Curtis R. Trulson and Lesley D. Trulson, Plaintiffs and Appellants
John Anthony Meiers, Jean R. Meiers, Evan J. Meiers and Lauren B. Meiers, Defendants and Appellees
from the District Court of Mountrail County, North Central
Judicial District, the Honorable Todd L. Cresap, Judge.
M. Grant, Minot, ND, for plaintiffs and appellants.
M. Conroy, Bottineau, ND, for defendants and appellees.
Curtis and Lesley Trulson appeal a judgment quieting title to
a mineral royalty interest in John ("Tony") and
Jean Meiers. The district court ruled a royalty deed from the
Meiers was not delivered and did not convey a royalty
interest to the Trulsons. We conclude the district court
misapplied the law because the Meiers failed to rebut the
presumption that the deed was delivered to the Trulsons. We
reverse and remand for entry of judgment consistent with this
In January 1982, the Meiers executed a warranty deed
conveying a quarter of land in Mountrail County to the
Trulsons. The deed stated "[n]o minerals are transferred
by this conveyance." In June 1982, the Meiers executed a
royalty deed conveying a one-twelfth (1/12) royalty interest
in the minerals under the property to the Trulsons. The
royalty deed was not notarized and was not recorded by the
Trulsons until December 2008.
In April 2017, the Trulsons sued the Meiers claiming
ownership of the mineral royalty interest. The Trulsons
argued the Meiers conveyed the royalty interest under the
June 1982 royalty deed. The Meiers asserted the statute of
limitations barred the Trulsons' claim, and the Trulsons
could not prove the Meiers delivered the royalty deed to
them. The district court denied both parties' motions for
summary judgment, concluding there was a genuine issue of
material fact on delivery of the royalty deed.
Curtis Trulson introduced the royalty deed into evidence at a
bench trial and testified that Tony Meiers delivered the deed
to him in June 1982. Trulson testified the parties discussed
the conveyance of a mineral royalty interest as part of the
purchase of the surface estate. Tony and Jean Meiers both
testified that the deed contained their signatures but they
did not remember delivering the deed to the Trulsons. Jean
Meiers testified that the Meiers did not intend to convey a
mineral interest and the Trulsons may have obtained the deed
After trial, the district court found the Meiers did not
intend to convey a mineral royalty interest to the Trulsons.
The court entered a judgment quieting title to the disputed
royalty interest in the Meiers.
The Trulsons argue the district court erred in quieting title
to the mineral royalty interest in the Meiers. They claim the
court misapplied the law in making its decision. We agree.
Whether there was delivery of a deed is a question of fact.
Rice v. Neether, 2016 ND 247, ¶ 9, 888 N.W.2d
749. A finding of fact is clearly erroneous if it is induced
by an erroneous view of the law, if no evidence exists to
support it, or if this Court, on reviewing the entire
evidence, is left with a definite and firm conviction a
mistake has been made. Id. at ¶ 9.
Conveyance by deed takes effect upon delivery of the deed by
the grantor. CUNA Mortg. v. Aafedt, 459 N.W.2d 801,
803-04 (N.D. 1990) (citing N.D.C.C. § 47-09-06).
"Absent a delivery of the deed, the deed is of no
effect." CUNA Mortg., at 804. Delivery must be
proven on the basis ...