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Willner's Fuel Distributors, Inc. v. Noreen

882 P.2d 399 (1994)

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Willner’s Fuel Distributors, Inc. v. Noreen

Alaska Supreme Court

882 P.2d 399 (1994)

Facts

Thomas Rosson formed Rosson & Company, Inc., in 1983. The company was involuntarily dissolved by the state in 1985. In 1986, attorney Robert Noreen filed bankruptcy petitions for Rosson individually and the company, listing Willner’s Fuel Distributors, Inc. (Willner’s) (plaintiff) as a creditor, but the petitions were dismissed without discharging any debt. Meanwhile, Noreen filed a lawsuit on behalf of Rosson and his company against third parties alleging interference with a road-construction contract, and Willner’s sued Rosson and the company to collect their debt. Noreen appeared in the collection action only on behalf of Rosson. Willner’s learned the company had dissolved and applied for default judgment in February 1989. In March, Rosson settled the road-contract lawsuit for $100,000. Sometime “in the morning” on March 28, Noreen and Rosson went to the bank, where Noreen deposited the checks into his trust account and transferred $80,000 to Rosson, keeping $20,000 as his fee. Noreen claimed he did not know Willner’s was procuring a default against the company. The same day, the court entered a $25,257 default judgment for Willner’s. Noreen claimed he received a levy on his trust account sometime “in the afternoon.” Willner’s sued alleging Rosson and Noreen wrongfully disbursed the funds of an insolvent corporation and moved for summary judgment arguing Noreen made false statements responding to the court levy. The trial court concluded Noreen did not violate any duty to Willner’s and entered a final default judgment against Rosson. Willner’s appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Rabinowitz, J.)

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