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Sanitary & Improvement Dist. No. 424 of Douglas County v. Tristar Mgmt., LLC

Supreme Court of Nebraska

June 27, 2014

SANITARY AND IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT NO. 424 OF DOUGLAS COUNTY, NEBRASKA, APPELLEE,
v.
TRISTAR MANAGEMENT, LLC, A NEBRASKA LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY, APPELLANT

Appeal from the District Court for Douglas County: J. MICHAEL COFFEY, Judge.

Christian R. Blunk, of Harris Kuhn Law Firm, L.L.P., for appellant.

Mark J. LaPuzza, of Pansing, Hogan, Ernst & Bachman, L.L.P., for appellee.

HEAVICAN, C.J., WRIGHT, CONNOLLY, STEPHAN, MCCORMACK, MILLER-LERMAN, and CASSEL, JJ.

OPINION

Page 746

Miller-Lerman, J.

NATURE OF CASE

Tristar Management, LLC (Tristar), appeals the order of the district court for Douglas County in which it ruled that the special assessment liens levied by Sanitary and Improvement District No. 424 of Douglas County, Nebraska (the SID), against five parcels of real estate located within the SID survived Tristar's acquisition of title to the parcels by the issuance to Tristar of treasurer tax deeds under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-1837 [288 Neb. 426] (Reissue 2009). Because we conclude that the liens were foreclosed by the issuance of the tax deeds, the district court erred as a matter of law. We reverse the order entering summary judgment in favor of the SID and denying Tristar's motion for summary judgment, and we remand the cause with directions.

Page 747

STATEMENT OF FACTS

This case involves five parcels of real estate that are located within the boundaries of the SID: lots 46, 53, 54, 94, and 176 (the Properties). The Properties are located in Stone Park, which is a subdivision in Douglas County. The parties stipulated to the underlying facts as follows:

1. That the special assessments on [the Properties] were levied on December 3, 1999 by the [SID] via special assessment in the amount of $8,496.57 per Lot. Interest as of 2.28.13 totals $12,576.15 for a total per Lot of $21,072.72.
2. That the [Properties] had been in a 2005 tax sale auction and were subsequently sold under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-190[1] et [seq]. [(Reissue 2009)] collection of delinquent real property taxes through district court proceedings to HBI, LLC pursuant to Douglas County District Court case CI 1082, Page 845 entitled Adair Asset Mgmt v. East. . . .
3. HBI, LLC brought Douglas County District Court matter CI 1099-167, HBI, LLC v. Sanitary Improvement District 424, against [the] SID . . . seeking declaratory action. [The] SID . . . answered and cross claimed the sale was improper and that [the] SID . . . was not properly served. . . .
4. Douglas County District Court matter CI 1099-167 was dismissed with prejudice. . . .
5. A Special Warranty Deed #2011030257 was filed [by HBI, LLC] with the Douglas County Register of Deeds office on April 5, 2011, [whereby the SID became titleholder,] along with the accompanying Real Estate Transfer Statement Form 521, designating the address of MARK LaPUZZA, Pansing Hogan Ernst & Bachman, [288 Neb. 427] 10250 Regency Circle, Suite 300, Omaha, NE 68114 as the place to send tax statements. . . .
6. [At some point] TRISTAR . . . became the assignee of the [2009] Tax Certificates attached to the following [Properties:]
2009-2311 Lot 46
2009-2356 Lot 94
2009-2873 Lot 176
2009-3348 Lot 53
2009-3376 Lot 54
7. TRISTAR commenced in March, 2012 under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-180[1] et [seq]. [(Reissue 2009)] the collection of property tax by sale of real property and caused the attached Notices to be delivered by certified mail, receipt requested to the SID's address of record. See attached Exhibit " 6" for each Lot['s] respective Notice and green card c/o MARK LaPUZZA, 10250 Regency Circle, Suite 300, Omaha, NE 68114 which all green cards were signed for and returned.
8. TRISTAR further published the Notice on each respective Lot. . . .
9. On various dates, TRISTAR applied for Tax Deeds on each of the respective properties. . . .
10. On various dates, the Deeds were granted and subsequently recorded. . . .
11. The SID . . . took no action to redeem the Certificates within each respective certificate's 90-day redemption period.
12. [The SID's] chairman is Lori Bachman, 6228 North 153rd Avenue, Omaha, NE 68116. [The SID's] clerk is Tom Umthun, 6214 ...

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