Monday, November 25, 2013

Rase v. Castle Mountain Ranch, Inc. case brief

Rase v. Castle Mountain Ranch, Inc. case brief summary
631 P.2d 680 (Mont. 1981)

Plaintiff cabin owners and defendant land owner both appealed from an order of the District Court of the Third Judicial District, in and for the County of Powell (Montana), which imposed a constructive trust for the cabins after the cabin owners commenced an action for interlocutory and permanent injunctive relief against the land owner.

Plaintiffs had licenses from the prior owners of the land to keep their cabins on the land. Defendant purchased the land and sent notices of termination of their licenses to plaintiffs. Plaintiffs then commenced their action for injunctive relief. Sitting in equity, the district court placed a constructive trust on the cabins in favor of plaintiffs and gave plaintiffs six months to exercise an option to accept payment for the cabins from defendant. Plaintiff and defendant both appealed.


  • Upon review, the court give plaintiffs an additional six months to exercise their options, and affirmed the modified judgment. 
  • The court held that the district court's finding that defendant was not an innocent purchaser who took the land without notice of the licenses was supported by the evidence. 
  • The court also found that the evidence supported the district court's conclusion that plaintiffs had no title or interest in the property under the doctrine of adverse possession or prescriptive right because their occupancy was based on permission by defendant's predecessors.

The court modified the judgment to give the cabin owners six months from and after the date a remittitur was handed down the district court from the court to exercise their option to receive payment for their cabin and fixtures, and then affirmed the judgment as so modified.

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