Scott v. Peters

Plaintiff-appellant Steven Scott (grantor) owned real property in Canadian County. In 1997, Scott executed a warranty deed conveying 120 acres of the property to defendants-appellees Martin Peters, Jr. and Tammy Peters (grantees). Scott alleged that he only conveyed his surface interest in the 120 acres. In June 2000, Scott agreed to convey the surface only in a remaining 40 acres to the Peters, for a total of 160 acres of the NE/4 of Section 5, Township 13 North, Range 6 West. The warranty deed was executed on June 12, 2000, and filed on June 16, 2000, in the Canadian County Clerk's office. However, no mineral interests were retained by the grantor in this 40 acre deed. By 2014, Scott filed suit against the Peters, seeking to quiet title in the mineral interests on the 160 acres. The Peters answered Scott's allegations and asserted a slander of title claim against the grantor, arguing that they were the owners of the mineral interests in all 160 acres, due to his various conveyances over the years. Further, the Peters argued that any claims relating to the 120 acre tract were also barred by the five year statute of limitations for reformation because the cause was brought more than thirteen years after (as subsequent deed to the same parcel as the Peters') deed was filed, and more than six years after the Peters' oil and gas lease was filed. The trial court denied summary judgment. The trial court held a hearing on the limitations issue, whereby Scott conceded that the five year limitation period for reforming the deed filed in 2000 had expired and that he was consequently precluded from reforming that deed. However, Scott argued that the five year limitation period on reformation of the 1997 deed did not begin to accrue when the deed was filed because it did contain a mineral reservation, but the reservation was alleged to have been insufficient in that deed and a layman, such as himself, should not be held to know the legal effect of such an insufficiency until the legal effect is questioned or disputed. The Oklahoma Supreme retained this case to address the dispositive issue of whether notice imposed upon the grantor by the filing of a deed with the county clerk precluded this action as untimely. The Court held it does, and affirmed the trial court. View "Scott v. Peters" on Justia Law