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Dwan v. Indian Springs Ranch Homeowners Association

June 3, 2010

ANN T. DWAN, APPELLANT (PLAINTIFF),
v.
INDIAN SPRINGS RANCH HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC., A WYOMING NONPROFIT CORPORATION, APPELLEE (DEFENDANT).



Appeal from the District Court of Teton County, The Honorable Nancy J. Guthrie, Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Burke, Justice.

Before VOIGT, C.J., and GOLDEN, HILL, KITE, and BURKE, JJ.

[¶1] Ann Dwan contends that our previous decision in this same case, Dwan v. Indian Springs Ranch Homeowners Ass'n, Inc., 2008 WY 74, ¶ 16, 186 P.3d 1199, 1203 (Wyo. 2008) ("Dwan I") entitles her to summary judgment on her claims for damages and attorney's fees. The Indian Springs Ranch Homeowners Association disagrees. The district court ruled against Ms. Dwan, and granted summary judgment in favor of the Association. We will affirm the district court's decision.

ISSUES

[¶2] Ms. Dwan presents two issues:

1. Whether the Supreme Court's earlier decision in this case entitles Ms. Dwan to summary judgment on her claims for breach of the Indian Springs Ranch Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CCRs), and the opportunity to prove her damages.

2. Whether Ms. Dwan is entitled under the CCRs to attorney's fees and costs she has incurred in the enforcement of her contract rights in this litigation.

FACTS

[¶3] The facts underlying this case were set forth in Dwan I, and will be summarized briefly here. In 1998, the Association approved the plans for Ms. Dwan's residence, even though the roof had a steeper pitch than allowed by the CCRs. In 2003, the Association approved Ms. Dwan's plans for a combination garage and guesthouse with the same roof pitch as the house. In 2006, Ms. Dwan sought approval for an addition to her home, proposing a roof with the same steep pitch. The Association denied that application on the basis that the roof pitch did not comply with the CCRs.

[¶4] Ms. Dwan sued the Indian Springs Ranch Homeowners Association, claiming that it had unreasonably denied her application to build the addition. Her complaint included claims both for equitable relief and for damages based on a breach of the CCRs. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the Association on all claims, and Ms. Dwan appealed. We reversed the district court's ruling. Dwan, ¶ 16, 186 P.3d at 1203.

[¶5] On remand, the district court granted summary judgment in favor of Ms. Dwan on her claim for equitable relief. However, Ms. Dwan contended that she was also entitled to recover damages against the Association because it had breached the CCRs. She moved for summary judgment on the Association's liability for damages, and asked for an opportunity to prove her damages. She also sought to recover attorney's fees under the provisions of the CCRs. The district court denied Ms. Dwan's request for attorney's fees. It denied her motion for summary judgment on her breach of contract claim, and granted the Association's cross motion for summary judgment on that issue. Ms. Dwan appealed, bringing this case before us a second time.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

[¶6] We apply this standard when reviewing a district court's decision to grant summary judgment:

Summary judgment is appropriate when there are no genuine issues of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. W.R.C.P. 56(c); Metz Beverage Co. v. Wyoming Beverages, Inc., 2002 WY 21, ¶ 9, 39 P.3d 1051, 1055 (Wyo. 2002). "A genuine issue of material fact exists when a disputed fact, if it were proven, would establish or refute an essential element of a cause of action or a defense that the parties have asserted." Id. Because summary judgment involves a purely legal determination, we undertake de novo ...


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