2014 Opinion No. 135
Appeal from the District Court of the First Judicial District of the State of Idaho, in and for Kootenai County. Hon. John P. Luster, District Judge.
The judgment of the district court is vacated and remanded.
Susan P. Weeks, James Vernon & Weeks P.A., Coeur d'Alene, argued for appellants.
Scott L. Poorman, Hayden, argued for respondents.
EISMANN, Justice. Chief Justice BURDICK, Justices J. JONES, W. JONES, and HORTON CONCUR.
This is an appeal out of Kootenai County from a partial judgment reforming the deed of subsequent purchasers of real property based upon a finding that their predecessors in interest made a mutual mistake in drafting the legal description of the deed to the grantee. We vacate the judgment of the district court and remand this case for further proceedings.
I. Factual Background.
The issue in this appeal is whether the deed of Jeff and Karen Owen should be reformed to grant an easement across their property for the benefit of Brent and Moura Regan. The Regans are the owners of a 50.55-acre parcel of land in Kootenai County. Adjoining their parcel to the east is a 10.7-acre parcel of land owned by Jeff and Karen Owen. The Owens' property was acquired by two separate conveyances. They acquired a 10.3-acre parcel from David and Helen Hanna by a warranty deed dated February 4, 2003 (Owen Parcel), and they acquired a 0.4-acre parcel from Kootenai County by a deed dated November 28, 2005 (Orphan Parcel). The Orphan Parcel adjoins the northern boundary of the Owen parcel. The primary dispute in this appeal is whether the Regans have an easement across the Orphan Parcel.
These parcels now owned by the Regans and the Owens were part of several tracts of land in sections 27 and 34 of township 50 north, range 3 west, of the Boise Meridian, that were owned by BAR-ACH, Inc. On July 24, 1978, the corporation conveyed those tracts of land to Alexander H. Hargis, John W. Acheson, Jr., and R. C. Collins (herein called Original Grantors). The Original Grantors later sold various parcels from the land acquired from the corporation. The sales relevant to this case were of parcels of land located in the southern part of section 27 and the northern part of section 34.
At the time of the conveyances of these parcels, there was a public road that ran in a north-south direction along the southern part of the north-south half-section line of section 27 and turned east at the section line between sections 27 and 34. The Original Grantors intended to create a road and utility easement from the public road to the parcels, and they reserved a thirty-foot-wide easement for roadway and utility purposes along the southern boundary of each parcel in section 27 and along the northern boundary of each parcel in section 34. However, the proposed road was not a straight line. It began at about the north-south half-section lines of sections 27 and 34, with most of the road being in section 34. As it progressed west, it curved to the north into section 27 and then continued along the section line angling northerly.
There are two conveyances of property in section 27 along its southern border that are relevant to this appeal. Beginning at the north-south half-section line of section 27, the Original Grantors conveyed an 8.9-acre parcel to Patricia H. Hart by a warranty deed dated March 1, 1988. By a warranty deed dated June 2, 1989, the Original Grantors conveyed a 10-acre parcel of property to Robert and Debora Doney, which abutted the western boundary of the Hart parcel. Both deeds described ...