Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Summary 2009 WY 26

Summary of Decision issued February 25, 2009

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

Case Name: Vargas Limited Partnership v. Four “H” Ranches Architectural Control Comm.

Citation: 2009 WY 26

Docket Number: S-07-0022

Appeal from the District Court of Laramie County, the Honorable Edward L. Grant, Judge.

Representing Appellant Vargas/Martin: Michael H. Reese, Cheyenne, Wyoming; Ronald L. Brown, Fort Collins, Colorado.

Representing Appellee Four “H”: John B. Rogers of Rogers and Rogers, PC, Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Facts/Discussion: Four “H” Ranches Architectural Control Committee (ACC) brought suit on behalf of adjoining landowners in a residential subdivision located in Laramie County to enforce the subdivision’s declaration of protective covenants and enjoin the construction or improvements of several buildings by Vargas Limited Partnership and Kit Martin (known collectively as Martin) on their property in the subdivision.

Real Party in Interest: Restrictive covenants are contractual in nature and are interpreted in accordance with principles of contract law. The real party in interest requirement protects a defendant from the vexation of a multiplicity of actions, with the possible burden of multiple recoveries, all emanating from the same cause. Although the parcel owners never developed a homeowners association, the Court noted that many courts have held that where lots in a subdivision are sold subject to common restrictive covenants an express reservation of a right of enforcing such covenants does not conclusively negate an intent that such covenants were also for the benefit and enforceable by other owners. Several owners of parcels in the Four “H” subdivision testified in support of the ACC’s enforcement action. If a homeowners association or one or more parcel owners were in the future to claim an enforcement right against Martin for covenant violations litigated in the instant action, they would be estopped to do so. The judgment in this action protects Martin.
Whether Construction was Incomplete: After examining the evidence in the record, the Court held that the district court’s findings of fact that the construction of Building A prime, Building A double prime, and Building B was incomplete were supported by the record.
Abuse of Discretion: The Court reviewed the district court’s order for Martin to remove the buildings in question in light of the record. The district court’s conclusions were drawn from objective criteria and demonstrated the proper exercise of sound judgment.

Conclusion: The judgment in the district court action protects Martin from future litigation of covenant violations. The record supported the conclusion that construction was incomplete. The district court’s conclusions were drawn from objective criteria such that the Court found no abuse of discretion.


J. Golden delivered the decision.

Link: http://tinyurl.com/dknbn2 .

[SPECIAL NOTE: This opinion uses the "Universal Citation." It was given an "official" citation when it was issued. You should use this citation whenever you cite the opinion, with a P.3d parallel citation. Please note when you look at the opinion that all of the paragraphs are numbered. When you pinpoint cite to a quote, you should cite to this paragraph number rather than to any page number. If you need assistance in putting together a citation using the Universal Citation form, please contact the Wyoming State Law Library.]

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