An Arizona appellate court has ruled that leaders of a polygamist sect in Colorado City couldn’t evict a couple after ousting the man from the sect.
The man was removed when his wife refused to allow her 15-year-old daughter to wed a 39-year-old married man.
However, the Court of Appeals said the case it decided Tuesday didn’t resolve underlying legal issues.
The Court of Appeals upheld a Mohave County trial judge’s ruling dismissing an eviction action filed against Milton and Lenore Holm by a trust controlled by leaders of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
The Holms live in a house on trust land in Colorado City and the trust claimed it had a landlord-tenant relationship with the Holms and that they could be evicted.
The couple denied they were tenants, said they had a life-estate interest in the property and argued that allowing the trust to force them from the property would unjustly enrich the trust at their expense.
The Court of Appeals upheld the trial judge’s dismissal of the eviction action but said he was wrong to rule that the Holms’ arguments were correct.
An eviction case is too narrow to resolve the underlying “genuine dispute” and other proceedings would be needed to untangle the underlying legal and factual issues, Judge Susan A. Ehrlich wrote for the panel.
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