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Salladay v. Bowen

Supreme Court of Idaho

January 23, 2017

G. LANCE SALLADAY, as Personal Representative for, and on behalf of, the Estate of Roger John Troutner, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
ERIC BOWEN and KATHRYN BOWEN, husband and wife, Defendants-Appellants, and CALDWELL IRRIGATION LATERAL DISTRICT, Defendant.

         2017 Opinion No. 5

         Appeal from the District Court of the Third Judicial District, State of Idaho, Canyon County. Hon. Molly J. Huskey, District Judge.

         District court order remanding case to irrigation district, reversed.

          O'Connor Law, PLLC, Boise, for appellants. William J. O'Connor argued.

          Strother Law Office, Boise, for respondent. Jeffrey A. Strother argued.

          BURDICK, Chief Justice

         Eric and Kathryn Bowen (Bowens) purchased property located at 615 E. Chicago Street, Caldwell, Idaho, through a tax deed sale conducted by the Caldwell Irrigation Lateral District (CILD). G. Lance Salladay brought suit arguing that the sale was void because the property was part of the Estate of Roger Troutner (the Estate), and Salladay, as personal representative of the Estate, was entitled to notice of the sale and never received such notice. The Canyon County district court ruled that Salladay was entitled to notice and since he had not received notice of the sale there was no final decision regarding issuance of the deed as required by Idaho Code section 43-719(2). The district court then remanded the case to CILD. On appeal, Bowens argue the district court erred in its determination that Salladay was entitled to notice and that even if Salladay was entitled to notice, his petition to the district court was untimely.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Sometime prior to February 7, 2012, Salladay and Kelly Joe Stroud entered into a contract for the sale of the property at 615 E. Chicago Street. On February 7, 2012, a Memorandum of Sale (Memorandum) was recorded with the Canyon County Recorder. The Memorandum stated that Kelly Joe Stroud was the purchaser of the property and assuming compliance with the contract, the sale would "vest" in April 2017. The Memorandum was notarized and signed by Salladay but not Stroud. No other documents relating to the sale or ownership of the property prior to the issuance of the tax deed are in the record on appeal.

         Due to a tax deficiency, CILD issued a tax deed for the property on July 14, 2014. CILD provided written notice of the issuance of the tax deed and its sale to Stroud and also provided notice via newspaper publication. No other notice was provided. On December 16, 2014, CILD conducted the tax deed sale and accepted a bid from Eric Bowen for the property. Thereafter, CILD assigned the property to Bowens, and the Bowens recorded their tax deed on December 19, 2014.

         On January 5, 2015, Salladay filed a petition with the district court to reverse CILD's assignment of the tax deed to Bowens and to clear title. A hearing was held on May 14, 2015. In district court, Salladay argued that because he did not have notice the tax deed should never have been issued and, therefore, was void ab initio. Bowens argued the Memorandum was not properly recorded and as such CILD was not required to provide notice of the sale to Salladay because he was not the record owner. Therefore, Bowens argued, because no notice was required to be given to Salladay, the tax deed was properly issued and subsequently purchased by Bowens. The district court ruled that because Salladay did not receive notice, Salladay was entitled under Idaho Code section 43-719(4) to seek a hearing in front of CILD and request a final decision regarding the issuance of the tax deed. Bowens then filed a motion for reconsideration. The district court held a hearing on the motion for reconsideration and thereafter issued a written decision denying the motion. In its decision denying the motion to reconsider, the district court ruled that the Memorandum was properly recorded and that even if it was not properly recorded CILD was still required to provide notice of the tax deed sale to Salladay. Bowens timely appeal.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         This case centers on whether CILD violated the notice requirements of Idaho Code section 43-717 when it issued a tax deed for the property located at 615 E. Chicago Street. "This Court exercises free review over questions regarding whether the board has violated a statutory provision, which is a matter of law." In re Jerome Cty. Bd. of Comm'rs, 153 Idaho 298, 308, 281 P.3d 1076, 1086 (2012).

         III. ANALYSIS

         A. The Memorandum was improperly recorded as a summary instrument.

         The district court found the Memorandum substantially complied with Idaho Code title 55, chapter 7 and therefore was entitled to be recorded as a properly acknowledged instrument under Idaho Code section 55-805. Specifically, the court found the Memorandum had been properly acknowledged under Idaho Code section 55-710, which provides the form required ...


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