United States District Court, D. Utah, Central Division
CURT A. MARCANTEL, an individual, Plaintiff,
STEWART TITLE GUARANTY COMPANY, a Texas corporation, COALITION TITLE AGENCY, INC., a Utah corporation, MICHAEL AND SONJA SALTMAN FAMILY TRUST, an entity MICHAEL A. SALTMAN, an individual, and SONJA SALTMAN, an individual, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM DECISION GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN
PART STEWART TITLE GUARANTY COMPANY'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
B. PEAD UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
parties consented to this court's jurisdiction under 28
U.S.C. § 636(c). (ECF No. 20). The case is before the
court on Defendant Stewart Title Guaranty Company's
(“Stewart Title”) Motion for Summary Judgment.
(ECF No. 59). The Motion is fully briefed, including
Plaintiff Curt A. Marcantel's (“Marcantel”)
evidentiary objection. (See ECF Nos. 60, 63-65). The
court did not hear oral argument.
“court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows
that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and
the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). “A party asserting that a fact . .
. is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by . . .
citing to particular parts of materials in the record.”
Id. 56(c)(1)(A). “A dispute is genuine when a
reasonable jury could find in favor of the nonmoving party on
the issue.” Macon v. United Parcel Serv.,
Inc., 743 F.3d 708, 712 (10th Cir. 2014). In conducting
its review, the court must view the evidence and draw
reasonable inferences from that evidence in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party. Id.
bought an Owner's Policy of Title Insurance from Stewart
Title in connection with the March 12, 2015, purchase of a
parcel of real estate in Park City, Utah. (ECF No. 59 at 3).
On September 10, 2015, Marcantel received an offer to
purchase the property for $1, 900, 000. (ECF No. 65, Ex. 1).
Based on the subsequent discovery of a sewer easement, the
same prospective purchaser reduced his offer to $1, 250, 000
on September 21, 2015. (Id. at Ex. 2). On October
2015, the prospective purchaser increased his offer to $1,
400, 000. (Id. at Ex. 3).
March 9, 2016, Marcantel's counsel sent a letter to
Stewart Title demanding it immediately pay $745, 000 to
Marcantel. (ECF No. 59, Ex. 3). The letter indicated the
demand expired on March 18, 2016. (Id.) On March 24,
2016, Stewart Title responded by letter acknowledging
Marcantel's claim and providing contact information for
the assigned claims counsel. (ECF No. 59, Ex. 4). On March
29, 2016, Marcantel filed the instant lawsuit. (ECF No. 2).
On April 26, 2016, Stewart Title sent Marcantel a letter
accepting the tender of claim and indicating it would obtain
an appraisal to determine the loss or damage Marcantel
suffered as a result of the sewer easement. (ECF No. 59, Ex.
14, 2016, Stewart Title provided Marcantel with a copy of an
appraisal it obtained to determine the amount of
Marcantel's loss, and a check for $68, 000 conditioned on
Marcantel signing a release of claims, subrogation, and
recoupment agreement. (ECF No. 60 at 6). The appraisal is
dated May 31, 2016, and estimates the value of the Park City
property as of March 12, 2015, with and without the sewer
easement. (ECF No. 60, Ex. 6). Marcantel refused the offer.
(ECF No. 60 at 6).
The parties agree that the title insurance policy governs
the terms of the parties' relationship
Title contends the title insurance policy it issued is a
binding contract that governs the parties' dispute. (ECF
No. 59 at 3, 7-9). Marcantel agrees. (See ECF No. 60
at 2-3). Accordingly, the court finds the title insurance
policy is a binding contract defining the rights and
responsibilities of Marcantel and Stewart Title.
The thirty-day time limit did not begin to run when
Stewart Title accepted Marcantel's notice of claim
according to the unambiguous language of the parties'
to the plain language of the policy, the thirty-day period
Marcantel cites did not begin when Stewart Title accepted
Marcantel's notice of claim. Stewart Title contends that
the policy does not require it to pay claims within thirty
days of receiving or accepting them because such a
requirement conflicts with its various options under the
policy, including litigation to clear title encumbrances.
(ECF No . 59 at 9-11). Marcantel argues the policy requires
Stewart Title to pay within thirty days of accepting a claim
because the policy uses mandatory language
“shall.” (ECF No. 60 at 10). The policy states:
“When liability and the extent of loss or damage have
been definitely fixed in accordance with these Conditions,
the payment ...