Justia Real Estate & Property Law Opinion Summaries

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At Tax Court, the parties disagreed about what types of equipment fall within the definition of "logging equipment" exempt from ad valorem property taxation under ORS 307.27. Specifically, they disagreed about what types of equipment used for logging road work - logging road construction, maintenance, reconstruction, improvement, closure, or obliteration - fell within the definition. Plaintiff Bert Brundige, LLC argued that all types of equipment used for logging road work fell within the definition. Defendant, the Oregon Department of Revenue, argued that excavators were the only type of equipment used for logging road work that fell within the definition. The Tax Court agreed with defendant and entered a judgment in its favor. Plaintiff appealed. Finding no reversible error, the Oregon Supreme Court affirmed. View "Bert Brundige, LLC v. Dept. of Rev." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part the decision of the circuit court granting partial summary judgment to Plaintiff on his complaint seeking an injunction and restraining order against Plowboy, LLC requiring Plowboy to remove two gates placed across a section-line highway, holding that the circuit court did not err in granting partial summary judgment but erred in directing removal of the gates within twenty days.In his complaint, Plaintiff argued that the gates were unlawful obstructions across a section-line highway. The circuit court concluded that Defendant failed to establish that the road was unimproved, and therefore, the gates must be removed. The court then ordered Defendant to remove the gates within twenty days. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and vacated in part, holding (1) the circuit court did not err in granting partial summary judgment; but (2) the circuit court did not certify its ruling as a final judgment, and therefore, the circuit court was unable to order the removal of the gates within twenty days. View "Patterson v. Plowboy" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed in part the decision of the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) that upheld three use-tax assessments based on Appellant's purchase of three trucks, holding that the BTA erred by failing to correlate its findings with the distinct primary uses of the trucks.The trucks at issue were two Peterbilt trucks and one Lodal truck. Appellant argued that because it purchased the three trucks for use in its business as a for-hire motor carrier, the purchase were exempt from sales and use tax under Ohio Rev. Code 5739.02(B)(32)'s "highway transportation for hire" exemption. The tax commissioner and the BTA determined that the exemption did not apply to the purchases because Appellant's use of the trucks to transport waste material to landfills did not qualify as the transportation of "personal property belonging to others." The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding (1) for purposes of section 5739.02(B)(32), waste is "personal property belonging to" the person or entity that generated it when the person or entity has an agreement with the hauler that specifies where the waste is to be taken for disposal; and (2) because the generators of the waste hauled by the Peterbilt trucks designated the destination of the waste, the Peterbilt trucks were entitled to the exemption. View "N.A.T. Transportation, Inc. v. McClain" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the order of the superior court allowing Plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction but amended the first numbered paragraph of the order to affirmatively restrain only Turo Inc.'s conduct, holding that the preliminary injunction was properly granted.The Massachusetts Port Authority (Plaintiff) filed suit against Turo, RMG Motors LLC, and John Doe Nos. 1 through 100 (collectively, Defendants) in this dispute over the unregulated pick up and drop off of passengers at the Logan International Airport. At issue on appeal was the superior court judge's order granting a preliminary injunction in favor of Plaintiff that restricted Turo from conducting commercial activity at the airport without written permission from Plaintiff. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the order, holding that the judge did not err in issuing the preliminary injunction but that a modification of the terms of the injunction to comply with the requirements of the Communications Decency Act, 47 U.S.C. 230(c)(1) was required. View "Massachusetts Port Authority v. Turo Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals reversing in part the circuit court's determination that the price for certain property was $16.6 million and granting County Visions Cooperative fifteen days to exercise its right of first refusal at that price, holding that a circuit court may set an exercise price that exceeds the appraised value of the burdened property.The circuit court granted Country Visions specific performance of its right of first refusal to a property that Archer-Daniel-Midland Co. was attempting to sell. At issue was whether the circuit court correctly set the price at which Country Visions could exercise its right of first refusal. The court of appeals concluded that the circuit court did not err in how it determined the appropriate right of first refusal exercise price but remanded the case for a determination of whether the $16.6 million price included personal property. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the circuit court properly considered the unique synergies that the property provided when it set the exercise price higher than the appraised value; but (2) remand was necessary to determine whether the $16.6 million exercise price included more than what was called for in the right of first refusal contract. View "Country Visions Cooperative v. Archer-Daniels-Midland Co." on Justia Law

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Developers submitted an application for a Berkeley mixed-use development with 135 apartments over 33,000 square feet of retail space and parking, pursuant to Government Code section 65913.4, which provides for streamlined, ministerial approval of affordable housing projects meeting specified requirements. The site is the location of the West Berkeley Shellmound, “believed to have been one of the first of its kind at the Bay’s edge, built ca 3,700 B.C.,” part of a City of Berkeley Landmark. Shellmounds were “sacred burial sites for the average deceased mound-dweller,” slowly constructed over thousands of years from daily debris and artifacts. The city denied the application.The court of appeal ruled in favor of the developers. There is no evidence that the project “would require the demolition of a historic structure that was placed on a . . . historic register.” Remnants and artifacts could be disturbed, but that is not the issue under section 65913.4(a)(7)(C). With regard to tribal cultural resources, the project’s draft environmental impact report concluded impacts on the Shellmound would be reduced to “a less-than-significant level” by agreed-upon mitigation measures. Given the Legislature’s history of attempting to address the state’s housing crisis and frustration with local governments’ interference with that goal, and the highly subjective nature of historical preservation, the intrusion of section 65913.4 into local authority is not broader than necessary to achieve the legislation's purpose. View "Ruegg & Ellsworth v. City of Berkeley" on Justia Law

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Karen and Jerome Schirado appealed a judgment granting the City of Glen Ullin and the Glen Ullin Park District permanent injunctive relief and awarding the Park District attorney’s fees. The Schirados owned land near both Park District and City property. In 2013, the Park District sued the Schirados to enjoin them from fencing and allowing their horses to graze on Park District lots. The Park District was granted default judgment. In 2019, the Park District and the City sued again, alleging the Schirados violated the 2013 judgment. The suit contained claims similar to the 2013 suit, with additional claims involving the City’s streets and alleys which were not involved in the original action. The Schirados conceded they placed fencing on the properties and allowed their horses to graze, but alleged they were given permission by the City. The district court granted a preliminary injunction in favor of the City and the Park District. The court found the Schirados in contempt of court because of their violation of the 2013 judgment, and awarded attorney’s fees and costs to the City and the Park District. The North Dakota Supreme Court reversed the judgment in favor of the City, and reversed and remanded the fee award for the district court to explain its rationale for the award, including which amount is a sanction for contempt, and which portion is allocated to each plaintiff. On remand, the Schirados moved a new trial, claiming Karen Schirado possessed additional testimony and evidence “necessary to allow her to fully present her case.” The district court denied the motion for trial and concluded the Schirados had two opportunities to present evidence of an oral or written agreement to use the City property and failed to do so. The court granted the City’s motion for summary judgment, concluding the Schirados failed to present admissible evidence in resistance to the City and Park District’s motion for summary judgment. The court also granted the City and the Park District permanent injunctive relief and awarded the Park District $5,460.00 in attorney’s fees. The Schirados appeal from the amended judgment. Finding no reversible error in the amendment judgment, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed. View "City of Glen Ullin, et al. v. Schirado, et al." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the circuit court granting judgment on the pleadings in favor of the Affton Fire Protection District, the governor, and the attorney general (collectively, Defendants) in this challenge to Mo. Rev. Stat. 72.418.2 and 321.322.3, holding that the circuit court did not err.The City of Crestwood and two of its resident taxpayers (collectively, Plaintiffs) argued that sections 72.418.2 and 321.322.3, which govern the provision of and payment for fire protection services in certain annexed areas, violate the prohibition against special laws in Mo. Const. art. III, 40 and that section 72.418.2 violates constitutional due process protections and provisions of the Missouri Constitution prohibiting certain taxes and the creation of unfunded mandates. The Supreme Court held (1) a rational basis supported the classification scheme in sections 72.418 and 321.322.3; (2) the fee Crestood pays to the district is not a tax on the resident taxpayers of Crestwood; and (3) section 72.418.2 does not create an unfunded mandate. View "City of Crestwood v. Affton Fire Protection District" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court's judgment in favor of the Empire District Electric Company and Westar Generating, Inc. (collectively, the Utilities) in this petition to quiet title against John Scorse, both individually and as a trustee, and his successors in interest concerning a tract of land in Newton County, holding that the circuit court did not err.After the circuit court entered its judgment, Scorse filed a motion to amend the judgment, arguing that the circuit court misapplied the law by failing to grant his adverse possession claim. The circuit court overruled the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the facts, combined with the facts found by the circuit court in its final judgment after trial, were not such that Scorse was entitled to judgment as a matter of law on his claim of adverse possession. View "Empire District Electric Co. v. Scorse" on Justia Law

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In this dispute over a party wall agreement between adjoining property owners the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court granting summary judgment to all three defendants on Plaintiff's breach of the party wall agreement claim and summary judgment for two defendants on Plaintiff's negligence claim, holding that the circuit court did not err.Plaintiff owned a commercial building that shared a party wall with the adjacent property. Zen's Development, Uptown Properties, and Kenneth McBride, were the current or previous owners of the adjacent property. The circuit court granted summary judgment to all defendants on the breach of the party wall agreement claim and summary judgment to Uptown and McBride on the negligence claim. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Plaintiff was not entitled to relief on her claims of error. View "Birchfield v. Zen's Development, LLC" on Justia Law