United States District Court, D. Colorado
IN RE ESTATE OF CHARLOTTE F. SIMMONS, a Colorado estate, Plaintiff,
N.G.L. HOLDINGS, LLC, an Arizona limited liability company, Defendant.
ORDER DENYING N.G.L. HOLDINGS, LLC'S MOTION FOR
Brooke Jackson United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court on defendant's motion for
summary judgment, ECF No. 21. For the reasons below, the
Court DENIES the motion.
case arises from a property dispute in Huerfano County,
Colorado. ECF No. 1 at 1. Ms. Charlotte Simmons, through her
estate, claims that she is the rightful owner of the mineral
estate located beneath the surface estate owned by N.G.L.
Holdings, LLC (“NGL”). Id. NGL contests
this, claiming that it is the owner of both the surface
estate and the mineral estate. ECF No. 15.
land at issue (henceforth, “the Property”) is
legally described as:
“The North ½ of the Northeast ¼, and the
Southeast ¼ of the Northeast ¼ of Section 9;
and the Northwest ¼ of the Northwest ¼ of
Section 10; all in Township 30 South, Range 69 West of the
6th Principal Meridian in Colorado containing one hundred and
sixty acres.” Judge R. Brooke Jackson
21-1. The Property's chain of title is recorded as
• On November 10, 1895 the United States government
granted the Property to Robert J. Price. Id.
• In 1928 the Price family conveyed the Property to
Dorothy A. Dawson. ECF No. 21-2.
• On November 24, 1965 the Dawson family conveyed the
surface estate to Alva and William Adams (collectively the
“Adamses”), but reserved the mineral estate to
itself. ECF No. 21-3 at 1, 2.
• Then, on February 8, 1974, the Dawson family conveyed
the mineral estate to the Adamses. ECF No. 21-4. At this
point, both the surface and mineral estates of the Property
were held in common ownership by the Adamses.
• On May 1, 1974, a co-partnership of the Adamses called
the Quivira Land Company, see ECF No. 21-5, conveyed
the surface estate to Charlotte and Alam Simmons
(collectively the “Simmonses”). That same day,
the Adamses, in their individual capacities, conveyed the
mineral estate to the Simmonses. ECF No. 21-7. As such, as of
May 1, 1974, the mineral and surface estates of the Property
were held in common ownership by the Simmonses.
• Alan Simmons died on August 11, 1982, at which time
the Property passed to Charlotte Simmons exclusively. ECF No.
1 at ¶ 17(A).
• On September 27, 1995 Charlotte Simmons conveyed at
least some portion of the Property to the Leonard F. Austin
Jr. Revocable Trust Date April 15, 1987 (the “Austin
Jr. Trust”). ECF No. 21-8. The conveyance did not
specifically reference the surface or mineral estates, but
stated that the following were not included in the
conveyance: “1995 taxes and all subsequent years,
restrictions, reservations, covenants, easements and
rights-of-way of record, if any.” Id.
• On June 29, 2007 the Austin Jr. Trust conveyed to NGL
via warranty deed “the real property, together with
improvements, if any, and any right, title, or interest to
mineral rights and water rights, if any.” ECF No. 21-9
at 1. That same day, a quitclaim deed was made and delivered
to NGL including the same legal description. ECF No. 21-9 at
Simmons filed a complaint with this Court on September 29,
2016 seeking to quiet title to the Property's mineral
estate. ECF No. 1. After submitting an answer and
counterclaim against Ms. Simmons for breach of warranty of
title, ECF No. 15, NGL then filed this motion for summary
judgment on June 21, 2017. ECF No. 21.
jurisdiction is based upon diversity of citizenship under 28
U.S.C. § 1332.Therefore, Colorado substantive law
applies. Macon v. United Parcel Serv., Inc., 743
F.3d 708, 713 (10th Cir. 2014). Because the Colorado Supreme
Court has not directly addressed the legal issue presented,
this Court must “attempt to predict how
[Colorado's] highest court would interpret [the
issue].” Squires v. Breckenridge Outdoor Educ.
Ctr., 715 F.3d 867, 875 (10th Cir. 2013). In doing so,
this Court may “consider all resources available,
including decisions of [Colorado] courts, other state courts
and federal courts, in addition to the general weight and
trend of authority.” In re Dittmar, 618 F.3d
1199, 1204 (10th Cir. 2010) (internal quotation marks