Justia Real Estate & Property Law Opinion Summaries

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The Court of Chancery granted Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint alleging that North Shores Board of Governors, Inc. (NSBG), a Delaware not-for-profit corporation that represented the homeowners at North Shores, a residential community, had no authority under the governing covenants to charge assessments or expend funds for maintenance of any of the community's recreational facilities and improvements to the community's beach dunes, holding (1) all claims contesting the annual assessments were barred by laches; and (2) all claims contesting the dune project were barred by the clear language of the covenants and the residential community's charter. View "Abbott v. North Shores Board of Governors, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court finding that Plaintiffs had a "losing cause of action," concluding that Plaintiffs' claims against Defendants were frivolous, and granting Defendants' motion for costs and expenses, holding that the district court did not err or abuse its discretion. A group of property owners alleged that confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) operated and supported by Defendants amounted to a nuisance. The plaintiffs later dismissed their lawsuit because they failed to exhaust farm mediation and then later refiled. Two of the plaintiffs (together, Plaintiffs), however, voluntarily dismissed their claims a second time, resulting in an adjudication against them on the merits. Defendants sued Plaintiffs seeking costs and expenses pursuant to Iowa Code 657.11(5). The district court granted the motions. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) two voluntary dismissals meant Plaintiffs had "a losing cause of action"; (2) Plaintiffs' claims were frivolous; and (3) the district court's apportionment of costs and expenses was appropriate. View "Merrill v. Valley View Swine, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the foreclosure decree entered by the district court giving priority under a future-advances clause to the full amount of credit extended by the first lienholder rather than the maximum amount set forth in the notice provision of the first lienholder's mortgage, holding that the first lienholder's priority was capped at $148,000. A bank made a series of loans to a farmer and obtained a mortgage with a future-advances clause on a farm property. The bank's mortgage contained language stating that the mortgage secured credit in the amount of $148,000. The farmer later took out a loan from a second bank, also secured in part by the same farm property. When the first bank filed a foreclosure proceeding, the parties disputed whether the first bank's lien had priority for all amounts due to the first bank or only up to $148,000. The district court found that the first bank's priority was not limited to $148,000 but extended to all debt secured by the mortgage. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the first bank's priority was capped at $148,000, plus interest; and (2) the first bank was not allowed to collect default interest at eighteen percent as part of its first-priority lien where there was no written agreement to pay that rate. View "Blue Grass Savings Bank v. Community Bank & Trust Co." on Justia Law

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Defendants own the surface of land sitting atop the property leased by Petro Harvestor. When the lease expired, Petro Harvestor sought a declaratory judgment that it could continue to operate its oil and gas activities on the property. Defendants claimed that the Surface Lease required Petro Harvester to return the surface land to its pre-lease condition upon expiration, requiring that Petro Harvester remove its machinery and vacate the property. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Petro Harvestor, holding that the district court correctly held that the Surface Lease here does not supersede the Mineral Lease; the district court properly rejected defendants' affirmative defenses of waiver, ratification, and estoppel; Mississippi's statute of limitations does not bar Petro Harvester's declaratory judgment action; and defendants waived any argument that there are genuine issues of material fact that preclude summary judgment. View "Petro Harvester Operating Co. v. Keith" on Justia Law

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The 1961 National Housing Act provided financial incentives to private developers to build low-income housing, including below-market mortgages insured by HUD. Participating developers had limited ability to increase rents while HUD insured the mortgage. The mortgage term was 40 years but developers could prepay their mortgages after 20 years and convert to market-rate housing. The 1988-1990 Preservation Statutes eliminated the prepayment option, 12 U.S.C. 4101. The 1996 Housing Opportunity Program Extension Act restored prepayment rights to developers still in the program. Four “first wave plaintiffs” (FWPs) owned their properties before the Preservation Statutes and sold after their enactment, consistent with the 1990 Low-Income Housing Preservation and Resident Homeownership Act (LIHPRHA) to organizations that preserved the rent restrictions. One FWP owned its property before the Preservation Statutes and remained in the program, obtaining HUD financial incentives in exchange for abiding by the restrictions for the property's "remaining useful life.” The final FWP (Casa) purchased its property in 1991 and sold pursuant to LIHPRHA. The FWPs alleged regulatory taking. The Claims Court applied the “Penn Central” three-factor test and rejected the claims on summary judgment. The Federal Circuit affirmed with respect to Casa, a sophisticated investor that voluntarily purchased its property with knowledge that it had no prepayment option and had no reasonable investment-backed expectation. The court otherwise vacated. The character of the governmental action and the investment-backed expectations weighed against summary judgment and the Claims Court did not consider certain genuine issues of fact regarding the calculations of economic impact. View "Anaheim Gardens, L.P. v. United States" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals dismissing Appellant's complaint for a writ of prohibition to vacate judgments in two civil cases, holding that Appellant's claim was barred by res judicata. Appellant previously tried to vacate the civil judgments at issue in this case by filing a mandamus claim. The Supreme Court's dismissal of the mandamus complaint operated as an adjudication on the merits. The Supreme Court held that because Appellant's prior lawsuit attacking the validity of the same underlying judgments had been adjudicated on the merits, Appellant's current claim was barred by res judicata. View "State ex rel. Kerr v. Kelsey" on Justia Law

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In this dispute over the ownership of a criminal justice center the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court ordering that the title of the center be given to Floyd County, holding that the turn-over provision in the lease between the County and the Building Authority was valid and enforceable. In 1991, the New Albany, Floyd County Indiana Building Authority issued bonds to finance a criminal justice center (the Center). Pursuant to an inter-local agreement, the Building Authority would own the Center, the County would lease it, and the City of New Albany would sublease space from the County. In 1992, the County and the Building Authority executed a lease with a fifteen-year term. The lease included a turn-over provision providing that if the County did not exercise its option to purchase the Center and to renew the lease then upon expiration of the lease the Center should become property of the County. After the lease expired the Building Authority declined to transfer title. The County filed suit seeking declaratory judgment and specific performance. The Supreme Court held that the turn-over provision in the lease was valid and required that title be given to the County. View "City of New Albany v. Board of Commissioners of County of Floyd" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court denying Defendant's motion for a new trial, in which Defendant sought to vacate seventeen convictions that he received and that resulted from two separate trials, holding that the district court did not err in denying Defendant's motion for a new trial. Following the verdicts in his second trial, Defendant filed a motion for a new trial, alleging that he had received ineffective assistance of counsel at his first trial and that the district court erred in denying his motion in limine to preclude guilty verdicts in the first trial from being used to impeach him at his second trial. The district court treated the motion as challenging not only the nine counts for which Defendant had been found guilty in the second trial but also the eight counts for which he had been found guilty in the first trial but for which no judgment of conviction had yet been entered. The district court denied the motion for a new trial. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Defendant was not entitled to relief as to any of his arguments. View "United States v. Silvia" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court finding that Buyer had breached a contract for the sale of a lot in a subdivision and ordering Buyer to specifically perform, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion when it ordered Buyer to specifically perform. After Buyer entered into a contract with Seller for the sale of the lot Buyer decided he no longer wanted to purchase the lot. Seller filed this lawsuit asserting breach of contract and seeking specific performance. Buyer argued that the contract was unenforceable for failing to comply with the statute of frauds. The district court disagreed and entered judgment in favor of Seller, ordering Buyer to specifically perform the contract. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) while the contract failed to comply with the statute of frauds, it was enforceable under the doctrine of partial performance; and (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion when it ordered Buyer to specifically perform. View "Davis v. Harmony Development, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court finding that Appellant's placing an electric fence within the county's right-of-way extending into a ditch violated Neb. Rev. Stat. 39-301 and granting an injunction against Appellant's encroaching on the public road right-of-way, holding that injunctive relief was proper. Appellant repeatedly erected an electric fence within the ditch right-of-way alongside a county road. The district court granted a permanent injunction against encroaching on the public road right-of-way thirty-three feet in either direction from the centerline, including road ditches within that distance from the centerline, by placing fences. The court found that successive criminal prosecution had proved to be an inadequate remedy. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in (1) finding that placing the electric fence in the ditch violated section 39-301; and (2) failing to find that the County had an adequate remedy at law by way of criminal prosecution. View "County of Cedar v. Thelen" on Justia Law