Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Summary 2014 WY 17

Summary of Decision February 4, 2014

Chief Justice Kite delivered the opinion for the Court. Affirmed.

Case Name: TERRY MINER and COLLEEN MINER, Husband and Wife v. JESSE & GRACE, LLC, a Wyoming Close Limited Liability Company, and SNOWY RANGE HOUSING, LLC, f/k/a ZHAO & ZHOU, LLC, a Wyoming Close Limited Liability Company

Docket Number: S-13-0094

URL: http://www.courts.state.wy.us/Opinions.aspx

Appeal from the District Court of Albany County the Honorable Jeffrey A. Donnell, Judge

Representing Appellant: Dennis C. Cook and Craig C. Cook of Cook and Associates, P.C., Laramie, Wyoming. Argument by Mr. Dennis C. Cook.

Representing Appellee: Kelly Neville Heck and Elisa M. Butler of Brown & Hiser, LLC, Laramie, Wyoming. Argument by Ms. Heck.

Date of Decision: February 4, 2014

Facts: Appellants Terry and Colleen Miner purchased vacant property in Laramie, Wyoming. Shortly thereafter, they discovered that the back of a four-plex apartment building on an adjacent property encroached five feet onto their property, along the length of the apartment building. The Miners brought an action seeking a declaration that they own the encroaching portion of the apartment building and an order requiring that the building be partitioned and that Appellees Jesse & Grace, LLC and Snowy Range Housing, LLC (collectively the LLCs) be ejected from the encroaching portion of the building, or that the encroaching portion of the building be removed. The Miners also requested damages for trespass and an apportionment of rental income earned from the apartment building.

The district court entered partial summary judgment against the Miners on their claim to an ownership interest in the apartment building. Having concluded that the Miners had no ownership interest in the apartment building, the district court denied the Miners’ requests to eject the LLCs from the building, their request to partition the building, and their demand for a proportional share of the apartment building’s rental income. A bench trial was held on the remaining issues, and following that trial, the court ruled that the LLCs were entitled to an implied easement on the Miners’ property to accommodate the apartment building. The court then entered an order granting the LLCs an implied easement on the Miners’ property and enjoining the Miners from interfering with the LLCs’ use of that easement.

Issues: The Miners present the following issues on appeal: I. Whether the district court erred by denying [the Miners’] ejectment and trespass claims to assert ownership of the property underlying 20% of 388 Buchanan and the improvements thereon? II. Whether the district court erred when it interpreted the clear and unambiguous language of [the Miners’] deed to their property and found as a predicate to its determination of an implied easement that the 20% of 388 Buchanan that is located on [the Miners’] property is not an improvement to that property? III. Whether the district court erred by finding that [the LLCs] have an implied easement to occupy [the Miners’] property with their encroaching building and then by enjoining [the Miners’] access to that implied easement on their property? IV. Whether partition of the co-owned building known as 388 Buchanan or whether an injunction to remove the encroaching part of that building from [the Miners’] property is the appropriate remedy in this case?

The LLCs phrase the issues on appeal as: I. The District Court correctly decided that the physical structure of 388 Buchanan belongs to [the LLCs] and as such, [the Miners] are not entitled to recover under their claims for partition and ejectment. II. The District Court correctly decided that [the LLCs] have an implied easement over the portion of [the Miners’] property underlying 388 Buchanan and the requisite setback area.

Holdings/Conclusion: We affirm the district court’s order, and we order a limited remand for the purpose of considering whether a correction is needed, and if so, to make the clerical correction.

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

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