Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Summary 2014 WY 62

Summary of Decision May 14, 2014

Justice Fox delivered the opinion of the Court. Reversed.

Case Name: LEEKS CANYON RANCH, LLC, a Wyoming limited liability company; LEEKS CANYON, LLC, a Wyoming limited liability company; ELIZABETH LOCKHART and KELLY LOCKHART, wife and husband, Appellants v. CALLAHAN RIVER RANCH, LLC, a Wyoming limited liability company; and PORTER RIVER RANCH, LLC, a Wyoming limited liability company, Appellees

Docket Number: S-13-0173


Appeal from the District Court of Teton County, the Honorable Timothy C. Day, Judge

Representing Appellants: Weston W. Reeves and Anna M. Reeves Olson of Park Street Law Office, Casper, Wyoming; and Thomas N. Long and Aaron J. Lyttle of Long Reimer Winegar Beppler LLP, Cheyenne, Wyoming. Argument by Mr. Reeves.

Representing Appellees: James R. Belcher of Crowley Fleck PLLP, Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Date of Decision: May 14, 2014

Facts: The Jackson Hole Hereford Ranch was divided by a complicated series of conveyances between entities controlled by a brother and sister, two grandchildren of the original owner, who were unable to agree on the validity of language purporting to reserve or convey an easement from the sister’s property across the brother’s property. Brother (and the related entities he controls) sought quiet title and injunctive relief, asserting that the requirements for finding an express or implied easement had not been met; sister (and her husband and the related entities they control) filed a counterclaim asserting the existence of a valid easement. The district court found that the parties failed to sufficiently describe the easement as required by Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 34-1-141, and that the express easement was therefore void. Additionally, the district court found that because the parties specifically contemplated an easement, but failed to effectuate their intent, an implied easement was inappropriate.

Issues: 1) Did the grantor reserve part of the disputed easement when it conveyed parcels in 1992? 2) Is the easement language in the deeds specific enough to locate the easement in accordance with Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 34-1-141? 3) Is the easement appurtenant to the land or in gross? 4) Did the grantor convey an easement across Parcel 25 when it conveyed Parcel 19 to Elizabeth Lockhart in 1998?

Holdings/Conclusion: We reverse the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the Gills and remand with instructions that the district court enter summary judgment in favor of the Lockharts.

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

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