Appeal from the District Court of Mountrail County, Northwest Judicial District, the Honorable Gary H. Lee, Judge.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kapsner, Justice.
N.D. Supreme CourtWaldock v. Amber Harvest Corporation, 2012 ND 180 This opinion is subject to petition for rehearing. [Go to Documents]
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AFFIRMED. Opinion of the Court by Kapsner, Justice.
Waldock v. Amber Harvest CorporationNo. 20120064
[¶1] Joe Waldock appeals from a summary judgment quieting title to 25 percent of the mineral interests under a tract of land in Mountrail County in the successors in interest of the Estate of William C. Edwardson. Waldock argues the district court erred in deciding a 1954 administrator's deed from Edwardson's Estate to Waldock's predecessor in interest, Clark Van Horn, was equivalent to a quitclaim deed and in deciding the rule for interpreting mineral conveyances from Duhig v. Peavy-Moore Co., 144 S.W.2d 878 (Tex. 1940), was not applicable to the administrator's deed. We conclude the legal effect of the plain language of the administrator's deed conveyed 25 percent of the mineral interests to Waldock's predecessor in interest and reserved 25 percent of the mineral interests to Edwardson's Estate. We affirm.
[¶2] When he died, Edwardson owned 50 percent of the mineral interests under a tract of land in Mountrail County and the United States owned the other 50 percent of the mineral interests. After obtaining a county court order approving and confirming the sale, the administrator of Edwardson's Estate issued an administrator's deed to Van Horn in 1954, which "granted, bargained, sold and conveyed" all the right, title, estate, and interest of Edwardson in the land at the time of his death to Van Horn, but excepted and reserved to Edwardson's Estate 25 percent of all the minerals under the land:
NOW, THEREFORE, the said party of the first part as Administrator aforesaid pursuant to the order last aforesaid, and for and in consideration of the said sum of Four Thousand Seven Hundred ($4700.00) and no/100 Dollars, to his in hand paid by the said party of the second part, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, has granted, bargained, sold and conveyed, and by these presents does grant, bargain, sell and convey, unto the said party of the second part and his heirs and assigns, forever, all the right, title, estate and interest, of the said above named decedent, at the time of his death, and also all the right, title, and interest that the said estate, by operation of law or otherwise, may have acquired other than or in addition to, that of said deceased, at the time of his death, in and to all that certain lot, piece or parcel of land, situated, lying and being in said County of [Mountrail] and State of North Dakota and particularly described as follows, to-wit:
The East half of the Southwest Quarter (E1/2SW1/4) and Lots Three (3) and Four (4) Section Eighteen (18), Township One Hundred Fifty-one North (151N), Range Ninety West (90W) excepting and reserving unto said estate, its successors and assigns, forever, an undivided Twenty-five percent (25%) interest in all of the oil, gas, and other minerals upon, or in said land, together with such rights of ingress and egress as may be necessary for exploring for and mining or otherwise extracting and carrying away the same; and provided further that the purchaser shall settle for summerfallow and other like improvements upon the said land. (Emphasis added.)
[¶3] Van Horn's successor in interest, Waldock, brought this quiet title action against the Estate's successors in interest to determine ownership of the 25 percent interest in the minerals excepted and reserved to the Estate in the administrator's deed. On motions for summary judgment, the district court decided the plain language of the administrator's deed was equivalent to a quitclaim deed, which reserved 25 percent of the mineral interests to the Estate and granted Van Horn 25 percent of the mineral interests. The court decided the language in the administrator's deed did not result in an overconveyance of mineral interests to Van Horn and the rule for interpreting mineral conveyances from Duhig, 144 S.W.2d 878, was not applicable to the administrator's deed. The court decided Waldock was not entitled to any portion of the 25 percent interest in the minerals excepted and reserved to the Estate in the administrator's deed and quieted title to that 25 percent interest to the Estate's successors in interests.
[¶4] The district court decided this case by summary judgment under N.D.R.Civ.P. 56(c), which is a procedural device for promptly and expeditiously disposing of an action without a trial if either litigant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law and if no dispute exists as to either the material facts or the inferences to be drawn from undisputed facts, or if resolving factual disputes will not alter the result. Melchior v. Lystad, 2010 ND 140, ¶ 7, 786 N.W.2d 8. ...