House") to the Flemings, subject to a
deed of trust and $360, 000 promissory note. When the
Flemings sold the Terravita House in 2013, Glen released the
deed of trust and the Flemings credited a $360, 000 payment
on the loan. All told, the Flemings credited the Tanners with
having paid a total of $700, 000.
In July 2015, the Flemings sued both Glen and Jessica (who by
then were divorced), seeking the remaining principal balance
of $100, 000 and 10% interest for the life of the
loan. In June 2016, the Flemings and Jessica
entered a written settlement agreement, with Jessica agreeing
to pay, as relevant here, what they characterized as $50,
000.00 in principal and $110, 567.76 in interest on the loan.
The Flemings and Jessica subsequently signed a written
addendum, amending their settlement agreement to provide that
if the court were to conclude that interest was not awardable
on the loan, the Flemings would refund the interest portion
of the settlement amount.
Glen filed an answer asserting that the Flemings' suit
was barred by the statute of limitations. He also included a
cross-claim against Jessica seeking indemnity for her half of
the loan and a counterclaim against the Flemings related to
the promissory note on the Terravita House. After granting
the Flemings' motion for summary judgment on Glen's
counterclaim, the superior court conducted a two-day bench
trial, addressing the Flemings' claim for breach of
contract and interest on the loan, Glen's statute of
limitations defense, and Glen's cross-claim against
Jessica. The superior court found that the loan was payable
on demand and that demand was made in April 2015, that Glen
breached by failing to repay the loan following the demand,
that Glen was not entitled to any credit for principal paid
by Jessica, and that the Flemings were entitled to $50,
000-the amount of unpaid principal. The court also ruled that
Glen was not entitled to relief on his cross-claim against
Jessica. The court declined to award interest to the
Flemings, concluding that the parties had not agreed that the
loan would bear interest. Additionally, the court declined to
award the Flemings attorney's fees.
The Flemings moved for a new trial regarding the denial of
their claim for interest and the denial of their request for
attorney's fees under A.R.S. § 12-341.01. The court
clarified that the Flemings were awarded taxable costs, but
otherwise denied the Flemings' motions. In September
2017, the court entered final judgment in favor of the
Flemings for $50, 000 and in favor of Jessica on Glen's
The Flemings timely appealed, and Glen timely cross-
appealed. We have jurisdiction under ...