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.

Cossette v. Cass County Joint Water Resource District

Supreme Court of North Dakota

May 16, 2017

Donald Robert Cossette, individually, and Donald Robert Cossette and Marjorie Cossette as Co-Trustees of the Angela R. Cossette Revocable Living Trust dated November 21, 2002, Plaintiffs and Appellants
v.
Cass County Joint Water Resource District, Defendant and Appellee

         Appeal from the District Court of Cass County, East Central Judicial District, the Honorable Steven L. Marquart, Judge.

         AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED IN PART, AND REMANDED.

          Jonathan T. Garaas, Fargo, N.D., for plaintiffs and appellants.

          Christopher M. McShane, West Fargo, N.D., for defendant and appellee.

          OPINION

          Crothers, Justice.

         [¶ 1] Donald Cossette and the Angela R. Cossette Revocable Living Trust appeal a district court order dismissing their complaint against the Cass County Joint Water Resource District. The Cossettes requested declaratory relief and appealed from the District's resolution of necessity relating to the District's intent to acquire an interest in the Cossettes' real property through eminent domain. We affirm that part of the district court order dismissing the Cossettes' request for declaratory relief. We reverse that part of the district court order concluding the Cossettes were not entitled to appeal the District's resolution of necessity, and remand.

         I

         [¶ 2] Red River Valley governmental authorities, including the District, designed a flood control and protection project referred to as the Diversion Project. The District is responsible for obtaining property rights in North Dakota necessary for the Diversion Project. The Cossettes own approximately eighty acres of farmland in the Red River Valley. Representatives acting on behalf of the District notified the Cossettes in January 2016 that their property may be affected by the Diversion Project and "that some type of easement rights may be necessary." The Cossettes also were notified their property would be inspected by an appraisal company. In March 2016 the District notified the Cossettes it would "be acquiring your property... for the proposed construction of the [Diversion Project], " and offered to purchase the property for $476, 040. The Cossettes rejected the District's offer.

         [¶ 3] In May 2016 the District passed a resolution of necessity determining the Cossettes' property was necessary for the Diversion Project and the District intended "to acquire a Permanent Right of Way Easement over, across, and through the [Cossettes'] Property." The resolution also indicated the District "will proceed with the requisite legal proceedings as necessary... to acquire a Permanent Right of Way Easement over, across, and through the Property."

         [¶ 4] After the District passed the resolution of necessity the Cossettes sued the District seeking a declaration that the District acted inappropriately in passing the resolution of necessity. The Cossettes' complaint also appealed the District's resolution of necessity to the district court, claiming the resolution was based on false representations and was passed without legal authority.

         [¶ 5] The District moved to dismiss the Cossettes' complaint, arguing their request for declaratory relief was improper because it cannot be combined with an appeal from the District's resolution of necessity. The District also argued the resolution of necessity was not appealable because the Cossettes were not aggrieved by the resolution. The district court agreed and issued an order dismissing the Cossettes' complaint.

         II

         [¶ 6] The district court dismissed the Cossettes' complaint under N.D.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). "A motion to dismiss a complaint under N.D.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(vi) tests the legal sufficiency of the claim presented in the complaint." Brandvold v. Lewis & Clark Pub. Sch. Dist., 2011 ND 185, ¶ 6, 803 N.W.2d 827 (quoting Vandall v. Trinity Hosps., 2004 ND 47, ¶ 5, 676 N.W.2d 88). In reviewing an appeal from a Rule 12(b) dismissal, the complaint is construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, taking as true the well-pleaded allegations in ...


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.