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Star Valley Ranch Association v. Daley

Supreme Court of Wyoming

September 17, 2014

STAR VALLEY RANCH ASSOCIATION, Appellant (Defendant),
v.
WILLIAM DALEY, Trustee of the Daley Family Trust; GERALD KITTELSON and SARA KITTELSON, Trustees of the Kittelson Revocable Trust; FRANK GOGLIO, and BOB LOGAN and KATHY LOGAN, Trustees of the Logan 1998 Revocable Trust, Appellees (Plaintiffs)

Appeal from the District Court of Lincoln County. The Honorable Marvin L. Tyler, Judge.

Representing Appellant: James K. Sanderson and Michael D. Allen, Sanderson Law Office, Afton, Wyoming. Argument by Mr. Sanderson.

Representing Appellees: Paula A. Fleck and Matthew W. Kim-Miller, Holland & Hart, LLP, Jackson, Wyoming. Argument by Mr. Kim-Miller.

Before BURKE, C.J., and HILL, KITE[*] DAVIS, and FOX, JJ.

OPINION

Page 1208

BURKE, Chief Justice.

[¶1] The Star Valley Ranch Association attempted to amend the restrictive covenants governing the Star Valley Ranch subdivision in Lincoln County, Wyoming. The Appellees, owners of property in the subdivision, filed suit in district court seeking to invalidate the amendments on the basis that the Association had not complied with the previous covenants' requirements for amendments. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the Appellees. The Association appealed the district court's decision. We will affirm.

ISSUES

[¶2] The Association presents these issues:

1. Where more than 70% of the lot owners in the entire subdivision consented to amend the covenants, did the district court err in holding that the amended covenants were invalid as they pertained to Plats 1, 2, and 3 of the Star Valley Ranch Subdivision?
2. Did the district court err when it held that no legal impracticability occurred upon the Clerk's refusal to record the signatures of those who consented to the modification of the covenants?
3. Where the law of the case held that the original covenants are to be interpreted to apply only to the specific plats that were described in the covenants, did the district court err in holding the Appellees had standing to challenge the amended covenants in plats where they were not lot owners?

[¶3] The Appellees rephrase the issues:

1. Did the district court properly grant summary judgment in favor of the [Owners]

Page 1209

because [the Association] failed to satisfy various requirements to amend and restate eleven separate sets of covenants as a single document?
2. Did the district court properly consider the entirety of the attempted global amendment and restatement of eleven sets of covenants and hold that the [Owners] have standing to challenge that amendment process?

Facts

[¶4] Leisure Valley, Inc., a Nevada corporation, founded Star Valley Ranch, a subdivision in Lincoln County, Wyoming. Beginning in 1970, and ending in 1986, Leisure Valley planned and built out twenty-one plats within the boundaries of the subdivision. The subdivision now includes more than 2,000 lots.

[¶5] Leisure Valley drafted and recorded sets of covenants for eleven separate phases of the development, eventually covering all twenty-one plats. The covenants were recorded for the following plats in this chronological order:

Phase 1. Plats 1 and 2, August 14, 1970;
Phase 2. Plat 20, August 19, 1970;
Phase 3. Plat 3, March 29, 1971;
Phase 4. Plats 4, 5, and 6, June ...

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