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Burgdorf v. Weston

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 12-11-2013
Case #: A147599
Duncan, J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; and Brewer, J. Pro Tempore
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A147599.pdf

Civil Procedure: If, in a civil dispute, upon viewing the evidence in a light most favorable to the plaintiff a fact finder could reasonably determine evidence provides grounds for enforcing plaintiff's claims, then granting a defendant's motion for summary judgment on those claims is an error by the trial court.

Plaintiff Burgdorf (“Burgdorf”) appealed the trial court’s grant of Defendant Weston’s (“Weston”) motion for summary judgment on Burgdorf’s claims for declaratory relief, fraud, and unjust enrichment as well as Weston’s motion for partial summary judgment affirming title to the real property in Weston. Burgdorf argued the trial court erred because a genuine issue of material fact existed in each of her claims. Burgdorf and Weston were prior romantic partners who shared ownership “not as tenants in common but with rights of survivorship” in real property. The real property was purchased solely by Burgdorf who later conveyed half ownership interest to Weston on a condition, made by oral agreement according to Burgdorf, that it be returned to Burgdorf upon Weston’s obtainment of a loan. Additionally, Burgdorf had loaned considerably large amounts of money to Weston in expectancy of him moving to Oregon. Weston subsequently did not convey the property to Burgdorf or reimburse her for money spent on his behalf. As a result, Burgdorf filed a complaint with claims for declaratory judgment, fraud, unjust enrichment, and requested the court issue a warranty deed transferring the property interest back to her.  The trial court granted Weston’s motion for summary judgment on all three claims. In an affidavit in support of her response to summary judgment, Burgdorf alleged she expected the property to be returned and money spent to be reimbursed by Weston. The Court of Appeals reviewed each claim separately in the light most favorable to Burgdorf and reversed the trial court’s ruling because Burgdorf introduced evidence from which a fact finder could reasonably determine provides grounds for enforcing her claims. Reversed and Remanded.