James v. MerceaAnnotate this Case
Property at issue in this case was a five-sided parcel roughly the shape of a rectangle. North of the property is a paved road that curves northwest. On the east side, a north-south right-of-way that provided access from the paved road to a lot adjoining the property to the south. In 2006, Defendants-Respondents Cornelius and Patricia Mercea purchased the property; in 2007, Plaintiff-Appellant Diana James purchased the property from the Merceas. Prior to the purchase, she did not have any conversations with the Merceas, nor did they make any representations regarding the property except those contained in the property disclosure form required by the Idaho Property Condition Disclosure Act. Plaintiff obtained title insurance from First American Title Insurance Company, and First American Title Company, Inc., was the closing agent. In 2009, Plaintiff filed this action against the Merceas, the prior owners of the parcel, and First American Title Insurance Company, alleging that when she purchased the property, she believed that the pavement going from the paved street to her garage was entirely her private driveway and that she did not know that most of that pavement was on a public right-of-way. She also alleged that she believed a portion of an adjoining lot was also part of the property she purchased. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the Merceas, finding that they did not violate the Idaho Property Condition Disclosure Act or commit fraud by failing to disclose that the public road alongside the property was not a private driveway on the property. The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court's judgment finding Plaintiff failed to meet her burden of presenting sufficient evidence to maintain her claims.