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.

Dixon v. Dixon

Supreme Court of North Dakota

July 12, 2017

Billie Dixon, Trustee of the Shirley A. Dixon Trust, Plaintiff and Appellee
v.
John W. Dixon, individually, Defendant and Appellant and John W. Dixon and Kimberly B. Dixon, as Conservators of the Estate of K.S.D., Defendants

         Appeal from the District Court of McKenzie County, Northwest Judicial District, the Honorable Robin Ann Schmidt, Judge.

          Amy L. De Kok (argued) and Jade B. Jorgenson (on brief), Bismarck, ND, for plaintiff and appellee.

          Gregory W. Hennessy, Williston, ND, for defendant and appellant John W. Dixon.

          OPINION

          Kapsner, Justice.

         [¶ 1] John Dixon appeals from a judgment reforming a warranty deed to except and reserve mineral interests in certain real property from the conveyance and retain the minerals as the property of the Shirley A. Dixon Trust. John Dixon argues the district court erred in reforming the deed because there was no evidence of a mutual mistake and the statute of limitations precluded the reformation claim. We affirm, concluding the district court did not err in reforming the deed and the statute of limitations argument was waived.

         I

         [¶ 2] In the 1960s Shirley Dixon purchased a tract of real property in McKenzie County described as:

Township 148 North, Range 98 West
Section 31: Lots 2 and 3, SE1/4NW1/4, NE1/4SW1/4, SE1/4

         In 1972, the Shirley A. Dixon Revocable Trust was created. Shirley Dixon's husband, William Dixon, was appointed trustee. The trust agreement stated Shirley Dixon's children, Billie Dixon, John Dixon, Dotti Dixon Schmeling, and Patricia Syminow, would become the remainder beneficiaries of the trust upon her death and the trust property would be allocated equally among the children. The Section 31 property was transferred to the trust.

         [¶ 3] In 1996, William Dixon, as trustee, executed a warranty deed conveying the Section 31 property. The deed granted John Dixon a life estate in the Section 31 property, with the remainder interest to John Dixon's surviving children in equal shares, and if John Dixon was not survived by children, the remainder would go to Shirley Dixon's three daughters as joint tenants. The deed stated it excepted and reserved all prior mineral conveyances, reservations and easements of record.

         [¶ 4] In 2000, John Dixon's child was born. In December 2000, William Dixon requested John Dixon sign a mineral deed conveying an undivided three-fourths interest in and to the minerals in and under the Section 31 property equally to Billie Dixon, Patricia Syminow, and Dotti Dixon Schmeling. The deed stated, "It is the intent of the Grantors to convey to each of the Grantees an undivided 1/4th interest of the oil and gas minerals that the Grantors presently own on the above described property." John Dixon executed the requested mineral deed.

         [¶ 5] In 2006, Patricia Syminow died. In 2009, William Dixon resigned as trustee and Billie Dixon was appointed successor trustee. William Dixon died in 2010, and Shirley Dixon died in 2015.

         [¶ 6] In August 2013, Billie Dixon, as trustee, sued John Dixon, individually, and John Dixon and his wife, as the conservators of their child's estate, seeking injunctive relief, declaratory judgment, and to quiet title, or, alternatively, for reformation of the 1996 warranty deed. She alleged William Dixon intended to reserve the minerals in and under the Section 31 property from the 1996 Warranty Deed and retain the minerals as the property of the trust.

         [¶ 7] After a bench trial, the district court found Shirley and William Dixon attempted to treat their children equally with respect to the trust and other property they owned, William Dixon executed the 1996 Warranty Deed conveying the Section 31 property to John Dixon, and Shirley and William Dixon gifted money to their other three children in an amount equal to the value of the surface interest of the Section 31 property. The court found Shirley and William Dixon realized a mistake was made in the 1996 Warranty Deed and they mistakenly conveyed the minerals to John Dixon instead of reserving them from the conveyance to remain in the trust. The Court found Shirley and William Dixon wanted the mineral interests to be split equally among their children and they requested John Dixon sign the 2000 Mineral Deed conveying an undivided three-fourths interest in the minerals in the Section 31 property equally to his three siblings. The court found the 2000 Mineral Deed did not correct the mistake because it only transferred a life estate interest in the minerals to the siblings. The court found the siblings executed mineral leases as if they each owned a one-fourth undivided mineral interest in fee simple, and Billie Dixon and Dotti Dixon Schmeling did not become aware of any problems or concerns with their ownership until 2012 or 2013 when they were contacted by an oil company questioning how the company should disburse royalties. The court found Billie Dixon proved by clear and convincing evidence that a mutual ...


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.