Heard in the Court of Appeals 3 December 2014.
Smith, Anderson, Blount, Dorsett, Mitchell & Jernigan, L.L.P., by Michael W. Mitchell and Lauren H. Bradley, for plaintiff-appellee.
Erwin, Bishop, Capitano & Moss, PA, by Fenton T. Erwin, Jr. and Matthew M. Holtgrewe, for defendant-appellant.
DAVIS, Judge. Judges ELMORE and DIETZ concur.
Appeal by defendant from order entered 22 May 2014 by Judge Donald W. Stephens in Wake County Superior Court,
No. 13 CVS 14682.
Bondhu, LLC (" Defendant" ) appeals from the trial court's order granting summary judgment in favor of Martin Marietta Materials, Inc. (" Plaintiff" ) on its action seeking the recovery of $71,947.00 in property taxes paid by Plaintiff on Defendant's behalf and denying Defendant's motion for partial summary judgment. On appeal, Defendant contends that the trial court improperly granted summary judgment in Plaintiff's favor because its claims for reimbursement were barred, in part, by the statute of limitations. After careful review, we affirm.
This case arises from the parties' joint ownership of a 90-acre tract of real property (" the Property" ) located in Chesterfield County, Virginia. Property owners in Chesterfield County receive bills for the ad valorem property taxes they owe from the Chesterfield County Treasurer's Office twice a year. When Plaintiff first acquired its one-half interest in the Property, its then co-tenant, Tamojira, Inc. (" Tamojira" ), had already failed to pay its share of the property taxes for the years 2002, 2003, and the first half of 2004. After Plaintiff acquired its interest in the Property, Tamojira failed to pay the taxes for the second half of 2004 and the first half of 2005. Plaintiff brought suit and subsequently obtained a default judgment against Tamojira for the unpaid taxes. Tamojira's interest in the Property was then transferred to Defendant by deed recorded 24 May 2005. Defendant has not paid ad valorem property taxes on the Property since acquiring its interest in 2005.
On 31 October 2013, Plaintiff filed a verified complaint in Wake County Superior Court alleging that (1) Defendant has failed to pay any property taxes since Defendant
acquired its one-half interest in the Property on 24 May 2005; and (2) " [a]s the other one-half owner of the Property, [Plaintiff] has had to satisfy the tax debts owed by Defendant in the amount of $67,831.60, plus any amounts in taxes, fees, and interest [Plaintiff] must pay for the property taxes for the second half of 2013." In its complaint, Plaintiff sought reimbursement from Defendant for the property taxes it had paid on Defendant's behalf.
On 26 February 2014, Defendant filed an answer asserting the statute of limitations as an affirmative defense and seeking the appointment of a receiver pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1-502. Plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56 of the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure on 4 February 2014 and an amended motion for summary judgment on 19 February 2014. On 15 May 2014, Defendant filed a motion for partial summary judgment, alleging that the applicable statute of limitations barred ...