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Hoy v. Niemela

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

June 17, 2013

Megan Hoy, Appellant,
v.
Debra Niemela, et al., Defendants, Bank of New York, Respondent, First American Title Insurance Company, Respondent.

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

Hennepin County District Court File No. 27CV1112471.

Ryan J. Trucke, Matthew R. Doherty, Brutlag, Hartmann & Trucke, P.A., Plymouth, Minnesota (for appellant)

David R. Mortensen, Wilford, Geske & Cook, P.A., Woodbury, Minnesota (for respondent Bank of New York)

Kevin J. Dunlevy, Diann L. Dunlevy, Beisel & Dunlevy, P.A., Minneapolis, Minnesota (for respondent First American Title Insurance Company)

Considered and decided by Bjorkman, Presiding Judge; Connolly, Judge; and Stauber, Judge.

STAUBER, Judge.

Appellant contends that the district court erred by (1) dismissing her complaint against respondents; (2) granting respondents' motions for summary judgment; and (3) denying her motion for partial summary judgment. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.

FACTS

On December 1, 2005, defendant Debra Niemela purchased a condominium and garage in Minneapolis. These properties are legally described as: "Unit 101, Common Interest Community No. 1622, 4227 Nicollet Condominiums, a Condominium located in Hennepin County, Minnesota" (the condominium); and "Unit G1, Common Interest Community No. 1622, 4227 Nicollet Condominiums, a Condominium located in Hennepin County, Minnesota" (the garage). It appears that the actual conveyance to Niemela omitted the description for garage unit G1.

Two mortgages secured the property, which were later assigned to respondent Bank of New York Mellon (BONYM) and thereafter foreclosed. The legal description for the foreclosed property included only the condominium, not the separate garage unit. After foreclosure, and unbeknownst to BONYM, Niemela received a deed conveying the separate garage unit to her. Niemela simply retained the deed and it was not recorded.

BONYM then listed the condominium for sale. Its listing stated that the property included a "private garage." On November 26, 2007, appellant Megan Hoy purchased the condominium and garage. The private garage, being the only garage in the condominium development, significantly contributed to Hoy's decision to purchase the condominium. The BONYM to Hoy purchase agreement described the property as "CIC #1662, 4227 Nicollet, Condo #101, to include garage stall #101 and one storage unit in building." At closing, BONYM delivered a trustee's deed to Hoy conveying the condominium unit, but not including the garage unit. Hoy was also provided the garage-door opener for the garage unit.

Also at closing, Hoy purchased title insurance from respondent First American Title Insurance Company (FATIC). The policy states that covered risks include when "[s]omeone else owns an interest in Your Title." The policy similarly includes only the legal description of the condominium property. There is no mention of the separate garage unit.

Three years later, Hoy decided to sell the property. The day after listing it for sale, she received a delinquent real estate tax notice from Hennepin County relating to the garage unit. The notice was Hoy's first indication that she did not have legal title to the garage, even though she had the exclusive use of it. Hoy hired counsel, and following counsel's advice paid $728.11 in delinquent taxes and filed a lien pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 272.45 (2010) for paying taxes on property she did not own. She also tendered a claim to FATIC requesting coverage under her title insurance policy. FATIC denied her claim

Hoy began essentially a quiet title action, suing Niemela, BONYM, and FATIC, in an attempt to obtain title to her garage. Upon being served with the lawsuit, Niemela provided Hoy the unrecorded deed she had been holding, and she executed a quit claim deed to the garage unit in favor of Hoy, all in exchange for her dismissal from the lawsuit. BONYM and FATIC (collectively "respondents") moved for summary judgment, and Hoy moved for partial summary judgment. The district court granted the motions of BONYM and FATIC and denied Hoy's motion, dismissing Hoy's complaint in its entirety. The district court denied Hoy's motion for amended findings and conclusions. This appeal follows.

DECISION

I. Standard of review

"We review a district court's summary judgment decision de novo." Riverview Muir Doran, LLC v. JADT Dev. Grp., LLC, 790 N.W.2d 167, 170 (Minn. 2010). "On appeal from summary judgment, we must review the record to determine whether there is any genuine issue of material fact and whether the district court erred in its application of the law." Dahlin v. Kroening, 796 N.W.2d 503, 504-05 (Minn. 2011). The reviewing court views the evidence in the light most favorable to the party against whom judgment was granted. Fabio v. Bellomo, 504 N.W.2d 758, 761 (Minn. 1993); see Minn. R. Civ. P. 56.03. No genuine issue for trial exists "[w]here the record taken as a whole could ...


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