JEFFREY T. ROWE and REBECCA L. ROWE, husband and wife and the marital community comprised thereof, Respondents,
JOEL K. KLEIN and KAREN L. KLEIN, husband and wife and the marital community comprised thereof, Defendants. JEFFREY T. ROWE and REBECCA L. ROWE, husband and wife and the marital community comprised thereof, Respondents,
TRENT R. ADAMS and MELISSA J. ADAMS, husband and wife and the marital community comprised thereof, Petitioners,
statutory warranty deed includes both present and future
covenants. The present covenants guarantee conditions at the
time the deed is executed. These covenants are breached, if
at all, at conveyance. The future covenants protect a
buyer's future right to the land. These covenants are
generally breached after conveyance, when a third party
asserts a claim to the property.
and Rebecca Rowe (Rowe) bought property from Trent and
Melissa Adams (Adams) via statutory warranty deed in 2008. In
2014, a neighbor, Klein, sought to quiet title in a portion
of the property by adverse possession. Six years and three
months after Rowe bought the land, he sued Adams for breach
of warranties and covenants. Adams moved to dismiss on the
theory that Rowe's claims were barred by the six year
statute of limitations. The trial court denied Adams'
motion to dismiss but certified for review, the question of
when the statute of limitations began to run.
statute of limitations on the covenant of seisin, a present
covenant, began to run at conveyance, because a present
covenant, if breached at all, is breached at the time of
conveyance. The statute of limitations on the warranty
to defend, a future covenant, began to run when Adams refused
Rowe's tender of defense. The statute of limitations on
the warranty of quiet possession, the other future covenant,
began to run when Rowe was actually or constructively evicted
from the land claimed by Klein.
trial court erred in denying Adams' motion to dismiss as
to the present covenants. The trial court did not err in
denying Adams' motion to dismiss the claim for breach of
the warranty to defend. As to the warranty of quiet
possession, the trial court did not err in denying Adams'
motion to dismiss except as to that portion of the land
occupied by Klein's greenhouse at the time of conveyance.
bought lot 4 from Adams in August 2008 by statutory warranty
deed. Lot 4 is adjacent to and south of lot 3, the Klein
property. The boundary between lots 3 and 4 is about 140 feet
long and runs from east to west.
foot strip on the northern boundary of lot 4 has patches of
grass, cedar trees, rhododendrons, and blackberry bushes.
Part of the area is a leach field for a septic system.
Towards the front of the lots, a crushed rock parking strip
on lot 3 abuts the surveyed boundary line. At the back of the
lots, a greenhouse on lot 3 extends over the property line.
About 10 feet south of the boundary, on lot 4, a chain link
fence runs from east to west for about 30 feet. The fence is
attached to Rowe's back porch. Rowe believed the fence
was part of a previous owner's dog run.
had lot 4 surveyed in 2010. The survey showed that
Klein's greenhouse encroached onto lot 4. Klein's
parking strip was on lot 3, but vehicles parked on the strip
encroached a few feet onto Rowe's property.
intended to terrace the northern boundary of lot 4 and began
this work in 2013. Klein objected. Klein asserted that he had
maintained the northern 10 feet of lot 4 as his own since
buying lot 3 in 1974. Klein contended the chain link fence
marked the property line.
2014, Rowe filed a complaint to eject Klein and quiet title.
Klein counterclaimed for adverse possession. Klein asserted
that he had exclusively possessed and maintained the property
from 1974 to 1984 and had thus acquired the land by adverse
possession before either Adams or Rowe bought lot 4. Because
his claim to the property was based on his possession from
1974 to 1984, Klein argued that he had no burden to show that
he continued to hold the property after 1984 and any evidence
of how the property was used after 1984 was irrelevant. The
trial court granted Klein's motion for summary judgment
and quieted title in him.
2014, while the action with Klein was in progress, Rowe
tendered defense of Klein's adverse possession claim to
Adams. Adams did not respond and in December 2014, Rowe filed
a third party complaint asserting breach of the covenants of
seisin, encumbrances, quiet possession, and the covenant to
moved to dismiss under CR 12(c), asserting that Rowe's
claims were time barred. Adams contended the statute of
limitations on the covenants in the warranty deed began to
run at conveyance. Rowe opposed the motion and asserted that
the statute of limitations did not begin to run until Klein
established paramount title.
Adams' motion to dismiss presented a purely legal issue,
the court recited the underlying facts for context. The court
stated that, at the time of conveyance, neither Adams nor
Rowe was aware that Klein had adversely possessed a portion
of lot 4. The court ruled that the statute of limitations did
not begin to run until Klein perfected title in the disputed
land and, thus, Rowe's claims were not time barred. The
court denied Adams' motion to dismiss.
trial court denied Adams' motion for reconsideration but
granted his motion to certify the question of when the
statute of limitations began ...