Baker v. Tucker (Lawyers Weekly No. 15-07-0150, 12 pp.) (Martha Geer, J.) Appealed from Lee County Superior Court (Douglas Sasser, J.) N.C. App.
Holding: Where plaintiffs’ post-judgment motion pointed out to the trial court that its dissolution order did not account for a loan that the court had found plaintiff Derek Baker had made to the corporate plaintiff, plaintiffs’ motion was properly raised and granted pursuant to N.C. R. Civ. P. 59.
We affirm the amended judgment.
Although many of the grounds listed in Rule 59(a) address errors that involve a jury, Rule 59(a) also applies to bench trials.
Defendant argues that plaintiffs’ motion cannot be considered a Rule 59(a)(8) motion because plaintiffs failed to show that they objected to the alleged error of law at trial. However, this court has declined to strictly construe Rule 59(a)(8) when applied to an order entered after a bench trial.
In plaintiffs’ motion to amend, they allege that, despite having made a finding that plaintiff Baker had lent the corporation $85,588.37, the trial court failed to account for that liability in calculating how much money each party is owed after dissolution. Thus, by failing to account for the corporation’s liabilities and incorrectly calculating the total net worth of the companies, the trial court acted contrary to G.S. § 55-14-05.
In other words, the trial court misapprehended the relevant facts or misapplied the applicable law – grounds that this court has held to be valid grounds for relief pursuant to Rules 59(a)(7) and (9). Furthermore, under Elrod v. Elrod, 125 N.C. App. 407, 481 S.E.2d 108 (1997), the grounds stated in plaintiffs’ motion could also be considered a valid ground for amendment pursuant to Rule 59(a)(8), despite the lack of an objection raised at trial, because it concerns an error of law arising for the first time in the order.