Rita Sue Rasnic, f/k/a Rita Sue Johnson, Plaintiff and Appellant
ConocoPhillips Company, and Norris Hildre and Beverly Hildre, Defendants, Norris Hildre and Beverly Hildre, Appellees
Appeal from the District Court of McKenzie County, Northwest Judicial District, the Honorable David W. Nelson, Judge.
Joshua A. Swanson, Fargo, N.D., for plaintiff and appellant.
Matthew H. Olson, Minot, N.D., for appellees.
Dale V. Sandstrom, Daniel J. Crothers, Lisa Fair McEvers, Gary H. Lee, D.J., Gerald W. VandeWalle, C.J. Opinion of the Court by Sandstrom, Justice. The Honorable Gary H. Lee, D.J., sitting in place of Kapsner, J., disqualified.
[¶1] Rita Sue Rasnic, formerly known as Rita Sue Johnson, appeals from a summary judgment quieting title to disputed mineral interests in McKenzie County to Norris and Beverly Hildre. Rasnic argues she is entitled to the disputed mineral interests because those mineral interests were subject to a mortgage held by her predecessor in interest, American State Bank. We conclude the plain language of the Hildres' 1988 mortgage applied only to mineral interests owned by them when the mortgage was executed and title to the disputed mineral interests, which was acquired by the Hildres after the mortgage was executed, did not inure to American State Bank as security for the Hildres' debt under N.D.C.C. § 35-03-01.2(4). We affirm the judgment quieting title in the disputed mineral interests to the Hildres.
[¶2] In 1988, the Hildres owned real estate in McKenzie County and some of the mineral interests underlying their land. In March 1988, they executed a mortgage on their real estate to American State Bank, " [i]ncluding all oil, gas, and other minerals in and under and to be produced from the prescribed property and owned of record by mortgagor." In March 1990, Norris Hildre's mother, Ruby Mortensen, executed a mineral deed conveying all of her mineral interests in the land to four grantees, including Norris Hildre, but reserving onto herself a life estate for her own life to receive any and all income from the property. Mortensen died in May 2004.
[¶3] In 1993, American State Bank obtained a judgment against the Hildres foreclosing the 1988 mortgage. The property subject to the mortgage was sold to American State Bank at a public auction, and in 1994, American State Bank received a sheriff's deed for the property. After a series of conveyances, Rasnic acquired the property identified in the sheriff's deed.
[¶4] The parties do not dispute that Rasnic now owns the mineral interests owned by the Hildres in 1988 when they executed the mortgage; rather, their dispute involves ownership of the mineral interests the Hildres received from Mortensen in 1990. Rasnic brought this action to quiet title to those disputed mineral interests, claiming the 1988 mortgage applied to the mineral interests the Hildres received from Mortensen in 1990. The Hildres answered and counterclaimed, alleging the 1988 mortgage applied only to mineral interests they owned of record in 1988. On cross-motions for summary judgment, the district court determined the mineral interests the Hildres received from Mortensen in 1990 were not subject to the 1988 mortgage and quieted title in the disputed mineral interests to the Hildres. The court explained the language in the 1988 mortgage encumbered only the mineral interests " owned of record by the mortgagor," which meant the mineral interests owned by the Hildres when they executed the mortgage in 1988. The court said the 1988 mortgage did not encumber the mineral interests received by the Hildres after the mortgage was executed and quieted title to the Hildres in the mineral interests they received from Mortensen in 1990.
[¶5] The district court had jurisdiction under N.D. Const art. VI, § 8, and N.D.C.C. § 27-05-06. Rasnic's appeal is timely under N.D.R.App.P. 4(a). This Court has jurisdiction under N.D. Const. art. VI, § ...