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Walther v. Lundberg

December 17, 2002

BARRY WALTHER, PETITIONER, APPELLANT,
v.
LORETTA J. LUNDBERG, LINCOLN COUNTY REGISTRAR OF TITLES, RESPONDENT.



Lincoln County District Court File No. C001159

Considered and decided by Hudson, Presiding Judge, Peterson, Judge, and Anderson, Judge.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

A district court may not issue a writ of mandamus to compel a registrar of titles to amend a certificate of title when proceedings subsequent under Minn. Stat. § 508.71, subd. 2 (2002), provide an adequate legal remedy.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: G. Barry Anderson, Judge

Affirmed

OPINION

Appellant challenges a district court order dismissing his petition for mandamus seeking to require respondent, the Registrar of Titles in Lincoln County, to remove an easement memorial from his certificate of title. Appellant asserts: (1) respondent had an official duty to refrain from unilaterally adding an easement to his certificate of title, (2) the addition of the easement was a public wrong that injured appellant, and (3) "proceedings subsequent" do not afford appellant an adequate remedy. Because we conclude the proceedings subsequent remedy provides appellant with an adequate remedy at law, we affirm.

FACTS

Appellant is the purchaser of real property located in Lincoln County. On June 13, 1996, an easement was created by written agreement between the then-owners of appellant's property and the adjoining property, and registered as document number 3785. The easement granted the adjoining property owner (the dominant estate) the right to construct and maintain a tile drain across the property eventually purchased by appellant (the servient estate). Respondent never memorialized the easement on certificate of title number 1327 issued to appellant's predecessor in interest or certificate number 1422 issued to appellant. During the week of April 26, 2001, respondent memorialized the easement on appellant's certificate of title. Respondent did not refer the matter to the Lincoln County Examiner of Titles pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 508.71, subd. 1a (2002).

Originally, appellant sought a peremptory writ of prohibition and mandamus directing respondent to remove the easement memorial on appellant's certificate of title. The district court denied the writ and ordered that the matter proceed to trial. The court of appeals affirmed the district court. Walther v. Lundberg, No. C8-01-2030 (Minn. App. Dec. 18, 2001) (order).

Respondent then moved to dismiss the action under Minn. R. Civ. P. 12.02 (a) and (e) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim. The district court granted respondent's motion and dismissed the petition for lack of subject matter jurisdiction after concluding that there was a plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law found in Minn. Stat. § 508.71, subd. 2. The present appeal followed.

ISSUE

Does the availability of a proceedings subsequent remedy preclude the issuance of a writ of mandamus to compel a registrar of titles to remove an easement added, ...


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