from the District Court of McHenry County, Northeast Judicial
District, the Honorable John C. McClintock, Jr., Judge.
M. Conroy, for plaintiffs and appellants; submitted on brief.
Richard P. Olson, Ryan G. Quarne, and Wanda L. Fischer, for
defendants and appellees; submitted on brief.
1] Kevin and Lynn Klein appeal from a judgment dismissing
their claims and quieting title to certain real property in
Gregory Sletto. We affirm, concluding the district court did
not err in granting summary judgment because the Kleins
failed to present any evidence supporting their claims about
the existence of a valid contract.
2] In 1990, Kevin Klein purchased property located in McHenry
County. In March 1993, he transferred the property to Glen
and Norine Sletto by warranty deed, and the warranty deed was
recorded in the county recorder's office on March 10,
1993. After the 1993 transfer to Glen and Norine Sletto, a
portion of the property was transferred to Kip Farms. In
2001, the remaining property was transferred to Glen and
Norine Sletto's son, Gregory Sletto, and he sold a
portion of the property to Donald Schmidt in 2002.
3] In January 2014, the Kleins sued Glen and Norine Sletto,
and Gregory Sletto, requesting the court quiet title to the
disputed property in their names and seeking damages for
claims of breach of contract and fraud. The Kleins alleged
the Slettos breached an oral agreement Glen Sletto made with
Kevin Klein entitling Kevin Klein to buy back all of the
property he transferred to the Slettos in 1993, except the
portion sold to Kip Farms, for approximately $50, 000 after
he leased the property from the Slettos for ten years. The
Kleins claimed the Slettos refused to accept the $50, 000
payment for the property and refused to deed the property
back to Kevin Klein as agreed.
4] The Kleins moved to compel depositions of Glen and Norine
Sletto. The Slettos responded to the motion and argued the
depositions would be an undue burden on Glen and Norine
Sletto because they both have significant medical problems.
The Slettos moved for a protective order to prevent the
5] In August 2015, the Slettos moved for summary judgment.
The Slettos argued they were entitled to judgment as a matter
of law because the statutes of limitations for the
Kleins' claims had expired and the statute of frauds
required the agreement be in writing. They filed exhibits in
support of the motion. The Kleins opposed the motion, arguing
the statutes of limitations did not preclude their claims and
the facts of the case created an exception to the statute of
frauds. The Kleins filed exhibits in support of their
arguments opposing the motion. Neither party requested oral
argument. Glen Sletto died in October 2015, while the case
6] In November 2015, the district court granted the
Slettos' motion for summary judgment. The court ruled the
Kleins did not present any evidence to support the
proposition that an agreement satisfying the statute of
frauds existed between them and the Slettos, a twenty-year
statute of limitations applied to the Kleins' claim to
recover the property, and the claims result from a transfer
of property that occurred on March 10, 1993. The court found
there was no admissible evidence in the record to support the
Kleins' claim about the existence of an oral agreement
for the Slettos to sell the property back to Kevin Klein
after ten years. The court also concluded the statutes of
limitations for the fraud and breach of contract claims
expired. The court dismissed the Kleins' claims with
prejudice and ordered the property Gregory Sletto owns is
quieted in his favor.
7] In Hamilton v. Woll, 2012 ND 238, ¶ 9, 823
N.W.2d 754 (quoting Wenco v. EOG Res., Inc., 2012 ND
219, ¶ 8, 822 N.W.2d 701), we explained the
well-established standard for reviewing summary judgments:
Summary judgment is a procedural device for the prompt
resolution of a controversy on the merits without a trial if
there are no genuine issues of material fact or inferences
that can reasonably be drawn from undisputed facts, or if the
only issues to be resolved are questions of law. A party
moving for summary judgment has the burden of showing there
are no ...