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Titan Machinery v. Kluver

Docket No. 20200021
Oral Argument: Thursday, September 3, 2020 10:45 AM

Docket Info

Title
Titan Machinery, Inc., Plaintiff and Appellee
v.
Renewable Resources, LLC., Defendant and Third-Party Plaintiff
and Appellee
v.
Shawn Kluver and Little Knife
Disposal, LLC., Third-Party Defendants and Appellants
----------
Titan Machinery, Inc., Plaintiff and Appellee
v.
Shawn Kluver Defendant and Third-Party Plaintiff
and Appellant
v.
Renewable Resources, LLC., Third-Party Defendant and Appellee

Case Type
CIVIL APPEAL : CONTRACTS
Appeal From
Case No. 2017-CV-03746
East Central Judicial District, Cass County
Tristan Jones Van de Streek
Oral Argument 9/3/2020

Parties' Statement of Issues

  • Appellant

    1. Whether the district court erred in its findings of fact.
    2. Whether the district court erred in holding Shawn Kluver liable on a personal guarantee, the purpose of which was to secure an account in Renewable Resources’ name, after Renewable terminated his employment.
    3. Whether the district court erred in holding Shawn Kluver liable on the personal guarantee beyond the $15,000 limit stated in the guarantee.
    4. Whether the district court erred in holding Little Knife Disposal liable for use of an excavator that was rented by Renewable, used in its business, and only brought to the Little Knife site during a time when Renewable Resources and its owners had wrongfully excluded Kluver and Little Knife from the site.
    5. Whether the district court erred in concluding that Kluver and Little Knife are required to indemnify Renewable for debts that Renewable incurred for its own benefit.
    6. Whether the district court erred in failing to require Renewable to indemnify Kluver for his liability under the personal guarantee that secured Renewable’s use of the rented excavator in its business.

  • Appellee 1

    Renewable Resources Statement of Issues:
    I. The district court did not err in its findings of fact.
    A. There is overwhelming evidence that the Case CX290B excavator rented from Titan Machinery benefited Little Knife Disposal and Shawn Kluver.
    B. The evidence supports holding Shawn Kluver responsible for Titan’s Machinery’s pick-up charge.
    II. The district court did not err in holding Little Knife Disposal liable for use of the Case CX290B excavator, when the extended use of the excavator was necessitated by Renewable Resource’s excavator being used at Little Knife Disposal and the rented excavator later being moved to the Little Knife Disposal location for use by Shawn Kluver and his company.
    III. The district court did not err in concluding that Shawn Kluver and Little Knife Disposal are required to indemnify Renewable Resources for a portion of the sums due and owing Titan Machinery when such sums were incurred because Little Knife Disposal was using Renewable Resources’ excavator and later used the rented excavator for their own benefit.
    IV. The district court did not err in failing to require Renewable Resources to indemnify Shawn Kluver for his liability under the personal guaranty

    Titan Machinery, Inc.Statement of Issues:
    I. The district court did not err in its findings of fact.
    A. The district court’s findings of fact and conclusions of law identified by Kluver and Little Knife are not subject to reversal.
    B. The district court did not err in finding that the contracts are commercially reasonable. i The Guaranty is not procedurally unconscionable.
    ii. The Guaranty is not substantively unconscionable.
    II. The district court did not err in holding Kluver liable under the Guaranty. A. Kluver executed an enforceable guaranty of payment.
    i. There was mutual consent between Titan and Kluver as to the Guaranty.
    ii. The Guaranty is both procedurally and substantively conscionable.
    B. Kluver is liable under the Guaranty whether the Guaranty was signed by Kluver or at Kluver’s direction and on Kluver’s behalf.
    III. The district court did not err in determining the extent of Kluver’s liability under the Guaranty.
    A. Kluver is liable for all amounts due and owing from Renewable Resources to Titan under the Guaranty.
    B. The handwritten notation to the Credit Application does not limit Kluver’s liability under the Guaranty.
    C. Kluver waived notice of any modification, amendment, or extension of the Rental Agreement pursuant to the express terms of the Guaranty.
    D. Kluver waived notice of any modification, amendment, or extension of the Rental Agreement by his conduct.


Summary

Shawn Kluver and Little Knife Disposal, LLC, appeal after they were ordered to pay $140,042.83 to Titan Machinery, Inc., and $100,731.62 to Renewable Resources, LLC.

Kluver was the general manager of Renewable Resources and the sole member of Little Knife Disposal. In July 2016, Renewable Resources leased an excavator and other equipment from Titan. Kluver executed a personal guaranty to ensure Renewable Resources’ payment obligations under the lease agreement. Renewable Resources returned the leased equipment in October 2017. The excavator was damaged during the lease and the excavator’s bucket was not returned. In November 2017, Titan sued Renewable Resources, and in October 2018, Titan obtained a $140,042.83 money judgment against Renewable Resources.

In January 2018, Renewable Resources sued Kluver and Little Knife, claiming they used the equipment leased from Titan and did not reimburse Renewable Resources. Renewable Resources requested that Kluver and Little Knife repay Renewable for their use of the equipment. In 2019, Titan sued Kluver, claiming he was liable for Renewable Resources’ obligations under the judgment Titan obtained against Renewable Resources.

After a November 2019 trial, the district court found Kluver and Little Knife used the equipment leased by Renewable Resources for their own benefit. The court found Kluver’s use of the leased equipment without authorization resulted in $100,731.62 in additional costs to Renewable Resources. The court also concluded Kluver was liable for all of Renewable Resources’ obligations under the judgment in favor of Titan.

On appeal, Kluver and Little Knife argue the district court erred in ruling they were liable for Renewable Resources’ obligations under the judgment in favor of Titan. They also claim the court erred in requiring them to indemnify Renewable Resources for their use of the leased equipment.


Briefs

Filing Date Description
05/14/2020 APPELLANT BRIEF View
06/12/2020 APPELLEE BRIEF (Titan Machinery, Inc.) View
06/15/2020 APPELLEE BRIEF (RENEWABLE RESOURCES) View

Counsel

Party Type Name
APPELLEE PRIVATE PRACTICE Jonathan Paul Sanstead - 05332
APPELLANT PRIVATE PRACTICE Ariston Edward Johnson - 06366
APPELLEE PRIVATE PRACTICE Jon R Brakke - 03554
APPELLEE PRIVATE PRACTICE James M. Cailao - 07086

(Note: Attachments may not be available for recently filed cases and/or confidential documents.)

Seq. # Filing Date Description Attachment
1 01/23/2020 NOTICE OF APPEAL : 01/23/2020
2 01/23/2020 ORDER FOR TRANSCRIPT : 01/28/2020
3 01/27/2020 Rec' $125.00 filing fee (receipt #27504)
4 01/28/2020 NOT. OF FILING NOT. OF APPEAL AND PROOF OF SERV.
5 01/28/2020 Notice Served on Ariston E. Johnson, James M. Cailao, Jon R. Brakke and Jonathan P. Sanstead
6 02/21/2020 ELEC. RECORD ON APPEAL DATED FEBRUARY 20, 2020 (ENTRY NOS. #1- #256)
7 03/05/2020 ELECTRONIC TRANSCRIPT DATED NOVEMBER 12, 2019
8 03/05/2020 ELECTRONIC TRANSCRIPT DATED NOVEMBER 13, 2019
9 03/05/2020 TRANSCRIPTS C.O.S.
10 03/31/2020 1ST ELEC. SUPP. RECORD ON APPEAL DATED MARCH 30, 2020 (ENTRY NOS. 257-265)
11 03/31/2020 ELEC. SUPP. RECORD ON APPEAL DATED MARCH 30, 2020 (ENTRY NOS. 266-267)
12 04/12/2020 MOT. EXT/TIME APPELLANT BRIEF
13 04/13/2020 ACTION BY CLERK - Granted : 05/14/2020
14 05/01/2020 3RD ELEC. SUPP. RECORD ON APPEAL DATED APRIL 30 (ENTRY NOS. 268-273)
15 05/14/2020 APPELLANT BRIEF View
16 05/14/2020 APPELLANT APPENDIX
17 05/15/2020 Oral Argument Request by Appellant
18 05/18/2020 Rec'd 5 copies of ATB & ATA from CSD
19 05/16/2020 4TH ELEC. SUPP. RECORD ON APPEAL DATED MAY 15, 2020(ENTRY NOS. 274-281)
20 05/19/2020 5TH ELEC. SUPP. RECORD ON APPEAL DATED MAY 19, 2020 (ENTRY NOS. 282-284)
21 05/28/2020 6TH ELEC. SUPP. RECORD ON APPEAL DATED MAY 27 (ENTRY NOS. 285-287 )
22 06/12/2020 APPELLEE BRIEF (Titan Machinery, Inc.) View
23 06/12/2020 Oral Argument Request by Appellee (Titan Machinery, Inc.)
24 06/15/2020 APPELLEE BRIEF (RENEWABLE RESOURCES) View
25 06/15/2020 Oral Argument Request by Appellee (Renewable Reources)
26 06/15/2020 APPELLEE APPENDIX (RENEWABLE RESOURCES)
27 06/17/2020 Rec'd 5 copies of AEB (Titan Machinery Inc.) back from CSD
28 06/21/2020 Rec'd non-substantive corrections to AEB and AEA (Renewable Resource
29 06/24/2020 Rec'd 4 copies of AEB/AEA (RR) from Central Duplicating
30 07/14/2020 7TH ELEC. SUPP. RECORD ON APPEAL DATED JULY 13, 2020 (ENTRY NOS. 288-289)
31 07/15/2020 8TH ELEC. SUPP. RECORD ON APPEAL DATED JULY 14, 2020 (ENTRY NOS. 290-292)
32 08/12/2020 NOTICE OF ORAL ARGUMENT SENT
33 08/24/2020 9TH ELEC. SUPP. RECORD ON APPEAL DATED AUGUST 21, 2020 (ENTRY NOS. 293-300)
34 09/02/2020 MOTION FOR PARTIAL DISMISSAL
35 09/02/2020 MOTION TO WAIVE ARGUMENT BY TITAN MACHINERY, INC.
36 09/02/2020 ACTION BY SUPREME COURT - Granted
37 09/03/2020 APPEARANCES: Ariston E. Johnson; Jonathan P. Sanstead
38 09/03/2020 ARGUED: Ariston E. Johnson; Jonathan P. Sanstead
39 09/03/2020 ORAL ARGUMENT WEBCAST