Hayden R. FLEMING, et al., Plaintiffs/Appellants/Cross-Appellees,
Glen TANNER, Defendant/Appellee/Cross-Appellant, Jessica Tanner, Defendant/Appellee.
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from the Superior Court in Maricopa County; No.
CV2015-007971; The Honorable Lori Horn Bustamante, Judge.
AFFIRMED IN PART, VACATED IN PART
and Stein, PC, Mesa, By Henry M. Stein, Amy R. Wilson,
Counsel for Plaintiffs/Appellants/Cross-Appellees
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 attorneys 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 attorneys fees. The Flemings appeal from
that ruling. Glen cross-appeals, challenging the $50,000
award as well as the superior courts 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 Glens 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.
FACTS 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