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Appellants Coleman Homes, LLC, West Highlands, LLC, West Highlands Subdivision Homeowner’s Association, Inc., and West Highlands Land, LLC appealed a district court order entered in favor of the City of Middleton, Idaho. Appellants entered into two agreements with the City regarding impact fees and public access space for the West Highlands Ranch Subdivision (the “Project”) located in Middleton. Soon thereafter, Appellants asserted the agreements were invalid and unenforceable. In response, the City sought a judgment from the district court declaring the agreements valid and enforceable. The parties eventually stipulated to the validity of the agreements. Both sides filed motions for summary judgment asking the district court to interpret the agreements. The district court ultimately ordered Appellants to designate 12.8 acres of land within the Project as public access space and ruled that Appellants were obligated to provide a financial guarantee, if necessary. Based on the summary judgment order, the district court found the City to be the prevailing party and awarded the City attorney fees under Idaho Code section 12-120(3). Appellants appealed the district court’s prevailing party determination. The City cross-appealed the district court’s fee award and ruling that Appellants were obligated to provide a financial guarantee, if necessary. After review, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed the prevailing party determination, and ordered a clerical error with respect to naming the party obligated to provide a financial guarantee. View "Middleton v. Coleman Homes" on Justia Law

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Joshua Ward petitioned the Alabama Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus directing the Shelby Circuit Court to vacate its October 7, 2017, order setting aside a default judgment entered against Johnathan Motors, LLC, and its principal Jacques C. Chahla (hereinafter referred to collectively as "the dealership") and to enter an order reinstating the default judgment. In 2017, Ward filed a 12-count complaint against the dealership and fictitiously named defendants alleging, among other things, that on August 5, 2016, he purchased a vehicle from the dealership and that the dealership unilaterally voided the sale of the vehicle and unlawfully repossessed and converted to its own use the vehicle, the down payment, the monthly installment payment, and the personal property in the vehicle when it was unlawfully repossessed. On August 14, 2017, Ward requested the clerk of the circuit court to enter a default against the dealership pursuant to Rule 55(a), Ala. R. Civ. P., based on the dealership's failure to answer or otherwise to defend in the case; the clerk subsequently made an entry of default in the case. On October 3, 2017, the dealership moved the trial court to set aside the default judgment. On October 7, 2017, the trial court entered an order granting the dealership's motion to set aside the default judgment, but requiring the dealership to file an answer within seven days from the date of that order; the dealership did not file an answer within seven days as ordered. On November 1, 2017, Ward moved the trial court to reconsider its order setting aside the default judgment, the trial court denied Ward's motion to reconsider the order setting aside the default judgment. On November 13, 2017, the dealership filed an answer to the complaint. Ward thereafter petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus. After review, the Supreme Court ordered the trial court to vacate its order setting aside the default judgment, to enter an order reinstating the default judgment against the dealership, and to schedule a hearing on damages. View "Ex parte Joshua Ward." on Justia Law

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Defendant Mark Price d/b/a J&M Movers ("J&M") filed a petition for a writ of mandamus with the Alabama Supreme Court requesting the Perry Circuit Court to vacate its order granting a motion for relief from judgment filed by plaintiffs Lawrence and Margaret Brewer. In 2013, the Brewers sued J&M and fictitiously named defendants, asserting a single claim alleging trespass based on the June 23, 2009, repossession of a mobile home that was located on their real property. According to the Brewers, on or about June 23, 2009, J&M unlawfully entered their real property to repossess the mobile home and caused damage to their property during the process. J&M filed an answer in which it denied the allegations in the complaint. In 2015, the Brewers filed an amended complaint, substituting Brandon Scott Asberry d/b/a Scott Asberry Transportation as "the proper party Defendant in this case." Thereafter the Brewers filed a motion to dismiss J&M as a defendant in the case, which the trial court granted. J&M was dismissed as a defendant. Over two years later, the Brewers filed a motion for relief from the judgment of dismissal, citing Rule 60(b)(6), Ala. R. Civ. P., and asking the trial court to reinstate J&M as a defendant. The trial court granted the Brewers' motion for relief from judgment. After review, the Alabama Supreme Court concluded J&M established that the Brewers were not entitled to relief pursuant to Rule 60(b)(6) and that the trial court exceeded its discretion in granting the Brewers' motion for relief from judgment. Accordingly, the Supreme Court granted the petition for a writ of mandamus and directed the Perry Circuit Court to vacate its order granting the motion for relief from judgment filed by the Brewers. View "Ex parte Mark Price d/b/a J&M Movers." on Justia Law

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Mississippi Sand Solutions, LLC (“MSS”) appealed a Chancery Court decree that MSS did not have an easement of any type across property owned by a group of heirs, the “Fisher Property.” MSS’s predecessors used the alleged easement across the Fisher Property to access another parcel of land from which they mined gravel and sand throughout the years. The Fisher heirs, who owned the Fisher Property, claimed that this access was by permission, evidenced by lease agreements with MSS’s predecessors. As a result, the Fisher heirs filed a declaratory action against MSS, seeking to have the alleged easement declared invalid. After a trial, the chancellor ruled that MSS did not have an easement across the Fisher Property. Given the standard of review and the sufficient evidence in the record, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed the chancellor’s judgment. View "Mississippi Sand Solutions, LLC v. Otis" on Justia Law

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In this quiet title action, the Supreme Court held (1) a regulated entity like the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) has standing to assert 12 U.S.C. 4617(j)(3) - the Federal Foreclosure Bar (the FFB) - in a quiet title action; (2) the FFB preempts Nev. Rev. Stat. 116.3116, which allows a homeowners’ association (HOA) foreclosure on a superpriority lien to extinguish a first deed of trust; and (3) the FFB invalidates any purported extinguishment of a regulated entity’s property interest while under the conservatorship of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) unless the FHFA affirmatively consents. The Morenos obtained a home loan secured by a deed of trust on Las Vegas Property. The deed of trust was assigned to Fannie Mae. When the Morenos failed to pay their HOA dues, Saticoy Bay LLC Series 9641 Christine View (Saticoy Bay) purchased the property at a HOA foreclosure sale. Saticoy Bay then brought suit against Fannie Mae to quiet title. Summary judgment was granted for Fannie Mae. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the FFB protected the deed of trust from extinguishment because Fannie Mae was under the FHFA’s conservatorship at the time of the foreclosure sale; and (2) absent the FHFA’s affirmative relinquishment, Saticoy Bay’s interest in the property was subject to Fannie Mae’s deed of trust. View "Saticoy Bay LLC Series 9641 Chrstine View v. Federal National Mortgage Ass’n" on Justia Law

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Due process requires junior water rights holders in the Diamond Valley Hydrographic Basin No. 153 (Diamond Valley) be given notice and an opportunity to participate in the district court’s consideration of the request of a vested, senior water rights holder to order the State Engineer to curtail junior water rights in Diamond Valley. Because water in Diamond Valley has been over-appropriated and pumped at a rate exceeding its perennial yield for more than four decades, groundwater levels in southern Diamond Valley have fallen over 100 feet. Sadler Ranch, which claims to be a vested, senior water rights holder in Diamond Valley, petitioned the district court to order the State Engineer to initiate curtailment proceedings regarding junior water rights in Diamond Valley. The Supreme Court granted this writ petition, holding that an upcoming show cause hearing may result in a court order to begin curtailment proceedings, resulting in possible deprivation of property rights. Therefore, due process required junior water rights holders in Diamond Valley to be given notice and an opportunity to be heard before the district court conducted the hearing. View "Eureka County v. Seventh Judicial District Court" on Justia Law

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Arkansas’s Rules of Professional Conduct do not require attorney disqualification simply because the attorney had access to client information but did not gain actual knowledge while practicing at her former association. Appellee filed a complaint against Appellants - The Park Apartments at Fayetteville, LP, The Park Apartments at Fayetteville Management Co., and Lindsey Management Co., Inc. (Lindsey) (collectively, the Park), alleging that the liquidated-damages clause in her lease agreement was unenforceable and constituted an illegal penalty. Appellee later filed a motion to disqualify the Park’s attorney and Lindsey’s entire in-house legal department, alleging that Summer McCoy, a staff attorney for Lindsey, had a conflict of interest and that the conflict of interest should be imputed to the Park’s attorney and the entire Lindsey legal department because McCoy was now a part of that department. The circuit court granted the motion to disqualify. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the circuit court erred in applying Norman v. Norman, 970 S.W.2d 270 (Ark. 1998), when it concluded that access to client information alone was sufficient for attorney disqualification. View "Park Apartments At Fayetteville, LP v. Shilah Plants" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the circuit court’s judgment in favor of Plaintiffs awarding damages and an easement enabling Plaintiffs to install an independent tile line underneath Defendant’s property. Uphill landowners (Plaintiffs) and downhill landowner (Defendant) agreed to connect their drain-tile systems to allow for improved drainage across their parcels. Plaintiffs built and maintained an independent tile line that ran across Defendant’s property. Defendant experienced flooding. Believing that the connection of Plaintiffs’ drain tile to his system was the cause, Defendant obstructed the connection and then disconnected his drain-tile system from Plaintiffs’ system, causing water to pool on Plaintiffs’ property. Plaintiffs filed a complaint seeking damages and an order permitting them to reconnect the two systems. Defendant counterclaimed arguing that Plaintiffs unlawfully discharged water onto his land. The circuit court held in favor of Plaintiffs. The Supreme Court held that the circuit court (1) did not err in concluding that promissory estoppel entitled Plaintiffs to damages and an easement because the parties agreed that Plaintiffs would discharge water into Defendant’s drain-tile system; but (2) erred in concluding a trespass occurred because Defendant did not cause water to enter Plaintiffs’ land where the water was already on the land and Defendant simply caused it to remain there. View "Zwart v. Penning" on Justia Law

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The clear-and-convincing standard applies when determining the existence of an oral contract for the conveyance of farmland when only money damages are sought for the claimed breach of that contract. Plaintiff argued that the Estates of his parents were obligated under an oral contract for the sale of land to convey farm property to him. After a second trial, the jury found by a preponderance of the evidence that an oral contract existed between Plaintiff and his parents and awarded Plaintiff damages for the breach of that contract. The Estates moved for judgment as a matter of law and a new trial, arguing that the district court instructed the jury on the incorrect standard of proof. The district court denied the motion. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the matter to the district court for a new trial, holding (1) the clear and convincing evidence is required to prove that an oral contract for the sale of land existed, regardless of whether the party seeks damages or specific performance; and (2) therefore, the district abused its discretion in denying Plaintiff’s motion for a new trial. View "Christie v. Estate of Dilman Christie" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the denial of the City's motions for judgment as a matter of law and for a new trial in an inverse condemnation action. In this case, the underlying dispute involved a beachfront parcel owned by plaintiffs, which experienced significant public usage. The court held that the evidence at trial supported the jury's finding that a physical taking occurred through the continuous occupation of plaintiffs' property by members of the general public where the City encouraged public occupation by placing beach access signs, clearing vegetation, creating nearby parking spaces, hosting events at the property, and refusing to remove trespassers. The court also held that there was no basis to grant a new trial. Finally, on the City's request for fee simple ownership of the beach parcel upon payment of the judgment—the court held that such relief was not warranted under Florida law and the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the City's request to transfer title. The court held that the City has paid for, and was entitled to, a permanent easement across plaintiffs' beach property for the benefit of the public and directed the district court to amend its judgment to reflect this permanent easement. View "Chmielewski v. City of St. Pete Beach" on Justia Law