Spirit Property Management v. Vondell

In an eviction action, a district court must have both subject matter and personal jurisdiction to enter a valid order or judgment. Barbara Vondell appealed a judgment entered for Spirit Property Management, evicting her from possession of real property and awarding a money judgment against her. For over twenty-five years Luetta Vondell owned a mobile home on a rented lot. Sometime after Luetta was diagnosed with dementia, her daughter Barbara moved in with her, becoming her full-time care giver and agent under a durable power of attorney. In July 2014 Barbara and Luetta Vondell, through Barbara under the power of attorney, signed a one-year lease for the mobile home lot. The lease commenced on July 1, 2014, continuing on a month-to-month basis after the lease term. Luetta died in September 2015. In March 2016 Spirit Property filed suit for eviction and possession of real property for nonpayment of rent. Barbara answered the suit, denying Spirit Property's claims and asserting various defenses. At a May 2016 eviction hearing the district court found Barbara moved out of the home in November 2015, but the mobile home continued occupying Spirit Property's lot. The court found that while lot rent was partially paid for September 2015, no rent was paid in October and November 2015. The court entered an order and judgment against Barbara granting Spirit Property possession of the property and awarding $2,440 for unpaid rent and costs. Barbara argued the district court erred in deciding it had subject matter jurisdiction of the eviction action under N.D.C.C. ch. 47-32 when the court found Barbara terminated the lease and vacated the property in November 2015. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the district court had both subject matter jurisdiction over the eviction and personal jurisdiction over Vondell, and affirmed. View "Spirit Property Management v. Vondell" on Justia Law