CENTURION PROPERTIES III, LLC; SMI GROUP XIV, LLC, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
CHICAGO TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY, a Nebraska company, Defendant-Appellee. CENTURION PROPERTIES III, LLC; SMI GROUP XIV, LLC, Plaintiffs-Appellees,
CHICAGO TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY, a Nebraska company, Defendant-Appellant
Argued and Submitted June 2, 2015, Seattle, Washington
Appeals from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington. D.C. No. 2:12 cv-05130 RMP, DC No. 2:12 cv-05130 RMP. Rosanna Malouf Peterson, Chief District Judge, Presiding.
Certification of Question to State Supreme Court
The panel certified to the Washington Supreme Court the following question: Does a title company owe a duty of care to third parties in the recording of legal instruments?
Steven J. Wells (argued), Timothy J. Droske, Dorsey & Whitney LLP, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Peter S. Ehrlichman, Todd S. Fairchild, Dorsey & Whitney LLP, Seattle, Washington, for Plaintiffs-Appellants/Cross-Appellees.
Stephen J. Sirianni (argued), Sirianni Youtz Spoonemore Hamburger, Seattle, Washington, for Defendant-Appellee.
Before: Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain, A. Wallace Tashima, and M. Margaret McKeown, Circuit Judges.
ORDER RE CERTIFICATION
Sidney R. Thomas, Judge.
This case arises from a dispute between plaintiffs-appellants Centurion Properties III, LLC (" CPIII" ) and SMI Group XIV, LLC (" SMI" ) (together, " Plaintiffs" ), and defendant-appellee Chicago Title Insurance Company (" Chicago Title" ) over whether Chicago Title breached a duty of care to Plaintiffs, causing damages, when it recorded unauthorized liens on CPIII's property. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291. The appeal turns on whether a title company owes a duty of care to third parties in these circumstances, which is a potentially dispositive, but unresolved and important question in Washington law. Thus, we respectfully certify to the Washington Supreme Court the following question:
Does a title company owe a duty of care to third parties in the recording of legal instruments?
CPIII was formed in 2006 to purchase a tract of real property in Richland, Washington (the " subject property" ). SMI, which was owned by Michael Henry (" Henry" ), controlled ten percent of CPIII. The remaining ninety percent was owned by entities controlled by Tom Hazelrigg III and his son, Aaron Hazelrigg. CPIII's managing member upon its formation was an Aaron Hazelrigg-owned company known as Centurion ...