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Shcharansky v. Komm

Court of Appeals of Iowa

July 6, 2017

ALEXANDER SHCHARANSKY and TATIANA SHCHARANSKY, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
ALEX KOMM, ILYA MARKEVICH, BORIS G. PUSIN, VADIM SHAPIRO, and DMITRY KHOTS, Defendants-Appellees,

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, David M. Porter, Judge.

         The plaintiffs appeal from the district court's dismissal of their action for equitable contribution.

          Mark E. Weinhardt and Danielle M. Shelton of The Weinhardt Law Firm, Des Moines, for appellants.

          Jason C. Palmer and Timothy N. Lillwitz of Bradshaw, Fowler, Proctor & Fairgrave, P.C., Des Moines, for appellees.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Potterfield and Bower, JJ. Blane, S.J., takes no part.

          POTTERFIELD, Judge.

         Alexander and Tatiana Shcharansky initiated an action against the five named defendants for equitable contribution, claiming they had paid more than their share of a joint debt to Wells Fargo and the defendants had been unjustly enriched as a result.[1] After a trial to the bench, the district court found that the Shcharanskys were not entitled to contribution because the source of the funds used to pay the debt was not the Shcharanskys'; although the money was in their personal accounts just before it was paid to the bank, the two of them had not actually paid more than their share. The Shcharanskys filed an Iowa Rule of Civil Procedure 1.904(2) motion to enlarge or amend, and the district court denied their motion. They then appealed.

         On appeal, the Shcharanskys contend the source of the funds used to pay the joint debt is immaterial; they urge us to reverse the ruling of the district court. In response, the defendants contend the Shcharanskys' 1.904(2) motion was not "proper, " so it did not toll the time for filing a timely appeal. They maintain we should find the Shcharanskys' appeal was untimely and dismiss it.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         This appeal concerns debt incurred by Continuous Control Solutions, Inc. (CCS). Prior to September 2007, CCS was owned by the named defendants- also known as the Shapiro Group-and the Shcharansky group, which included Alexander Shcharansky and two other parties not at issue in this appeal.

         In 2005 and 2006, CCS obtained several loans from Wells Fargo, totaling approximately $900, 000. CCS was the primary obligor on the debt, but each of the eight owners also personally guaranteed the debt.

         In September 2007, the Shcharansky Group bought out the Shapiro Group, pursuant to a written stock purchase agreement. In the agreement, the Shcharansky Group agreed to "use best efforts" to have CCS "satisfy and repay in full all debt obligations" of CCS "to Wells Fargo Bank, N.A."

         CCS did not make any principal payments to Wells Fargo. As a result, in October 2008, Wells Fargo filed a petition at law seeking to collect the amount due on two defaulted notes. In April 2009, judgment was entered in favor of the bank on its claims against CCS and the eight guarantors, in the amount of $909, 338.27 plus interest.

         In June 2009, Wells Fargo entered into a forbearance agreement with CCS, Alexander, and his wife, Tatiana. Tatiana had not previously been one of the guarantors of the debt-bringing the guarantors to a total of nine. As additional collateral to secure the forbearance agreement, Tatiana gave Wells Fargo a mortgage lien on a condo she owned in New York. Pursuant to the agreement, CCS agreed to make an initial payment of ...


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