Daniel Louis Thompson and Jann Elizabeth Thompson, Plaintiffs and Appellants
Walsh County Auditor Kris Molde, Walsh County Attorney, County of Walsh, Walsh County Commissioners, and State of North Dakota, Defendants and Appellees
from the District Court of Walsh County, Northeast Judicial
District, the Honorable Donovan J. Foughty, Judge.
L. Thompson, Adams, ND, plaintiff and appellant.
C. Cummings (argued) and Daniel L. Gaustad (on brief), Grand
Forks, ND, for defendants and appellees.
1] Daniel and Jann Thompson appeal a district court judgment
dismissing their complaint against Walsh County, the Walsh
County Auditor, the Walsh County State's Attorney, the
Walsh County Board of Commissioners and the state of North
Dakota. We affirm, concluding the court did not err by
dismissing the Thompsons' claims.
2] In May 2016 Walsh County notified Jann Thompson
she failed to pay her 2013 property taxes. The notice stated
the County would foreclose on the property unless Thompson
paid the taxes by October 1, 2016. Thompson previously
attempted to pay the taxes with promissory notes and other
instruments; however, they were not accepted by the County.
On October 6, 2016, the County recorded a tax deed for the
property due to Thompson's failure to pay the 2013 taxes.
The County informed Thompson she had the right to repurchase
the property before the tax sale by paying all outstanding
taxes and costs against the property. On November 2, 2016,
Thompson paid the 2013, 2014 and 2015 taxes and redeemed the
3] Before paying the outstanding property taxes the Thompsons
sued the Defendants, claiming the State has no authority to
tax their property, and county officials improperly refused
payment by not accepting the Thompsons' promissory notes.
The Thompsons also alleged fraud, inverse condemnation and
slander of title. The Thompsons subsequently filed a number
of other documents and motions relating to their complaint.
The Defendants denied the Thompsons' allegations, and
requested dismissal of the complaint and denial of the
additional civil filings and motions.
4] The Defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing the
Thompsons failed to exhaust their administrative remedies by
not bringing their claims related to property taxes to the
Walsh County Board of Commissioners before suing. The
district court agreed and dismissed the Thompsons'
5] Following dismissal, the Thompsons filed a motion
requesting a transfer and assignment of their property tax
obligations to the Defendants' attorney. The court denied
the motion, concluding it was frivolous because "[n]o
reasonable person could think a court would rule in
Plaintiffs' favor and assign all future real estate tax
obligations to Defendants' themselves, much less their
attorney individually." The court awarded the Defendants
$400 in attorney's fees.
6] Summary judgment is a procedural device under N.D.R.Civ.P.
56(c) for the prompt resolution of a controversy on the
merits without a trial if there are no disputed issues of
material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as
a matter of law. Horob v. Farm Credit Services of
N.D., 2010 ND 6, ¶ 11, 777 N.W.2d 611. On appeal we
view the evidence in the light most favorable to the party
opposing the motion, and the opposing party is given the
benefit of all favorable inferences that can reasonably be
drawn from the record. Palmer v. 999 Quebec, Inc.,
2016 ND 17, ¶ 6, 874 N.W.2d 303. "Whether a
district court properly granted summary judgment is a
question of law this Court reviews de novo on the entire
7] The Thompsons argue the district court erred in dismissing
their claims against the Defendants. The Defendants assert
the court properly dismissed the claims because Thompsons
failed to submit their property tax claims to the Walsh