Gfeller v. Scottsdale Vista North Townhomes Ass'n, 1

CourtCourt of Appeals of Arizona
Citation193 Ariz. 52,969 P.2d 658
Docket NumberCA-CV,No. 1,1
PartiesPatricia GFELLER and Richard Gfeller, husband and wife, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. The SCOTTSDALE VISTA NORTH TOWNHOMES ASSOCIATION, an Arizona corporation, Defendant-Appellee. 98-0010.
Decision Date17 November 1998

Page 658

969 P.2d 658
193 Ariz. 52
Patricia GFELLER and Richard Gfeller, husband and wife, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
The SCOTTSDALE VISTA NORTH TOWNHOMES ASSOCIATION, an Arizona corporation, Defendant-Appellee.
No. 1 CA-CV 98-0010.
Court of Appeals of Arizona,
Division 1, Department A.
Nov. 17, 1998.

Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, P.L.C. by James M. Ackerman and David B. Earl, Phoenix, Attorneys for Plaintiffs-Appellants.

Holloway Odegard & Sweeney, P.C. by Paul W. Holloway and K. Alan Holcomb, Phoenix, Attorneys for Defendant-Appellee.

OPINION

FIDEL, Judge.

¶1 Plaintiffs Richard and Patricia Gfeller appeal from the trial court's determination that defendant Scottsdale Vista North Townhomes Association has no affirmative duty to enforce applicable Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions ("CC & Rs") to prevent a neighboring property owner from interfering with drainage of rainwater from the Gfellers' property.

¶2 We reverse the trial court's declaratory judgment in favor of the Association. We find that the CC & Rs impose an affirmative duty upon the Association to enforce the drainage requirements of the CC & Rs, which duty is not negated by provisions that permit the Association to select among alternative methods of enforcement.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶3 In 1990, the Gfellers purchased a townhome in a community called Scottsdale Vista North Townhomes. Each building in the Scottsdale Vista North complex contains

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several townhome units sharing common side walls. The patio and backyard of each unit are separated from the neighboring yards by shared block walls. Weepholes in each block wall are intended to permit rainwater to flow downward along a common swale and ultimately flow out into common areas or streets.

¶4 After purchasing their townhome, the Gfellers discovered that, during heavy rains, their backyard would flood several inches deep; occasionally, rainwater would accumulate on their patio and flood the interior of their home. The Gfellers attribute this flooding to a blockage of intended drainage caused by modifications to the property adjacent to their lot on the downhill side, a property owned by Mr. Vincent Lewis. The Gfellers tried to resolve this condition with Mr. Lewis but could not come to agreement.

¶5 All of the property in Scottsdale Vista North is subject to recorded CC & Rs. The CC & Rs create the Association to maintain common areas and exteriors and fulfill other functions. In their complaint against the Association, 1 the Gfellers contend that the CC & Rs oblige it to enforce CC & R drainage rules against Mr. Lewis and correct the drainage problem. The Association responds that it has a right to enforce CC & R drainage provisions, but not a duty to do so.

¶6 The parties stipulated to try the duty issue to the court, deferring resolution of the question whether Mr. Lewis had indeed caused the Gfellers' flooding by modifications violative of the CC & Rs. The trial court concluded that the CC & Rs do not impose a duty on the Association to enforce the drainage rules. Because the Gfellers' other claims were premised on the existence of this duty, the court entered a Rule 54(b) certified judgment dismissing all claims against the Association. The trial court awarded the Association its attorney's fees. The Gfellers filed a timely notice of appeal.

ASSOCIATION DUTY TO ENFORCE DRAINAGE RULES

¶7 Has the Association a duty to enforce the drainage rules set forth in the CC & Rs or, as the trial court found, merely the right to enforce them if it chooses? Both parties agree that this issue is controlled by the language of the CC & Rs. We interpret written CC & Rs de novo where, as here, there is no extrinsic evidence of the drafter's intent. See Bryceland v....

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12 cases
  • Associated Aviation Underwriters v. Wood
    • United States
    • Arizona Court of Appeals
    • 29 Septiembre 2004
    ...Those distinctions are significant because "bodily injury" presumably means something other than "disease." See Gfeller v. Scottsdale Vista N. Townhomes Ass'n, 193 Ariz. 52, ¶ 13, 969 P.2d 658, 660 (App.1998) (we are required to interpret a contract in a way that all of its terms are given ......
  • Miller v. Hehlen
    • United States
    • Arizona Court of Appeals
    • 18 Enero 2005
    ...we must interpret a contract in a way that gives meaning to all its material terms and renders none superfluous. Gfeller v. Scottsdale Vista North Townhomes Ass'n, 193 Ariz. 52, ¶ 13, 969 P.2d 658, 660 (App.1998). We cannot simply ignore the phrase "doing business as H & R Block." Although ......
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    • Arizona Court of Appeals
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    ...and give meaning to all of its terms, if reconciliation can be accomplished by way of reasonable interpretation." Gfeller v. Scottsdale Vista N. Townhomes Ass'n, 193 Ariz. 52, ¶ 13, 969 P.2d 658, ¶ 13 (App.1998); see also Taylor, 175 Ariz. at 154, 854 P.2d at 1140. While we agree that the c......
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    • Arizona Court of Appeals
    • 27 Febrero 2007
    ...prevailing party." ¶ 27 In interpreting a contract, we attempt to reconcile and give meaning to all its terms. Gfeller v. Scottsdale Vista North Townhomes Ass'n, 193 Ariz. 52, 54, ¶ 13, 969 P.2d 658, 660 (App.1998). Nothing in the wording of Article 32.6 reflects the parties intended to rel......
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