Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Rice v. Neether

Supreme Court of North Dakota

December 20, 2016

Cory M. Rice, Plaintiff and Appellant
v.
Joyce Neether, Defendant and Appellee

         Appeal from the District Court of Mountrail County, North Central Judicial District, the Honorable Todd L. Cresap, Judge.

         AFFIRMED.

          Ryan R. Dreyer (argued), and Daniel James Frisk, for plaintiff and appellant.

          Paul R. Sanderson and Nils J.D. Eberhardt (argued), for defendant and appellee.

          OPINION

          McEvers, Justice.

         [¶ 1] Cory Rice appeals the district court's judgment quieting title to real property in Joyce Neether. Because Rice failed to establish the deeds were delivered and N.D.C.C. § 47-09-06 creates a rebuttable presumption that a deed has been delivered at its date only after delivery has been separately established, we affirm.

         I

         [¶ 2] Cory Rice is Joyce Neether's grandson. Joyce Neether and her late husband, Alvin Neether, raised Rice at their farm. Alvin Neether was diagnosed with ALS in 2009. Sometime before July 29, 2009, Joyce Neether contacted attorney Wayne Enget to draft a bill of sale for the purchase of personal property and two warranty deeds conveying real property to Rice, reserving a life estate in that property for the Neethers.

         [¶ 3] On July 29, 2009, Enget met with the Neethers to sign the warranty deeds. At that time, Alvin Neether was terminally ill and, while he was physically unable to sign his own name, the district court found he was mentally competent to transfer property. Joyce Neether had authority through a Power of Attorney to manage Alvin Neether's real and personal property. After consulting with Enget, Joyce Neether signed the deeds on behalf of herself and Alvin Neether. Rice was not present when Joyce Neether signed the deeds. Enget told the Neethers he would record the deeds the following day, July 30, 2009.

         [¶ 4] Before Enget recorded the deeds, Joyce Neether called Enget and instructed him not to record the deeds. Joyce Neether told Enget that she would call him when he was authorized to record the deeds and the bill of sale. Joyce Neether never contacted Enget to either record the deeds or deliver them to Rice.

         [¶ 5] Rice testified that, some time after July 29, 2009, he came to believe he owned the property at issue based on alleged conversations he had with both Alvin Neether and Enget. Rice claimed Enget had represented him on other matters prior to 2009. Rice testified that, in 2012, Rice learned a developer planned on building a grocery and liquor store on the property he believed the Neethers had conveyed to him. Rice brought an action in district court to quiet title.

         [¶ 6] After a bench trial in August 2014, the district court found Enget was acting as the Neethers' attorney when drafting the deeds, Enget was not acting as Rice's attorney, the deeds were neither actually nor constructively delivered and, therefore, no transfer of property to Rice occurred. The district court concluded N.D.C.C. § 47-09-06 does not create a rebuttable presumption that a deed is presumed to have been delivered at its date and entered judgment quieting title in favor of Joyce Neether. Rice appeals.

         II

         [¶ 7] Rice argues the district court erred in quieting title in favor of Joyce Neether. According to Rice, N.D.C.C. § 47-09-06 creates a rebuttable presumption of delivery, and Joyce Neether failed to rebut the presumption. Rice also argues, even if the statutory presumption does not apply, ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.