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Kourt Security Partners, LLC v. Judy's Locksmiths, Inc.

Supreme Court of West Virginia

October 13, 2017

KOURT SECURITY PARTNERS, LLC, d/b/a SELECT SECURITY, Petitioner
v.
JUDY'S LOCKSMITHS, INC., and JUDITH J. RANSOM, d/b/a JUDY ALARM MASTERS Respondents

          Submitted: September 19, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kanawha County The Honorable Tod Kaufman, Judge Civil Action No. 09-C-1619

          Charles J. Kaiser, Jr., Esq. Jeffery D. Kaiser, Esq. Phillips, Gardill, Kaiser & Altmeyer, PLLC Wheeling, West Virginia Counsel for Petitioner

          Charles E. Hurt, Esq. The Law Offices of Charles E. Hurt Charleston, West Virginia Counsel for Respondents.

         SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

          1. "A circuit court's entry of summary judgment is reviewed de novo." Syl. Pt. 1, Painter v. Peavy, 192 W.Va. 189, 451 S.E.2d 755 (1994).

         2. "A motion for summary judgment should be granted only when it is clear that there is no genuine issue of fact to be tried and inquiry concerning the facts is not desirable to clarify the application of the law." Syl. Pt. 3, Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co. v. Fed. Ins. Co. of New York, 148 W.Va. 160, 133 S.E.2d 770 (1963).

         3. "Summary judgment is appropriate if, from the totality of the evidence presented, the record could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, such as where the nonmoving party has failed to make a sufficient showing on an essential element of the case that it has the burden to prove." Syl. Pt. 2, Williams v. Precision Coil, Inc., 194 W.Va. 52, 459 S.E.2d 329 (1995).

         4."A party who moves for summary judgment has the burden of showing that there is no genuine issue of fact and any doubt as to the existence of such issue is resolved against the movant for such judgment." Syl. Pt. 6, Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co. v. Fed. Ins. Co., 148 W.Va. 160, 133 S.E.2d 770 (1963).

         5. "A bona fide purchaser is one who actually purchases in good faith." Syl. Pt. 1, Kyger v. Depue, 6 W.Va. 288 (1873).

         6. "Whatever is sufficient to direct the attention of a purchaser to prior rights and equities of third parties, so as to put him on inquiry into ascertaining their nature, will operate as notice." Syl. Pt. 1, Pocahontas Tanning Co. v. St. Lawrence Boom & Mfg. Co., 63 W.Va. 685, 60 S.E. 890 (1908).

         7. "That which fairly puts a party on inquiry is regarded as sufficient notice, if the means of knowledge are at hand; and a purchaser, having sufficient knowledge to put him on inquiry, or being informed of circumstances which ought to lead to such inquiry, is deemed to be sufficiently notified to deprive him of the character of an innocent purchaser." Syl. Pt. 3, Pocahontas Tanning Co. v. St. Lawrence Boom & Mfg. Co., 63 W.Va. 685, 60 S.E. 890 (1908).

         8."One who claims the protection of a court of equity as a bona fide purchaser must show that he had acquired the legal title before notice or knowledge of facts equivalent to notice." Syl. Pt. 4, Clark v. Lambert, 55 W.Va. 512, 47 S.E. 312 (1904).

          Workman, Justice.

         This is an appeal by Kourt Security Partners, LLC, d/b/a Select Security (hereinafter "the Petitioner") from a March 13, 2016, order granting summary judgment in favor of Judy's Locksmiths, Inc., and Judith J. Ransom, d/b/a Judy's Alarm Masters, (hereinafter "the Respondents"). The Petitioner contends the circuit court erred in granting summary judgment where genuine issues of material fact exist. Based upon this Court's review, we reverse the circuit ...


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