LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
Since our last update less than two weeks ago there have been a few developments. Most notable is that the Court ruled in favor of the Dunwodys on their motions to join indispensable parties and to join the Park County Board of County Commissioners. It is our attorneys’ belief that these orders are procedural issues only and although they complicate our position, they do not affect the merits of our case in any way. The judge ruled on the motion to join the Park County Commissioners before our time to respond expired. We understand that this is unusual, but do not know why the Judge did not allow the issue to be addressed by our attorneys. We have decided not to challenge that ruling at this time. Our attorneys’ response to the Dunwodys’ motion to join indispensable parties was included in my previous memo but the Judge Groome chose to deny our requests and grant the motion anyway. The fact that I (and probably you) don’t understand the meaning of the judge’s order is not surprising because our attorneys also don’t understand the meaning and implications of the order either. Therefore, our attorneys have prepared and filed a motion for Reconsideration and Clarification. In addition to their legal arguments, they ask the judge a number of questions including: (1) Who exactly are indispensable parties? (2) Why are they indispensable? (3) Does the order apply only to the Quiet Title cause of action (the only cause of action mentioned in the order) or does it also apply to other causes of action mentioned in various filings? (4) Does the Association have standing to represent the interests of owners/members? (5) If required, how do we “join” indispensable parties, and what criteria are we suppose to use to determine if a homeowner has an interest?
As homeowners, you do have the right to intervene. We will keep you posted as to developments, and the final disposition of our Motion, but the Association cannot provide legal guidance on these issues to individual home owners. That’s always been the case, and is not imposed by the Court’s Order to join indispensable parties.
In other actions, the Dunwodys have filed motions and interrogatories (questions) that challenge the merits of representative plaintiffs Vastola, Wells and O’Connell claims as plaintiffs, in another effort to delay the case and avoid addressing the real issue of access to the disputed roads. Meanwhile, our attorneys have prepared and served discovery on Vera and Drayton Dunwody.
As a footnote, a number of you have asked what “Quiet Title” means. My very non-professional understanding is that when there is uncertainty regarding the legal title to real property, the Court can be asked on behalf of interested parties to make a ruling to clarify or "quiet" the title. Fred Skillern supplied this more complete definition: "a claim to quiet title is a comprehensive request to determine the rights of all parties to property in question - whether those rights are to ownership, or are in the form of interests in land such as easements or covenants, or are in the form of liens on land such as mortgages, deeds of trust and the like. These are important distinctions - we are not necessarily challenging the Dunwody's ownership of the fee."
If all of this legal language seems confusing, welcome to our legal system. The Board is doing our best to make sense of it all too. If you have any concerns or questions call any member of your board. Remember, we would never ask you to agree to anything against your will or that we did not feel was in the best interests of everyone in our community.
Bob Phelps for the 2010 EFPOA Board 10/9/10