Thursday, June 28, 2007

Summary 2007 WY 103

Summary of Decision issued June 28, 2007

[SPECIAL NOTE: This opinion uses "Universal Citation" and was given an "official" citation when issued. You should use this citation whenever you cite the opinion, with a P.3d parallel citation. You will note that all of the paragraphs are numbered. When you need to provide a pinpoint citation, the universal portion of the citation will use that paragraph number. The pinpoint citation in the P.3d portion should include the reporter page number. If you need assistance, please contact the Wyoming State Law Library.]

Summaries are prepared by Law Librarians and are not official statements of the Wyoming Supreme Court.

Case Name: Olsen v. Kilpatrick & Malcom

Citation: 2007 WY 103

Docket Number: 06-190

Appeal from the District Court of Laramie County, the Honorable Peter G. Arnold, Judge

Representing Appellant (Defendant): Daniel E. White of Woodard & White, PC, Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Representing Appellees (Plaintiffs): Gay Woodhouse and Lori L. Brand of Gay Woodhouse Law Office, PC, Cheyenne, Wyoming. Argument by Ms. Woodhouse.

Issues: Whether the district court abused its discretion when it entered an injunction against Appellant prohibiting him from violating the protective covenants of the subdivision where Appellant and Appellees own property. Whether the district court erred by refusing to join all landowners in the subdivision in a declaratory judgment action regarding the construction and validity of the covenants for that subdivision.

Facts/Discussion: Olsen challenged a district court ruling in favor of Kilpatrick regarding covenants governing the subdivision in which Olsen was building a pheasant farm.
The Court reviews the district court’s decision to grant injunctive relief for abuse of discretion. The permanent injunction enjoined Olsen from conducting preliminary preparation, maintaining on the property any structure, from breeding, keeping, raising poultry or game birds, and from displaying signs on the property. Covenants are contractual and therefore interpreted and enforced according to the principles of contract law.

Permanent Injunction:
The Court was not convinced that the district court erred in relying on paragraph 4 in issuing its injunction. The law of contract plainly states that a contract is to be interpreted as a whole. The covenants were before the Court in their entirety having been entered into evidence at trial. The court’s consideration of paragraph 4 did not appear to constitute an abuse of discretion under the circumstances. The Court did not enter into an in-depth analysis of the district court’s discretion in this area because the order could be upheld on the basis of the parties’ intent as found in the contract. The Court stated it could uphold the district court’s decision based on the clear violation of paragraph 12 alone. The affirmative requirement that Olsen remove the pheasant pen from his land was not an abuse of discretion even in the face of Olsen’s compliance with the preliminary injunction.
Declaratory Relief:
Citing Revelle, the Court stated that the trial court provided effective relief through injunction so it was unnecessary to go further. The Court reversed the portions of the district court’s judgment that constituted declaratory relief as the injunctive relief provided effectively resolved the dispute between the parties.

Holding: The trial court did not abuse its discretion in granting injunctive relief because Appellant was in clear violation of Paragraph 12 of the covenants the court found to be in effect between the parties. The Court did not address the jurisdictional issues related to declaratory relief because the district court’s injunction provided full and effective relief to Appellee and effectively determined the rights of the parties to this action.

Reversed in part, affirmed in part.

C.J. Voigt delivered the decision.

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