Justia Real Estate & Property Law Opinion Summaries

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In Marina Pacifica Homeowners Assn. v. Southern California Financial Corp., this court determined that a monthly "assignment fee," payable by individual condominium unit owners to the developers of the condominium project, was properly collectible under those statutory provisions. On appeal, the Association challenged the trial court's judgment determining the amended amounts owing from unit owners to the developers' successor in interest, Southern California, for the assignment fee. The court need not decide whether it could properly reconsider its decision in Marina Pacifica I, because the amended statute and its legislative history demonstrate that the Legislature intended in any event to permit the Marina Pacifica I assignment fees to remain in place. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Marina Pacifica Homeowners Assoc. v. Southern California Financial Corp." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs-Appellants, a certified class of Osage tribal members who owned headrights, appealed the district court’s accounting order. Plaintiffs alleged that the government was improperly distributing royalties to non-Osage tribal members, which diluted the royalties for the Osage tribal members, the rightful headright owners. The complaint attributed this misdistribution to the government’s mismanagement of the trust assets and the government’s failure to perform an accounting. Thus, Plaintiffs sought to compel the government to perform an accounting and to prospectively restrict royalty payments to Osage tribal members and their heirs. The district court dismissed Plaintiffs’ accounting claim because it found that the applicable statute only required the government to account for deposits, not withdrawals, and that such an accounting would not support Plaintiffs’ misdistribution claim. After review, the Tenth Circuit could not say the district court abused its discretion. "The accounting the district court fashioned will certainly inform Plaintiffs of the trust receipts and disbursements and to whom those disbursements were made." View "Fletcher v. United States" on Justia Law

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Nautilus, Inc. obtained a judgment against Stanley Kuo Hua Yang, and recorded an abstract of judgment against real property on which Stanley and his brother, Peter Chun Hua Yang, held title. Stanley and Peter transferred title on the property to their father, Chao Chen Yang, who obtained a reverse mortgage loan on the property from Security One Lending. In its title search, the title insurance company missed Nautilus’s abstract of judgment when the reverse mortgage loan funded. Stanley’s transfer of the property to Chao Chen was a fraudulent conveyance under the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act (UFTA). Nautilus sued Stanley, Peter, and Chao Chen. Nautilus also sued Urban Financial Group, Inc., which bought the mortgage from Security One, for damages resulting from the fraudulent conveyance from Stanley to Chao Chen. Following a bench trial, the court found that Security One and Urban Financial had acted in good faith, and could not be liable to Nautilus. Finding no reversible error in that judgment, the Court of Appeal affirmed: the trial court misapplied the burden of proof in connection with the good faith defense. "We publish our opinion because of our analysis of the requirements of the good faith defense. Some cases have held that a transferee cannot avail itself of the good faith defense if the transferee had fraudulent intent, colluded with a person who was engaged in a fraudulent conveyance, or actively participated in a fraudulent conveyance. . . . After analyzing those state and federal cases, we hold a transferee cannot benefit from the good faith defense if that transferee had fraudulent intent, colluded with a person who was engaged in the fraudulent conveyance, actively participated in the fraudulent conveyance, or had actual knowledge of facts showing knowledge of the transferor’s fraudulent intent." View "Nautilus, Inc. v. Yang" on Justia Law

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This case arose from a mortgage foreclosure petition filed by FV-I, Inc. The dispute in this case was between FV-I and Bank of the Prairie (BOP), a bank with junior mortgages on the same property. The parties agreed to sell the property and place the proceeds in escrow pending resolution of this case. Summary judgment was initially granted in favor of BOP. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded for a trial to determine whether FV-I had possession of the promissory note underlying the mortgage at the time it filed the mortgage foreclosure. After a trial, the district court concluded that FV-I lacked standing to file the petition because it did not have possession of the original note prior to filing its petition and that BOP’s mortgages were superior to FV-I’s mortgage. The Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that evidentiary rulings excluding endorsements on the promissory note require a remand for a rehearing regarding standing and the panel’s priority determination. Remanded. View "FV-I, Inc. v. Kallevig" on Justia Law

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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. View "Groveport Madison Local Schools Bd. of Education v. Franklin County Board of Revision" on Justia Law

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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. View "Citizens for Beach Rights v. City of San Diego" on Justia Law

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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. View "Dauch v. Erie County Board of Revision" on Justia Law

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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. View "Guilbeau v. Hess Corp." on Justia Law

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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. View "Mongeon Bay Properties, LLC v. Mallets Bay Homeowner's Assn., Inc." on Justia Law

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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. View "York v. RES-GA LJY, LLC" on Justia Law