Coones v. FDIC

In Coones v. FDIC, 796 P.2d 803 (Wyo. 1990), the general exemption statutes, Wyo. Stat. Ann. 1-20-101 through 1-20-110, did not provide any provision for earnings exemption; however, the appellants in the case contended that a transferred application of the garnishment statute execution, 1-15-102, provided a basis for allowing a rancher or farmer to claim a seventy-five percent exemption of proceeds from the sale of non-purchase money livestock and seventy-five percent of the value of crops planted and livestock born after the security interest was perfected. Id. at 805. Coones rejected appellant's contention, first, by noting that Lingle State Bank of Lingle v. Podolak, 740 P.2d 392 (Wyo. 1987) provided no precedent because the statute addressed in it no longer existed, and, secondly, because the statutory language "earnings for personal services" could not be interpreted to include any income other than that periodically payable by a third party. Specifically, Coones stated: We find from a comparison of the changed phraseology that the broadly based rules found in earlier Wyoming law were constricted by the 1987 definition which itemizes a character of identical rights, e.g., wages, salary, commission, bonus and proceeds of any pension or retirement benefit or deferred compensation plan. Statutes are entitled to a reasonable interpretation and we consider the character of benefits clearly defined within a wage and salary characterization. Profits and business earnings are outside the meaning of wage and salary. This interpretation gathers support from the garnishment statute provision which recognizes an obligation to pay as being different from profit or business earnings which involve a right to receive. Appellants further contend that the word "otherwise" could suffice to provide entitlement for the broad character of rights found in Podolak to result from the prior statute. We cannot accept this thoughtful contention since its effect would be to disassociate the structure of the clause when relating to one character of exempt funds by adding an almost unlimited character of other funds which would have no particular validation within the constraints of a continuing wage garnishment statutory system. We limit any application of "otherwise" in W.S. 1-15-102(a)(vi) to a character of third party obligations payable for services rendered by the claimant for exemption. Intrinsic to the meaning of W.S. 1-15-102 are the provisions of W.S. 1-15-408 which are related to earnings for personal services periodically payable. Business profits and receipts from crop and livestock simply cannot be logically impressed with the garnishment concept. (Id. at 805-06.)