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.

Huebner v. Furlinger

Supreme Court of North Dakota

June 8, 2017

Ronald D. Huebner and Sherry M. Huebner, as Trustees of the Huebner Family Trust dated February 5, 1992, and Robert L. Wilkens, as Trustee of the Robert L. Wilkens Revocable Trust, Restated 1999, Plaintiffs and Appellants
v.
Elsie M. Furlinger and Janet Hill; the unknown heirs, devisees and legatees of Elsie M. Furlinger and Janet Hill; and all other persons unknown claiming any estate or interest in or lien or encumbrance upon the property described in the Complaint, whether as heirs, devisees, legatees, or personal representatives of any of the above-named persons who may be deceased or under any other title or interest, Defendants and Appellees

         Appeal from the District Court of Burke County, North Central Judicial District, the Honorable Stacy J. Louser, Judge.

          Taylor D. Olson, Williston ND, for plaintiffs and appellants.

          Ryan G. Quarne (argued) and Jessica L. Merchant (appeared), Williston ND, for defendants and appellees.

          OPINION

          Crothers, Justice.

         [¶ 1] Ronald and Sherry Huebner appeal a district court's findings of fact, conclusions of law and order for judgment and judgment denying their request to quiet title in certain Burke County mineral interests. The Huebners argue the district court erred in ruling they did not comply with the notice requirements in the abandoned mineral statutes, N.D.C.C. ch. 38-18.1. We affirm.

         I

         [¶ 2] The Huebners are the current surface owners of property in Burke County and successors-in-interest to Eugene Huebner and Harold Wilkens. In 2006 the Huebners took steps to claim unused mineral interests under the subject property through a notice of lapse of mineral interest.

         [¶ 3] Ownership history shows that in 1955 Nanne Williams, also known as Nanne C. Nickey, conveyed the subject property in Burke County to Eugene Huebner and Harold Wilkens, reserving one-fourth of the mineral interest underlying the property. In 1975 Nanne C. Nickey died and her daughter Elsie M. Furlinger was later appointed personal representative of the estate. On February 22, 1982, Marion Furlinger, as personal representative, executed an oil and gas lease. The lease was recorded in Burke County. The lease listed Marion Furlinger's address as 2925 El Prado Blvd., Tampa, FL 33609. A petition for administration of Nanne C. Nickey's estate was filed in the Burke County Court on June 24, 1982. This document listed an address for Elsie Marion Furlinger as 2925 El Prado Blvd., Tampa, FL, and an address for Janet Hill as Rt. 1, 5 Grand Ave., Lake Zurich, Ill. By a July 8, 1982 personal representative's deed of distribution Elsie M. Furlinger and her sister, Janet Hill each received a one-half interest of the one-fourth mineral interest reserved by their mother. The 1982 personal representative's deed of distribution, recorded in Burke County, listed Elsie M. Furlinger's address as 2925 El Prado Blvd., Tampa, FL. The 1982 personal representative's deed of distribution did not include a zip code for Elsie M. Furlinger or an address for Janet Hill.

         [¶ 4] In 2006 the Huebners' attorney began the process to claim the mineral rights by researching whether the subject minerals had been used. According to the Huebners' attorney, he was looking for any activity under the names Nanne C. Williams and Nanne Nickey. He discovered the 1982 personal representative's deed listing Elsie M. Furlinger and Janet Hill. The Huebners' attorney searched the Burke County Recorder's office, the Burke County Clerk's office and Westlaw's people search feature to locate addresses for Elsie M. Furlinger and Janet Hill.

         [¶ 5] The Huebners' attorney testified he was unable to locate an address for Janet Hill. He testified he used Elsie M. Furlinger's address listed on the 1982 personal representative's deed to narrow his search for Janet Hill's address to Florida, where he located a Janet Hill. Ronald Huebner also attempted to find addresses for Elsie M. Furlinger and Janet Hill but was unsuccessful. Ronald Huebner testified he researched a family history library, newspapers, books and Ancestory.com.

         [¶ 6] The Huebners published notices of lapse of mineral interests in the Burke County paper on October 11, 18 and 25, 2006. On October 27, 2006, the Huebners mailed a copy of the notice of lapse of mineral interests to Elsie M. Furlinger at 2925 El Prado Blvd., Tampa, FL 33629. The Huebners' attorney testified he relied on the 1982 personal representative's deed to obtain an address for Elsie M. Furlinger. The the address was supplemented by adding a zip code absent from the address on the 1982 personal representative's deed. The Huebners also mailed a copy of the notice of lapse of mineral interests to Janet Hill at Sun City Center, FL 33573.

         [¶ 7] In 2009 the Huebners filed a quiet title action to perfect title to the mineral interests under the subject property. The Huebners served Elsie M. Furlinger and Janet Hill by publication. The district court entered a default judgment quieting title to the mineral interests to the Huebners. In 2011 Tim Moran and John Moran, as unknown heirs, devisees, and legatees of Elsie M. Furlinger and Janet Hill filed a motion to vacate the default judgment. The district court vacated the judgment, ruling the Huebners' service by publication was ineffective.

         [¶ 8] The Morans answered the Huebners' complaint to quiet title and counter-claimed to quiet title to the mineral interests. A one-day bench trial was held. The district court entered an order on May 4, 2015, which was amended on May 21, 2015. The district court denied the Huebners' request to quiet title the mineral interests to them, finding they did not comply with the statutory requirements of N.D.C.C. ch. 38-18.1. On June 5, 2016 the district court entered its findings of fact, conclusions ...


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.