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From: Real Estate & Property Law - Justia Weekly Opinion Summaries [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Real Estate & Property Law - Justia Weekly Opinion Summaries
Sent: Friday, 21 April, 2017 7:04 AM
Subject: Latest 12 Cases This Week: Westover v. Cundick (Idaho), Ex parte Walter B. Price (Ala.), Midland Properties, LLC v. Wells Fargo, N.A. (Nebraska Su ...
Free Real Estate & Property Law case summaries from Justia.
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April 21, 2017
Table of ContentsWestover v. CundickCivil Procedure, Contracts, Government & Administrative Law, Real Estate & Property Law Idaho Supreme Court - CivilEx parte Walter B. PriceCivil Procedure, Real Estate & Property Law Supreme Court of AlabamaMidland Properties, LLC v. Wells Fargo, N.A.Banking, Real Estate & Property Law Nebraska Supreme CourtGinger Cove Common Area Co. v. WiekhorstBusiness Law, Civil Procedure, Real Estate & Property Law Nebraska Supreme CourtForest City v. RogersConstruction Law, Contracts, Real Estate & Property Law Colorado Supreme CourtShrewsbury v. The Bank of New York MellonBanking, Consumer Law, Real Estate & Property Law Delaware Supreme CourtYork v. RES-GA LJY, LLCBanking, Real Estate & Property Law Supreme Court of GeorgiaMongeon Bay Properties, LLC v. Mallets Bay Homeowner's Assn., Inc.Civil Procedure, Landlord - Tenant, Real Estate & Property Law Vermont Supreme CourtGuilbeau v. Hess Corp.Energy, Oil & Gas Law, Real Estate & Property Law U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth CircuitDauch v. Erie County Board of RevisionReal Estate & Property Law Supreme Court of OhioCitizens for Beach Rights v. City of San DiegoCivil Procedure, Government & Administrative Law, Real Estate & Property Law, Zoning, Planning & Land Use California Courts of AppealGroveport Madison Local Schools Bd. of Education v. Franklin County Board of RevisionGovernment & Administrative Law, Real Estate & Property Law, Tax Law Supreme Court of Ohio
New on VerdictLegal Analysis and CommentaryAnother New Federalism Flashpoint: State and Local Laws Targeting Entities that Assist in “Building the Wall” VIKRAM DAVID AMAR Illinois Law dean and professor Vikram David Amar comments on recent actions by state and local governments to oppose federal policies, such as the immigration and the wall along the U.S.–Mexico border.Read More Democratic Roulette: Can France’s Two-Round Presidential Election System Contain a Populist Revolt? DEAN FALVY Guest columnist Dean Falvy, a lecturer at the University of Washington School of Law and attorney with an international business practice, comments on the upcoming presidential election in France. Falvy explains the French election process, the contenders for the presidency, and the high stakes of the election.Read More
Real Estate & Property Law OpinionsWestover v. Cundick Court: Idaho Supreme Court - CivilDocket: 44046 Opinion Date: April 14, 2017Judge: Joel D. Horton Areas of Law: Civil Procedure, Contracts, Government & Administrative Law, Real Estate & Property Law Val and LaRee Westover appealed the district court’s judgment and denial of their request for writs of mandate and prohibition against Franklin County Assessor Jase Cundick. The dispute arose when the Westovers granted an easement to Rocky Mountain Power on property owned by the Westovers. Based on his office’s records, Cundick sent a letter to Rocky Mountain Power stating that the Westovers did not own the property in question. The Westovers sought a writ of mandate to require Cundick to retract the letter and a writ of prohibition to prevent him from sending such letters in the future. The district court denied the Westovers’ request for writs of mandate and prohibition after it concluded that there were other remedies available at law. On appeal, the Westovers argued the district court erred by failing to grant injunctive relief prohibiting Cundick from sending out letters concerning real estate transactions and property ownership. Although the Westovers’ complaint did not request that the district court grant injunctive relief, they argued that the district court erred because the Westovers were clearly entitled to injunctive relief under Idaho Rule of Civil Procedure 54(c). Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed.Read Opinion Are you a lawyer? Annotate this case.Ex parte Walter B. Price Court: Supreme Court of AlabamaDocket: 1151041 Opinion Date: April 14, 2017Judge: Per Curiam Areas of Law: Civil Procedure, Real Estate & Property Law In 2004, Walter Price, Alan Goode, William Lunsford ("Lunsford"), and Cathy Lunsford (Lunsford's wife) formed Riverfront Development, LLC ("Riverfront"), with the goal of developing certain real estate located in Tuscaloosa ("the Riverwalk property"). Price and Goode each owned a one-third interest in the property, and Lunsford owned the remaining third. They took title to the Riverwalk property individually, not through Riverfront. Price and Lunsford were involved in other real-estate ventures together. In 2005, Price loaned Lunsford one million dollars for "Summit," a venture unrelated to the Riverwalk property. In October 2008, Lunsford was in default on the loan. Price made several proposals to Lunsford regarding curing Lunsford's default. In November 2008, Lunsford wrote Price a letter agreeing with Price's proposal that Price would not have to pay his current capital contribution related to the Riverwalk property in exchange for his ameliorating part of Lunsford's debt to Price on the unrelated venture. Lunsford thought his only alternative was to sell his interest the Riverwalk property. However, one month earlier, Lunsford had purchased Goode's one-third interest in the Riverwalk property. Price was unaware at that time that Lunsford had purchased Goode's interest. The record reflected that Lunsford was able to acquire other interests in Riverwalk, which lead Price to sue Lunsford under several negligence and contract theories. The Supreme Court concluded after review of the trial court record, that the evidence, on balance, may have favored Lunsford's version of events with respect to the real estate deals at issue here, but it could not be said that Price did not present a genuine issue of fact as to a scenario under which he could possibly prevail. That is, the Court found Price detailed and supplied evidence of a fraudulent scheme, the true nature of which he did not discover until years after the transaction occurred, and, therefore, the applicable statutes of limitations were tolled. The Court, therefore, reversed the judgment of the Court of Civil Appeals and remanded for further proceedings.Read Opinion Are you a lawyer? Annotate this case.Midland Properties, LLC v. Wells Fargo, N.A. Court: Nebraska Supreme CourtCitation: 296 Neb. 407 Opinion Date: April 14, 2017Judge: William B. Cassel Areas of Law: Banking, Real Estate & Property Law Jerry Morgan purchased property by obtaining a loan secured by a deed of trust. Morgan conveyed the property to his company, Midland Properties, LLC, and managed the property as a rental. Wells Fargo, N.A., which had been assigned the lender’s interest in the promissory note and deed of trust, initiated a nonjudicial foreclosure on the deed of trust, citing Morgan’s failure to make payments as they became due. HBI, LLC purchased the property at a trustee’s sale and conveyed the property to H&S Partnership, LLP. Morgan and Midland Properties (collectively, Appellants) filed an amended complaint against Wells Fargo, HBI, and H&S alleging wrongful foreclosure of a deed of trust, quiet title, tortious interference with business relationships, and declaratory relief. The district court granted summary judgment for Wells Fargo. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court properly excluded evidence for lack of foundation and hearsay; (2) the evidence did not support Appellants’ claims or establish a genuine issue of material fact; and (3) the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Appellants’ motion for leave to amend their complaint.Read Opinion Are you a lawyer? Annotate this case.Ginger Cove Common Area Co. v. Wiekhorst Court: Nebraska Supreme CourtCitation: 296 Neb. 416 Opinion Date: April 14, 2017Judge: William B. Cassel Areas of Law: Business Law, Civil Procedure, Real Estate & Property Law Ginger Cove Common Area Company sued Scott Wiekhorst for unpaid assessments. Wiekhorst filed a counterclaim alleging that Ginger Cover violated its fiduciary duty. After a bench trial, the district court entered judgment against Wiekhorst. Wiekhorst appealed, challenging an order entered two months earlier that overruled his motion to vacate or set aside an order of sanctions. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Wiekhorst properly waited until final judgment to appeal; but (2) because Wiekhorst failed to present a record to support his assigned error, this Court affirms the lower court’s decision regarding that error.Read Opinion Are you a lawyer? Annotate this case.Forest City v. Rogers Court: Colorado Supreme CourtCitation: 2017 CO 23 Opinion Date: April 17, 2017Judge: Nancy E. Rice Areas of Law: Construction Law, Contracts, Real Estate & Property Law In 1990, after Denver determined that it needed a new airport, a group of citizens formed the Stapleton Redevelopment Foundation to develop the former Stapleton International Airport. The Stapleton Redevelopment Foundation created a master plan to convert the former airport site. In 1995, the private, nonprofit Stapleton Development Corporation (“SDC”) was formed to lease and sell the former airport property. SDC selected Forest City as the master developer for redevelopment of the property. Forest City sold the vacant residential lot at issue here to a professional home builder, Infinity Home Collection at Stapleton, LLC (Infinity), with whom Respondent/Cross-Petitioner Tad Rogers had contracted to build a home. When Infinity purchased the lot from Forest City, the lot was vacant, did not have utilities, and still needed to be graded to its final configurations. Rogers ultimately purchased the lot and the home from Infinity. The home included a foundation drain system designed to collect ground water into a sump pit and to pump that water into the yard by way of a sump pump. Because of the high water table beneath his house, coupled with calcite leaching from the recycled concrete aggregate base course used to construct the roads, calcite built up in the foundation drain around Rogers' house. In turn, this water and calcite buildup made his basement uninhabitable and caused his sump pump to run and discharge more water. This case presented an issue of whether contractual privity was necessary for a home buyer to assert a claim for breach of the implied warranty of suitability against a developer. The Colorado Supreme Court held that, because breach of the implied warranty of suitability was a contract claim, privity of contract was required in such a case. Here, because the home buyer did not have contractual privity with the developer, he could not pursue a claim against the developer for breach of the implied warranty of suitability.Read Opinion Are you a lawyer? Annotate this case.Shrewsbury v. The Bank of New York Mellon Court: Delaware Supreme CourtDocket: 306, 2016 Opinion Date: April 17, 2017Judge: Vaughn Areas of Law: Banking, Consumer Law, Real Estate & Property Law Appellee The Bank of New York Mellon, f/k/a The Bank of New York brought a foreclosure proceeding against Appellants J.M. and and Kathy Shrewsbury. The Bank was not the original mortgagee; it received the Shrewsbury mortgage by an assignment from the original mortgagee. The Shrewsburys answered the complaint asserting that the note representing the debt secured by the mortgage had not been assigned to The Bank. They further asserted that since the note had not been assigned to The Bank, it did not have the right to enforce the underlying debt and, therefore, did not have the right to foreclose on the mortgage. The Superior Court rejected the Shrewsburys' argument and granted summary judgment to The Bank. The narrow question presented on appeal was whether a party holding a mortgage must have the right to enforce the obligation secured by the mortgage in order to conduct a foreclosure proceeding. After review, the Supreme Court held that a mortgage assignee must be entitled to enforce the underlying obligation which the mortgage secures in order to foreclose on the mortgage. Accordingly, the Court reversed the trial court and remanded for further proceedings.Read Opinion Are you a lawyer? Annotate this case.York v. RES-GA LJY, LLC Court: Supreme Court of GeorgiaDocket: S16G1245 Opinion Date: April 13, 2017Judge: Peterson Areas of Law: Banking, Real Estate & Property Law The Community Bank loaned money to several entities (“the Borrowers”) over the course of several years. The Borrowers executed five promissory notes, granting the bank a security interest in real estate located in three different counties. To further secure the loans, the Guarantors signed commercial guaranties (“the Guaranties”) in which they guaranteed full payment of the notes. In 2011, RES-GA foreclosed on and bought the properties that were serving as collateral. It then filed confirmation actions in the three counties in which the secured properties were located. In each instance, the court entered an order refusing to confirm the sale, finding that RES-GA had failed to prove that it obtained the fair market value of the property in question, and refusing to allow a resale. RES-GA appealed two of those orders, and the Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed in each case. Last year, the Supreme Court held that compliance with OCGA 44-14-161, Georgia’s confirmation statute, “is a condition precedent to the lender’s ability to pursue a guarantor for a deficiency after foreclosure has been conducted, but a guarantor retains the contractual ability to waive the condition precedent requirement.” The Court granted certiorari in this case to consider additional questions regarding creditors’ ability to pursue deficiency actions against guarantors. The Court concluded that Jim York and John Drillot (“the Guarantors”) waived any defense based on the failure of creditor RES-GA LJY, LLC (“RES-GA”) to confirm the relevant foreclosure sales, and thus affirmed the Court of Appeals’ decision that upheld deficiency judgments against them.Read Opinion Are you a lawyer? Annotate this case.Mongeon Bay Properties, LLC v. Mallets Bay Homeowner's Assn., Inc. Court: Vermont Supreme CourtCitation: 2017 VT 27 Opinion Date: April 17, 2017Judge: Beth Robinson Areas of Law: Civil Procedure, Landlord - Tenant, Real Estate & Property Law Mallets Bay Homeowner’s Association appealed the trial court’s partial denial of its motion to stay the issuance of a writ of possession in favor of Mongeon Bay Properties (MBP) following the termination of the Association’s ground lease. Members of the Mongeon family set up a partnership to own the land under approximately 25 camps, and the partnership entered into a ground lease with the Association, rather than the individual owners of each residence. The ground lease was due to expire in 2036. The lease contained a forfeiture clause, providing that the lease would terminate “if the [Association] shall fail to perform or comply with any terms of this Lease.” MBP sued the Association in January 2012, seeking damages and termination of the ground lease because the Association had failed to perform reasonable repairs and upkeep as required by the lease. The trial court concluded that the Association’s failure to properly maintain the property and the resulting damage amounted to “waste,” and therefore the Association had violated the lease. However, the trial court determined that terminating the lease under the default provision was inequitable and instead awarded MBP damages to cover the cost of repairing the property. On appeal, the Vermont Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s determination that the Association had breached the lease, but remanded for reconsideration of MBP’s remedy. In 2016, the Association requested that the trial court stay the issuance of a writ of possession, arguing there was good cause for the court to stay the writ until 2036, when the lease was set to expire. The trial court entered judgment in favor of MBP, terminated the ground lease, and held MBP was to be granted a writ of possession for the property. After review, the Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s order in part, and remanded for the trial court to exercise its discretion. On remand, the question about which the trial court should exercise its discretion was whether to grant a longer stay than reflected in an October 31 order. The trial court could exercise that discretion on the basis of the parties’ pleadings, or decide to not hold any further hearings unless it chooses to.Read Opinion Are you a lawyer? Annotate this case.Guilbeau v. Hess Corp. Court: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth CircuitDocket: 16-30971 Opinion Date: April 18, 2017Judge: Priscilla R. Owen Areas of Law: Energy, Oil & Gas Law, Real Estate & Property Law Plaintiff purchased property on which oil and gas operations had been conducted. Plaintiff filed suit against Hess, asserting claims for damages stemming from contamination caused by the oil- and gas-related activities on the tract. The oil and gas leases expired in 1973 and plaintiff purchased the property in 2007, when all wells had been plugged and abandoned. The district court granted Hess's motion for summary judgment, concluding that the subsequent purchaser rule barred plaintiff's claims. The court explained that a clear consensus has emerged among all Louisiana appellate courts that have considered the issue, and they have held that the subsequent purchaser rule does apply to cases, like this one, involving expired mineral leases. Because this case presented no occasion to depart from precedent, the court deferred to these precedents, and held that the subsequent purchaser doctrine barred plaintiff's claims. The court noted that although the denial of a writ is not necessarily an approval of the appellate court's decision nor precedential, the Louisiana Supreme Court has had multiple opportunities to consider this issue and has repeatedly declined to do so. Finally, the court declined to certify questions to the state court. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment.Read Opinion Are you a lawyer? Annotate this case.Dauch v. Erie County Board of Revision Court: Supreme Court of OhioCitation: 2017-Ohio-1412 Opinion Date: April 19, 2017Judge: Per Curiam Areas of Law: Real Estate & Property Law At issue in these three consolidated appeals was whether the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) acted reasonably and lawfully in valuing properties based on recent arm’s-length-sale prices. The first case involved a residential property owned by Gale Dauch, and the other two cases involved residential properties owned by Dauch in his personal capacity. Dauch challenged the Erie County auditor’s valuation for tax year 2013, asserting that his recent arm’s-length purchase established a lower true value. The Board of Revision retained the valuations. The BTA reversed and valued the properties according to the sale prices. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, based on Lunn v. Lorain County Board of Revision, the BTA’s findings that the sales were arm’s length in nature were reasonable and lawful.Read Opinion Are you a lawyer? Annotate this case.Citizens for Beach Rights v. City of San Diego Court: California Courts of AppealDocket: D069638 (Fourth Appellate District) Opinion Date: April 20, 2017Judge: Gilbert Nares Areas of Law: Civil Procedure, Government & Administrative Law, Real Estate & Property Law, Zoning, Planning & Land Use In 2006, the City of San Diego (City) obtained a Site Development Permit (SDP) to construct a new lifeguard station on Mission Beach. The SDP stated that failure to utilize the permit within 36 months of its issuance would automatically void the permit. Over the ensuing years, the City worked to secure a permit from the California Coastal Commission (Commission) and to obtain funding for the project. Largely because of the economic downtown, the City struggled to find financing for the project and no construction occurred until 2015. At that time, the City notified nearby residents that its contractor would begin construction in March. The City issued building permits in April and its contractor began initial work on the project, then stopped before the summer moratorium on beach construction. In August 2015, before the end of the moratorium, Citizens for Beach Rights (Citizens) brought a petition for writ of mandate and claim for declaratory relief seeking to halt construction on the grounds that the SDP issued in 2006 had expired. The trial court agreed with Citizens and issued a permanent injunction, preventing further construction without a new SDP. The City appealed, arguing Citizens' claims were barred by the applicable statutes of limitations or the doctrine of laches and, even if the action was not time barred, the SDP remained valid in 2015 under the City's municipal code and policies. The City also argued Citizens improperly sought declaratory relief. After review, the Court of Appeal held Citizens' action was barred by the applicable statutes of limitations and, even if Citizens' claims had been timely pursued, the SDP remained valid when construction began.Read Opinion Are you a lawyer? Annotate this case.Groveport Madison Local Schools Bd. of Education v. Franklin County Board of Revision Court: Supreme Court of OhioCitation: 2017-Ohio-1428 Opinion Date: April 20, 2017Judge: Per Curiam Areas of Law: Government & Administrative Law, Real Estate & Property Law, Tax Law The former owner of the subject property at issue in this case filed a valuation complaint in 2006 seeking to reduce the property’s tax-year-2005 value. The Franklin County Board of Revision (BOR) lowered the value but failed to send that notice to the Groveport Madison Local Schools Board of Education (BOE) at the time. When no appeal was timely filed, a refund was issued to a prior owner, and the case was closed. NSCO International Investment, LLC subsequently acquired the property. More than four years later, the BOE appealed, citing its lack of notice as the reason for its delay. The BOR made no effort to notify NSCO of the appeal. The Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) reinstated the auditor’s valuation. Two years after the BTA decision, NSCO asked the BTA to vacate its decision and schedule a new hearing because it had not been given notice or an opportunity to be heard. the BTA denied NSCO’s motion to vacate. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the BTA lacked jurisdiction to vacate its decision after the time to appeal that decision had passed; and (2) the BTA complied with Ohio Rev. Code 5717.03(B) by sending a copy of its decision to NSCO’s tax mailing address.Read Opinion Are you a lawyer? Annotate this case.
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