Gens v. WhiteAnnotate this Case
April Gens purchased 4.3 acres of land adjacent to Lake Lanier in Forsyth County. She divided the property into a number of residential lots, including "Lot 7," which is the property at issue in this quiet title case. She created “access strips” which provided lake access for each lot. Gens gave the Bank a security deed covering all of the land in 1999. Two years later, Gens gave another security deed to the Bank for Lots 0, 7 and 8. That deed mistakenly described the property in dispute as only “part of Lot 7.” Gens defaulted on her bank loans and filed for bankruptcy protection. Gens ultimately surrendered all her interest in all the properties. The Bank exercised its right of foreclosure and sold part of Lot 7 to White’s predecessors in title. White later purchased the property, built a house on it, and paid all property taxes as they became due. Six years and a number of months after White purchased the property and began to make improvements on it, Gens filed a quiet title action, asserting she was the legal owner of Lot 7 because the deed to White only conveyed a “part of Lot 7.” Shortly after filing suit, April Gens died, and Nicholle Gens, the administrator of Gens’s estate, was substituted in her stead. White counterclaimed, seeking reformation of the deeds in the chain of title to White’s property, alleging the deeds described the property erroneously due to accident, mistake or fraud. The special master assigned to this matter found that Gens was equitably estopped from claiming title to Lot 7 (excepting the access strip) and that White was entitled to the property. The trial court adopted the special master's findings and conclusions, and quieted title in favor of White. Gens argued on appeal that the trial court relied on the wrong caselaw precedent. The Supreme Court agreed and reversed. Furthermore, the Court remanded for the trial court to determine the merits of White's reformation counterclaim.