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Vestin Mortgage, Inc. v. First American Title Insurance Company

Utah Supreme Court
139 P.3d 1055 (2006)


A company mortgaged its property to secure loans from Vestin Mortgage, Inc. (Vestin) (plaintiff). Vestin insured its property interest by buying title insurance from First American Title Insurance Company (First American) (defendant). At the time, the town where the property was located had passed and publicly recorded an ordinance creating a special improvement district (SID). The mortgaged property lay within the SID's boundaries. After First American issued the title insurance policy, the town began levying a special tax on the SID. The borrower eventually defaulted on the loans and Vestin foreclosed on the property. Only then did Vestin hear about the SID ordinance and learn that, if Vestin sold the property to a third party, that party would immediately have to pay an accelerated SID tax. Vestin disclosed this information to a prospective buyer, who then declined to purchase the property. Vestin sued First American for damages, contending that the title insurance policy insured Vestin against the SID tax assessment. Both the trial court and the appellate court ruled in First American's favor. Vestin appealed to the Utah Supreme Court.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Wilkins, J.)

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