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Catherine E.W. Hansen Trust v. Ward

Supreme Court of Montana

May 19, 2015

CATHERINE E.W. HANSEN TRUST, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
MICHAEL WARD; THEODORA TARBET, TIMSHEL TARBET, TARBET SCHRIER LLC, DALE TARBET, ESTATE OF DALE TARBET and all persons known or unknown, claiming or who might claim any right, title, estate, or interest in or lien or encumbrance upon the real property described in the complaint adverse to plaintiff's title thereto, whether such claim or possible claim be present or contingent, Defendants and Appellees

Submitted on Briefs: March 25, 2015.

Released for Publication: June 17, 2015.

Rehearing petition filed: June 4, 2015.

Page 501

APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Third Judicial District, In and For the County of Anaconda-Deer Lodge, Cause No. DV-13-21, Honorable Ray Dayton, Presiding Judge.

For Appellant: Jeffrey Wade Dahood, Knight & Dahood, Anaconda, Montana.

For Appellees Theodora Tarbet, Timshel Tarbet and Tarbet Schrier, LLC: Kevin S. Jones, Joseph D. Houston, Christian, Samson & Jones, PLLC, Missoula, Montana.

For Appellee Michael Ward: William M. Kebe, Jr., Marie Kagie-Shutey, Corette, Black, Carlson & Mickelson, Butte, Montana.

MIKE McGRATH. We Concur: MICHAEL E WHEAT, PATRICIA COTTER, BETH BAKER, LAURIE McKINNON. Chief Justice Mike McGrath delivered the Opinion of the Court.

OPINION

Page 502

[379 Mont. 162] Mike McGrath, Chief Justice.

[¶1] Catherine E.W. Hansen Trust appeals from the judgment of the Third Judicial District, Anaconda-Deer Lodge County, granting summary judgment in favor of Theodora Tarbet, Timshel Tarbet, and Tarbet Schrier, LLC. Hansen Trust also appeals from the District Court's order directing payment of the tax lien and entry of final judgment, as well as the order denying Hansen Trust's post-judgment motions.

[¶2] We affirm.

[379 Mont. 163]ISSUES

[¶3] Issue One: Whether the District Court erred when it entered summary judgment and declared the tax deed void.

[¶4] Issue Two: Whether the District Court erred when it directed payment of Hansen Trust's tax lien.

[¶5] Issue Three: Whether the District Court erred when it denied Hansen Trust's post-judgment motions.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

[¶6] In March 2007, Dale Tarbet sold two lots located in Anaconda, Montana, to Michael Ward. Ward executed a promissory note in favor of Dale Tarbet and secured the transaction using a Montana Trust Indenture. Under the Trust Indenture, Ward was the designated owner and taxpayer, Tarbet was the beneficiary, and Montana Abstract and Title Company served as the trustee of the property. The Trust Indenture was recorded on April 17, 2007. An addendum to the Trust Indenture substituted Tarbet Schrier, LLC, for Dale Tarbet as beneficiary in the Trust Indenture. Appellees Theodora Tarbet and Timshel Tarbet are members of Tarbet Schrier, LLC (collectively " Tarbets" ).

[¶7] Michael Ward failed to pay property taxes in 2008, 2009, and 2010. Anaconda-Deer Lodge County placed a tax lien on the property for the delinquent taxes. On September 14, 2011, the Anaconda-Deer Lodge County Treasurer assigned the tax lien to the Catherine E.W. Hansen Trust (" Hansen Trust" ). Over a year later, on November 30, 2012, the County Treasurer issued a tax deed to Hansen Trust on the property, which was recorded the same day.

[¶8] In February 2013, Hansen Trust filed a complaint to quiet title to the tax deed. Tarbets answered and asserted that the Trust had failed to provide the notice required under Montana law.

[¶9] In June 2013, Tarbets filed a motion for summary judgment. They argued that the tax deed was void due to Hansen Trust's failure to provide written notice of the issuance of the tax deed to the trustee, Montana Abstract and Title Company. The District Court denied the motion, concluding that there was uncertainty regarding a material fact of whether a title guarantee existed for the property and whether it listed Montana Title and Abstract Company.

[¶10] On August 21, 2013, Hansen Trust filed a motion requesting that Tarbets deposit money with the District Court pursuant to § 15-18-411, MCA. Hansen Trust sought a deposit of $20,859.24 to cover taxes, interest, and penalties, as well as the cost of publication, the court filing fee, property insurance, trust administrative expenses, and [379 Mont. 164] attorney fees. The District Court partially granted the motion, holding that Hansen Trust was entitled to the money necessary to cover taxes, interest, penalties, and costs, but not filing fees, publication, property insurance, trust administrative expenses, or attorney fees. The District Court ordered Tarbets to deposit $6,783.91 with the court and set a show cause hearing. Tarbets agreed to deposit

Page 503

the amount and moved to vacate the show cause hearing. Hansen did not oppose ...


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