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Bedard and Musser v. City of Boise City

Supreme Court of Idaho

September 22, 2017

BEDARD AND MUSSER, an Idaho partnership, and BOISE HOLLOW LAND HOLDINGS, RLLP, an Idaho limited liability partnership, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
CITY OF BOISE CITY, a body politic corporate of the State of Idaho, Defendant-Respondent.

         2017 Opinion No. 104

         Appeal from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District of the State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Jonathan Medema, District Judge.

         The judgment of the district court is affirmed

          Davison, Copple, Copple & Copple, LLP, Boise, for appellant. Terry C. Copple argued.

          Robert B. Luce, Boise City Attorney, Boise, for respondent. Abigail Germaine argued.

          BRODY, Justice.

         This case involves a claim to quiet title. Plaintiffs Bedard and Musser, and Boise Hollow Land Holdings, RLLP (collectively referred to as Boise Hollow) filed suit against Boise City seeking a declaration that they: (1) hold an access easement over part of Quail Hollow Golf Course pursuant to a recorded Permanent Easement Agreement; and (2) are entitled to expand the easement area to comply with certain requirements of the Ada County Highway District so that it can be dedicated as a public road. The district court rejected Boise Hollow's position on summary judgment, finding that the agreement did not create an easement because the entity which purported to grant the easement across the golf course property had only a leasehold interest at the time the agreement was signed. Moreover, the same party owned both the land where the easement was located (the servient estate) and the land to which the easement was appurtenant (the dominant estate). The district court further found that any access that was granted by the lessor under the agreement terminated when the leasehold was terminated by an express agreement. The district court entered judgment in favor of Boise City. We affirm the district court's judgment.

         I.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         This is an easement dispute between two adjoining landowners. Boise Hollow owns approximately 63 acres designated as Lot 4 in the Nibler Subdivision in Ada County. Boise City owns the adjacent Quail Hollow Golf Course.

         The properties at issue have a lengthy ownership and transfer history. In 1943, Victor Nibler purchased a large tract of land. In the 1970s, Victor and his wife, Ruth, constructed a golf course on part of their land. In 1980, the Niblers leased the golf course to a group of individuals for 99 years. Those individuals subsequently assigned the leasehold to a corporation, whose leasehold was later judicially foreclosed and purchased at the foreclosure sale by an entity called A-J Corporation. The Niblers and A-J Corporation subsequently amended the lease agreement, but did not change the duration of the leasehold. In 1986, A-J Corporation assigned its interest in the leasehold to Tee, Ltd., whose principals included Tommy Sanderson.

         In 1990, the Niblers sold a large portion of their land to Vancroft Corporation, including the golf course and the 63 acre parcel now owned by Boise Hollow. Since the golf course was leased to Tee, Ltd. at the time of the sale, the Niblers also assigned their interests as landlords to Vancroft.

         In approximately 1991, Vancroft, Tee, Ltd., and Sanderson executed the Permanent Easement Agreement at issue. The agreement purports to create a permanent access easement across the golf course for the benefit of the 63 acre parcel. There is no dispute that Vancroft owned both parcels at the time the agreement was executed. Both parcels have changed hands multiple times since the Permanent Easement Agreement at issue was executed. There is no dispute that Boise Hollow and Boise City are the successors-in-interest to that agreement.

         The parties filed cross motions for summary judgment. The district court granted Boise City's motion and entered judgment in the City's ...


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