Shirley Hageness, Patricia Robbins, Bernice Larson, Gregory Moore, Monte Moore, Debbie Wagner, Marrilee Campbell, Amy Jo LaBree, Scott Moore, Kathy Schmidt and Bonnie Strand, Plaintiffs and Appellants
Juanita C. Davis, as Trustee of Juanita C. Davis Revocable Living Trust; Teresa A. Vineyard as Trustee of the Davis Family Trust; Scott P. Davis as Trustee of the Davis Family Trust; Juanita C. Davis, a single person; Christine Meiers; Richard D. Meiers; Gayne L. Meiers; Gladys L. Meiers; Lee Meiers; Defendants and Appellees and all unknown persons claiming any estate or interest in or lien upon the property described in the Complaint, Defendants
from the District Court of Mountrail County, North Central
Judicial District, the Honorable Stacy Joan Louser, Judge.
S. Rau, Minot, N.D., for plaintiffs and appellants.
Nicholas P. Van Deven (argued), St. Louis, Mo., and Bryan L.
Van Grinsven (appeared), Minot, N.D., for defendants and
appellees Juanita C. Davis, as Trustee of Juanita C. Davis
Revocable Living Trust; Teresa A. Vineyard as Trustee of the
Davis Family Trust; Scott P. Davis as Trustee of the Davis
Family Trust; and Juanita C. Davis, a single person.
M. Knudsvig (argued) and Matthew H. Olson (on brief), Minot,
N.D., for defendants and appellees Christine Meiers, Richard
D. Meiers, Gayne L. Meiers, Gladys L. Meiers, and Lee Meiers.
VandeWalle, Chief Justice.
1] The plaintiffs appealed from an amended judgment entered
after the district court granted summary judgment dismissing
their claims against the defendants (collectively,
"Davises" and "Meiers"), seeking to
determine title to real property. We conclude the district
court did not err in concluding the plaintiffs' action
was time-barred under N.D.C.C. § 28-01-04. We affirm.
2] In October 2015, the plaintiffs commenced this quiet title
action to determine the parties' interests in property
located in Mountrail County. The plaintiffs generally allege
they are descendants or successors in interest of Walter
Larson, who died in 1959, and challenge the validity of
certain deeds from the 1950s transferring Larson's
interest in the property at issue to the defendants'
predecessors in interest. The Meiers claimed they were the
surface owners of the land under an unbroken chain of title
to the surface since 1972. The Davises claimed they were the
mineral owners under an unbroken chain of title establishing
their ownership of the mineral rights for more than sixty
years and asserted they and their predecessors in interest
have actively possessed and been seized of the mineral rights
since at least 2005 by executing one or more oil and gas
3] On December 8, 2015, the Davises moved to dismiss the
action under N.D.R.Civ.P. 12(b), contending the
plaintiffs' claims were time-barred under N.D.C.C. §
28-01-04 and did not allege superior title to the property.
The Davises alternatively requested the district court order
the plaintiffs to provide a more definitive statement under
N.D.R.Civ.P. 12(e). On December 17, the Meiers moved to
dismiss the action for failure to state a claim under
N.D.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), asserting the claims were barred by
the statute of limitations. They alternatively requested
summary judgment under N.D.R.Civ.P. 56. On December 18, the
Meiers also filed an answer dated November 9, 2015, that
denied the claims and raised defenses, including statute of
4] On December 29, 2015, the plaintiffs filed a response
brief to the Meiers' motion and a cross-motion for
partial summary judgment against them. The plaintiffs'
notice of motion requested oral argument on the motion but
did not set a time and date, and their supporting brief also
stated they "request Oral Argument at a time convenient
to the Court and scheduled by the Court." On December
31, 2015, the plaintiffs also moved for partial summary
judgment against the Davises, again requesting oral argument
be "scheduled by the Court, " but without setting a
specific date or time.
5] On December 31, 2015, the Davises moved the district court
for a protective order staying discovery pending the
court's ruling on their motion to dismiss. On January 13,
2016, Meiers also moved for a similar protective order
staying discovery. In January 2015, notices for oral argument
on the Davises' and Meiers' pending motions for
protective orders and to dismiss were also served and filed,
scheduling a hearing for February 11, 2016. The district
court held a hearing on February 11, 2016, during which
counsel for the parties made arguments on the pending
6] On February 11, 2016, the district court granted the
defendants' motions for a stay of discovery pending
resolution of the motions to dismiss. On March 29, 2016, the
court granted the Meiers' and the Davises' motions,
dismissing the plaintiffs' complaint against both sets of
defendants. The court held that the plaintiffs' complaint
was barred by the twenty-year statute of limitations under
N.D.C.C. § 28-01-04 and that the plaintiffs had failed
to raise a genuine issue of material fact for trial. The
court entered a judgment dismissing the action with prejudice
on April 7, 2016.
7] On April 13, 2016, the district court entered an order
clarifying that its prior order disposed of all pending
matters, including the plaintiffs' cross-motions for
summary judgment. An amended judgment was entered on April
15, 2016, dismissing the action with prejudice ...