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Riordan v. Lawyers Title Insurance Corp.

United States District Court for the District of New Mexico
393 F.Supp.2d 1100 (2005)



The Riordans (plaintiffs) purchased property in an “in-holding” (property surrounded by federal land) for $225,000 in 1995. The Riordans purchased title insurance from Lawyers Title Insurance Corp. (Lawyers Title Insurance) (defendant), including coverage for lack of a right of access to the property and unmarketability of title. The Riordans later brought suit against the United States, arguing the property was not accessible by automobile and seeking a declaration of a vehicular right of way to the property. Subsequently, in September 2002, the property was appraised for $2.8 million. The Riordans sold the property to the Sandia Pueblo for $1.3 million and a $1.8 million tax deduction for a charitable contribution. The Riordans’ action against the United States was dismissed as moot by stipulation after the sale of the property. After the dismissal of their action against the United States, the Riordans demanded payment from Lawyers Title Insurance under the policy, claiming the lack of vehicular access to the property was a covered cause of loss. The Riordans also claimed the lack of access to the property rendered the property title unmarketable. When their demands were rejected, the Riordans brought suit against Lawyers Title Insurance in the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico. Lawyers Title Insurance moved for summary judgment.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Brack, J.)

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