Thursday, January 16, 2014

Summary 2014 WY 6

Summary of Decision January 15, 2014

Justice Davis delivered the opinion for the Court. Revsered in part. Remanded in part. Affirmed in part.


Docket Number: S-13-0045


Appeal from the District Court of Laramie County the Honorable Thomas T.C. Campbell, Judge

Representing Appellant: J. Kent Rutledge and Shawnna M. Herron* of Lathrop & Rutledge, P.C., Cheyenne, Wyoming. Argument by Mr. Rutledge.

Representing Appellees Professional Assistance, LLC, d/b/a Summit Title Services and P. Olen Snider, Jr.: Kate M. Fox† and Amanda F. Esch of Davis & Cannon, LLP, Cheyenne, Wyoming. Argument by Ms. Esch.

Representing Appellee Kuzma Success Realty: Lindsay A. Woznick and Khale J. Lenhart of Hirst Applegate, LLP, Cheyenne, Wyoming. Argument by Mr. Lenhart.

Date of Decision: January, 2014

Facts: Appellants Alan and Chleo Moats (Moats) sold 850 acres of farm ground, intending to retain the mineral rights for themselves. The deeds prepared by Appellee Professional Assistance, L.L.C., d/b/a Summit Title Services did not reserve the minerals, even after the Moats were made aware of the omission at closing, insisted that it be rectified, and were assured by a Summit employee that the deeds had in fact been corrected. Approximately six years passed before the error was discovered, and the Moats sued Summit, its general counsel Appellee P. Olen Snider, Jr., and Kuzma Success Realty, the brokerage firm involved in the transaction. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of all Appellees, finding that the Moats failed to exercise due diligence to discover the error so as to extend the statute of limitation as a matter of law.

Issues: Are there genuine issues of material fact as to whether the Moats exercised reasonable diligence to discover their claims against Appellees under Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 1-3-107(a)(i)(B), and if not, were Appellees entitled to judgment as a matter of law under Wyoming Rule of Civil Procedure 56?

Holdings/Conclusion: We find that there are genuine issues of material fact as to whether the Moats exercised due diligence to discover errors allegedly made by Appellee Summit (Professional Assistance L.L.C.), and we therefore reverse the district court’s summary judgment. We also find that Appellee P. Olen Snider, Jr., failed to present a prima facie case that he was entitled to summary judgment, and we also reverse the district court’s summary judgment as to him. We find that the district court correctly found that there were no genuine issues of material fact as to the claims against Kuzma Success Realty, and we therefore affirm summary judgment against it. We remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

* Order Allowing Withdrawal of Counsel Shawnna M. Herron filed on July 10, 2013
† Notice of Withdrawal of Kate M. Fox filed December 13, 2013

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

[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. You will also note when you look at the opinion that all of the paragraphs are numbered. When you need to provide a pinpoint citation to a quote the universal portion of the citation will use that paragraph number. The pinpoint citation in the P.3d portion will need to have the reporter page number. If you need assistance in putting together a citation from this, or any future opinion using the Universal Citation form, please contact the Wyoming State Law Library and we will provide any needed assistance]

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