Justia Real Estate & Property Law Opinion Summaries

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After a trial before a three-member land commission, the district court awarded compensation to Landowners after the government took an easement on their land. The district court awarded Landowners $4.4 million, apportioned attorney's fees and litigation costs, and split the cost of the commission.The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's award of just compensation and the splitting of the commission costs. The court concluded that the district court was within its discretion to weigh the evidence and to determine that the Landowners had shown a non-speculative demand for industrial and residential development in the reasonably near future. Therefore, the court could not say that the district court clearly erred in calculating its award of just compensation. The court also concluded that the district court has broad discretion in apportioning commission costs, and upheld its decision to do so. However, the court concluded that identifying the "prevailing party" for purposes of the attorney's fee award is a legal question that the court reviewed de novo. The court found that the district court erred in making that determination, concluding that because the government's $937,800 value is closer to the district court's final award of $4.4 million, the government, not the Landowners, is the "prevailing party" in this litigation. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part and reversed in part. View "United States v. 269 Acres Located in Beaufort County" on Justia Law

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The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (FHAA) does not require landlords to accommodate the disability of an individual who neither entered into a lease nor paid rent in exchange for the right to occupy the premises.The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the City, in an action brought by plaintiff against the City for wrongful eviction based on several theories of state law implied tenancy. The panel held that the FHAA applies to rentals only when the landlord or his designee has received consideration in exchange for granting the right to occupy the premises. As to occupants requesting accommodation, the panel held that the FHAA's disability discrimination provisions apply only to cases involving a "sale" or "rental" for which the landlord accepted consideration in exchange for granting the right to occupy the premises. Applying a federal standard rather than California landlord-tenant law, the panel concluded that because plaintiff never provided consideration in exchange for the right to occupy Spot 57, the FHAA was inapplicable to his claim for relief. Furthermore, the City was not obligated to provide, offer, or discuss an accommodation. View "Salisbury v. City of Santa Monica" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the decision of the court of appeals affirming in part and reversing in part an order of the trial court concluding that two purchasers, the first of whom bought a tract of property at a nonjudicial foreclosure sale, and the second of whom bought a property tract from the initial purchaser, were not good faith purchasers for value, holding that the trial court abused its discretion.When the property owners' brought a motion for relief from the foreclosure order, the trial court determined that it lacked jurisdiction over one of the property owners due to insufficient notice and deficient service of process, and therefore, the transfers to both subsequent purchasers should be declared null and void. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court erred by determining that the two purchasers were not good faith purchasers for value entitled to the protections available pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. 1-108. View "In re George" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the orders of the trial courts in these three cases brought by downstream property owners asserting that the San Jacinto River Authority's release of water from its Lake Conroe reservoir into the San Jacinto River caused or contributed to the flooding of their properties, holding that the trial court did not err by denying the River Authority's motions to dismiss the three suits.Plaintiffs asserted both common-law inverse condemnation claims under Tex. Const. art. I, 17 and statutory takings claims under Chapter 2007 of the Government Code. The River Authority moved to dismiss the three suits, arguing that Chapter 2007 applied strictly to regulatory takings and not physical takings, as Plaintiffs contended. The trial court denied the motions to dismiss. The court of appeals affirmed, holding that Chapter 2007's statutory takings claim included the physical takings claim alleged in the property owners' pleadings. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the statutory takings claim may include a physical taking and is not limited solely to regulatory takings. View "San Jacinto River Authority v. Argento" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the trial court's grant of summary judgment for Defendants in this trespass to try title suit, holding that the trial court properly granted summary judgment for Defendants.Plaintiff and Defendants were lessees of adjacent mineral estates. Plaintiff brought this suit alleging that Defendants drilled several wells either on Plaintiff's leasehold or closer to the lease line that allowed by Railroad Commission rules. Defendants claimed that Plaintiff ratified the boundary line through a boundary stipulation between the fee owners of the two mineral estates and Plaintiff's written acceptance of the stipulation, thus foreclosing the trespass claims. The trial court granted summary judgment for Defendants. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the boundary stipulation was void and therefore could not be ratified. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the boundary stipulation was valid; and (2) Defendants conclusively established their ratification defense. View "Concho Resources, Inc. v. Ellison" on Justia Law

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In this quiet title action for adverse possession of a small parcel of land adjacent to parcel on which Lillie Brown's home stood, the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court granting Brown's motion for summary judgment and finding that she had adversely possessed the parcel of land at issue, holding that the district court did not err.After learning that she did not own the parcel at issue, Brown filed her motion to quiet title. The district court granted summary judgment for Brown and quieted title in her favor. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in its evidentiary rulings and properly granted summary judgment in favor of Brown. View "Brown v. Morello" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the ruling of the district court striking Plaintiff's resistance to a motion for summary judgment and vacated the resulting summary judgment and bench trial judgment, holding that the district court abused its discretion by striking the entire resistance filing without any showing of prejudice or violation of a prior court order.On the last day of an extended deadline Plaintiff filed his resistance and supporting papers. The next day, the clerk of court rejected Plaintiff's filing because of the failure to redact Plaintiff's social security number. The district court granted Defendants' motion to strike the filing as untimely and noncompliant and subsequently granted summary judgment dismissing Plaintiffs' claims. A different judgment ultimately entered judgment for Defendants on their counterclaims. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court abused its discretion by granting Defendants' motion to strike Plaintiff's resistance filings. View "Toney v. Parker" on Justia Law

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In this case concerning the correct interpretation of Nev. Rev. Stat. 116.3116(2), Nevada's "superpriority lien" statute, the Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court granting summary judgment for Respondents, holding that the district court's construction of the statute was correct.Section 116.3116(2) gives a homeowners association's lien priority over a first deed of trust with respect to the HOA's assessments for common expenses based on the periodic budget adopted by the HOA "which would have become due in the absence of acceleration during the [nine] months immediately preceding institution of an action to enforce the lien." Respondents' predecessor tendered a check equaling nine months' worth of assessments in an attempt to satisfy the HOA's superpriority lien, but the HOA had imposed a yearly assessment so that the entire assessment became due during the nine months immediately preceding when the HOA brought this action to enforce its liens. The district court granted summary judgment for Respondents. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court correctly reasoned that the HOA's imposition of an annual assessment accelerated the assessments' due date such that Respondents were not required to tender more than nine months of assessments to satisfy the superpriority portion of the HOA's lien. View "Anthony S. Noonan IRA, LLC v. U.S. Bank National Ass'n EE" on Justia Law

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This case presented the Idaho Supreme Court with a fundamental, but previously unanswered, question: what duty is owed by a hospital to someone who is on its premises solely to visit one of its patients? Summary judgment was entered against Victor Dupuis in a premises liability case brought against a hospital, Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center. Dupuis was visiting his hospitalized wife in January 2017 when he slipped and fell on ice in the hospital’s parking lot. Dupuis sued the hospital, alleging inadequate snow and ice removal in the parking lot caused him to fall. Dupuis argued that the hospital had breached the duty of care it owed to him as an invitee. The district court granted the hospital’s motion for summary judgment, holding that Dupuis was a licensee, and the hospital did not have superior knowledge of the dangerous conditions over that of Dupuis, and, therefore, the hospital did not breach any duty owed to Dupuis. Dupuis appealed, arguing the district court erred in determining that he was a mere licensee, rather than an invitee, and that even if he were a licensee, the hospital assumed and subsequently breached a duty of care to keep the property in reasonably safe condition. The Supreme Court found Dupuis was an invitee, thereby reversing the district court’s grant of summary judgment, vacating the judgment entered, and remanding the case for further proceedings. View "Dupuis v. Eastern Idaho Health Services Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court dismissing Appellant's complaint seeking to quiet title to certain property, holding that a deed restriction for the use of a particular church was not an unreasonable restraint on alienation.In 1875, Edna and Levi Lynn executed a deed granting one acre of land to the Woodbine Baptist Church. Woodbine used the land until 2006, when its trustees gifted it to a Virginia corporation. The corporation received a loan in 2007, and the bank's title search of the property did not disclose the 1875 deed. When the corporation defaulted on the loan, Canova Land and Investment Company acquired title to the property at a foreclosure sell but did not take possession of the property. Canova later brought suit to quiet title to the property, arguing that a reverter clause in the 1875 deed, providing that if the property was not used for purposes expressed in the deed it should revert to the grantors or their heirs, should be voided as an unreasonable restraint on alienation. The circuit court dismissed the complaint, upholding the 1875 deed as valid. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the reverter was a restraint on use and not unreasonable. View "Canova Land & Investment Co. v. Lynn" on Justia Law