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The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's judgment applying the Lamden judicial deference rule to the Board of Director's decision that defendants' operation of a vineyard was not a prohibited business or commercial use under the covenants, conditions, and restrictions of a homeowners association. In Lamden v. La Jolla Shores Clubdominium Homeowners Assn. (1999) 21 Cal.4th 249 (Lamden), the California Supreme Court cautioned courts to give judicial deference to certain discretionary decisions of duly constituted homeowners association boards. The court held that the trial court properly applied the judicial deference rule in this case. The court also affirmed the award of attorney fees and costs, and rejected claims of procedural error. View "Eith v. Ketelhut" on Justia Law

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At issue was the timing of the notice that must precede an unlawful detainer action where the action is not brought by a landlord but by a new owner who has acquired title to the property under a power of sale contained in a deed of trust. The Supreme Court held that perfection of title, which includes recording the trustee’s deed, is necessary before the new owner serves a three-day written notice to quit on the possessor of the property. The Court thus reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeal concluding that perfection of title need only precede the filing of the unlawful detainer action and that the new owner may serve the notice to quit immediately after acquiring ownership. View "Dr. Leevil, LLC v. Westlake Health Care Center" on Justia Law

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A man sued his neighbors, alleging that an access road on their property caused flooding on his property. After he reached a settlement with the neighbors, the man stipulated to a dismissal of his claims with prejudice. Three years later the man again sued the neighbors as well as the Municipality of Anchorage, alleging that the flooding had continued and asserting new claims of nuisance, trespass, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and breach of contract. The superior court granted summary judgment for the Municipality on the basis of either collateral estoppel or res judicata. The man appealed; the Alaska Supreme Court reversed the grant of summary judgment and remanded for further proceedings. View "Strong v. Williams" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed in part the trial court’s partial denial of Defendant’s motion for return of some seized property, holding that the court’s partial denial of the motion was apparently premised on an incorrect reading of case law. Law enforcement seized personal property pursuant to a search warrant from a residence occupied by several persons, including Defendant. Defendant pleaded no contest to attempted possession of a controlled substance. Defendant later moved for return of some seized property. The district court overruled in part Defendant’s motion for return of personal property. The Supreme Court affirmed the portion of the district court’s order requiring the State to return items to Defendant but reversed the portion of the order denying return of other items, holding that where no evidence was presented by the State to rebut Defendant’s presumption of ownership, the court erred in finding that Defendant did not have exclusive possession of all the property. View "State v. McGuire" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed an order of the district court awarding attorney fees against a police department ordered to return a large amount of cash and other property seized pursuant to a criminal search warrant, holding that neither Nev. Rev. Stat. 18.010(2)(a) nor section 18.010(2)(b) permitted the award of attorney fees. Section 18.010(2)(a) permits an award of attorney fees to a prevailing party in a civil action when that party recovers a money judgment in an amount less than $20,000. Plaintiff in this case sought an award of attorney fees pursuant to section 18.010(2) against the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) after her seized property was ordered to be returned. The district court awarded Plaintiff attorney fees under section 18.010(2)(a). The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) section 18.010(2)(a) does not permit a fee award against LVMPD because an order to return seized cash is an order to return physical property, not a money judgment; and (2) the attorney fee award cannot be affirmed under section 18.010(2)(b) in the absence of any relevant findings or clear evidence that LVMPD brought or maintained its defense without reasonable ground. View "In re Execution of Search Warrants" on Justia Law

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A group of landowners filed suit against Dakota Access, alleging that they were induced to sign easement contracts allowing construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline across their properties based on various misrepresentations made by Dakota Access and its contracting affiliate CLS. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint, holding that plaintiffs' claim under North Dakota law sounded in fraud, and all plaintiffs' claims were thus governed by the heightened pleading standard of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b). In this case, the complaint failed to plead such facts as the time, place, and content of defendant's false representations, as well as the details of defendant's fraudulent acts, including when the acts occurred, who engaged in them, and what was obtained as a result. View "Olin v. Dakota Access, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the trial court dismissing Plaintiff’s claim against the heirs of the Decedent seeking to enforce a judgment lien against real property owned by the Decedent at his death, holding that Plaintiff’s tort claim, which accrued prior to the date of death, made Plaintiff a creditor of the Decedent and his Estate. Plaintiff filed a tort action against the Decedent, who subsequently died, and judgment was entered for Plaintiff. Plaintiff then filed a judgment lien against the Estate’s property. In a separate action, Bank filed a foreclosure action seeking to enforce its mortgages against the Decedent’s real property. Plaintiff sought to intervene in the foreclosure action. The trial court concluded that Plaintiff failed to state a claim because at the time of death, the Decedent’s real property immediately passed to his heirs at law, subject only to the claims of creditors, and that Plaintiff’s tort claim did not qualify him as a creditor. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Plaintiff became a creditor of the Decedent when the tort occurred, and the fact that the claim was reduced to judgment and a judgment lien filed postmortem had no impact on Plaintiff’s status as a creditor of the estate. View "Gregory v. Hardgrove" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals affirmed the order of the Appellate Division determining that certain telecommunications equipment was taxable property pursuant to N.Y. Real Prop. Tax Law (RPTL) 102(12)(i), holding that the Appellate Division properly found that the equipment was taxable under the statute. The equipment at issue was certain large cellular data transmission equipment owed by T-Mobile Northeast, LLC and mounted to the exterior of buildings throughout T-Mobile’s service area in Mount Vernon. T-Mobile brought this hybrid declaratory judgment action and N.Y. C.P.L.R. 78 proceeding seeking a declaration that the property was not taxable. Supreme Court dismissed the proceeding, holding that the property was taxable under the RPTL. The Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that T-Mobile’s arguments on appeal lacked merit. View "T-Mobile Northeast, LLC v. DeBellis" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court, reinstated the determination of the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA), and entered final judgment for the Board of Supervisors of Fairfax County, holding that the circuit court erred when it held that Va. Code 15.2-2307(D) creates a vested right to an originally illegal use of a building or structure after the owner has paid taxes to the locality for that building or structure for fifteen years or more. Defendants owned real property located in McLean, Virginia. The Fairfax County Zoning Administrator issued a notice of violation (NOV) to Defendants regarding the property because a detached garage and garden house locate on the property had been converted to dwelling, resulting in three complete and separate dwellings on the property. Defendants appealed the NOV to the BZA, arguing that the garage and garden house were grandfathered. The BZA concluded that Defendants were in violation of the relevant ordinance. The circuit court reversed, holding that the nonconforming structures were protected under section 15.2-2307(D)(iii). The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court erred in holding that 15.2-2307(D) protected Defendants’ illegal use of their garden house and garage. View "Board of Supervisors of Fairfax County v. Cohn" on Justia Law

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At issue was what type of reference within a chain of title is sufficient to preserve an earlier-created interest under Ohio’s Marketable Title Act, which generally allows a landowner who has an unbroken chain of title to land for a forty-year period to transfer title free of interests that existed prior to the beginning of the chain of title unless sufficient reference is made to interests within that chain of title. Landowners sought to extinguish an oil-and-gas royalty interest created in 1915. Landowners argued that a reference in a deed in their chain of title to the royalty interest, as well as the original holder of the interest, was not sufficient to preserve the interest because it did not include either the volume and page number of the record in which the interest was recorded or the date on which the interest was recorded. The court of appeals concluded that Landowners’ title remained subject to the royalty interest. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that a reference that includes the type of interest created and to whom the interest was granted is sufficiently specific to preserve the interest in the record title. View "Blackstone v. Moore" on Justia Law