Justia Real Estate & Property Law Opinion Summaries

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The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment of the superior court affirming the decision of the Town of Boothbay Harbor's Board of Appeals (BOA) denying 29 McKown, LLC's administrative appeal from a code enforcement officer's (CEO) decision to life a stop work order he had issued to Harbor Crossing during the construction of the building, holding that 29 McKown was deprived of administrative due process.In this case concerning a real estate office building constructed by Harbor Crossing in Boothbay Harbor, 29 McKown sought review of the denial of its McKown's appeal. The superior court affirmed the BOA's decision. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the order below, holding (1) 29 McKown was deprived of administrative due process; and (2) the CEO did not issue a judicially-reviewable decision in lifting the stop work order. View "29 McKown LLC v. Town of Boothbay Harbor" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the appellate court concluding that the Home Improvement Act (Act), Conn. Gen. Stat. 20-418 et seq., did not apply to work performed by Defendant on Plaintiff's property, holding that Plaintiff's claim under the Act was unavailing.The trial court found in favor of Plaintiff on his claims alleging breach of contract, violations of the Act, and violations of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), Conn. Gen. Stat. 42-110a et seq. The trial court ruled in favor of Plaintiff. The appellate court affirmed with respect to the breach of contract count but reversed with respect to the remaining claims, ruling that the work performed by Defendant fell within the new home exception of the Act, and therefore, Plaintiff failed to state a claim under both the Act and CUTPA. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the work performed by Defendant fell within the new home exception. View "Winakor v. Savalle" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, a citizen and resident of Vietnam, initiated arbitration proceedings in Singapore against Defendant, then a citizen and resident of North Carolina regarding a dispute related to a sale of property in the Philippines. Plaintiff obtained a $1.55 million award against Defendant, and then brought this case asking the court to enforce the award. The district court rejected Defendant's jurisdictional challenges and granted summary judgment in favor of Plaintiff. Defendant appealed.The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's order granting summary judgment to Plaintiff. In so holding, the court rejected Defendant's claim that the district court lacked subject matter and personal jurisdiction, and that the court erred in finding no disputed issues of material fact. View "Rachan Reddy v. Rashid Buttar" on Justia Law

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Defendant and her then-husband bought a condo for $525,000 with the intention of making it their primary residence. To finance the purchase, the couple took out a mortgage with the Plaintiff bank. Defendant did not sign the note but consented to her husband doing so. The mortgage contained a "future advances" clause, which granted Plaintiff a security interest in the Mortgage covering future funds Defendant's husband might borrow.Four years later, Defendant's husband borrowed additional funds from Plaintiff to keep his business afloat. Defendant did not sign the note. A few months later, Defendant's husband filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and the condo was sold for $650,000, approximately $250,000 of which was deposited in escrow. The couple divorced and Defendant moved out of the state.In Defendant's husband's bankruptcy case, the court held a portion of the escrowed sale proceeds must pay down his business notes pursuant to the mortgage’s future advances clause and that he could not claim a homestead exemption. Plaintiff was granted summary judgment on its claims that Defendant's proceeds were also subject to the future advances clause and that Plaintiff could apply those proceeds to Defendant's husband's business note.Defendant appealed on several grounds, including unconscionability, contract formation, and public policy, all of which the court rejected, affirming the district court's granting of summary judgment to Plaintiff. View "Sanborn Savings Bank v. Connie Freed" on Justia Law

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In this eminent domain case brought in a county court at law the Supreme Court held that the county court correctly concluded that counterclaims challenging the authority to condemn and seek damages in excess of the amount-in-controversy cap on the court's additional jurisdiction do not require a transfer to the district court.Plaintiff sued Defendant in the Walker County Court at Law to condemn a pipeline easement across Defendant's property. Defendant filed counterclaims and sought to transfer them to the district court, arguing that they exceeded the county court's jurisdictional limit. The county court at law denied Defendant's motion to transfer. Defendant filed a petition for a writ of mandamus, which the court of appeals granted. The Supreme Court conditionally granted Plaintiff's petition for a writ of mandamus and ordered the appeals court to vacate its conditional writ, holding that Defendant's counterclaims could be fully adjudicated by the county court at law, which retained jurisdiction over the entire case. View "In re Breviloba, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the ruling of the trial court that two private entities behind a high-speed rail between Houston and Dallas did not qualify as either railroad companies or interurban electric railway companies entitled to eminent-domain authority, holding that the entities had eminent-domain power as interurban electric railway companies.The owner of real property located along the proposed railway route sought a declaratory judgment that the two private entities lacked eminent-domain authority. The trial court granted summary judgment for the landowner. The court of appeals reversed, determining that the entities had eminent-domain power as both railroad companies and interurban electric railway companies. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the private entities had eminent-domain authority under Chapter 131 of the Texas Transportation Code. View "Miles v. Texas Central Railroad & Infrastructure, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of the cities of Pella and Oskaloosa regarding the validity of an agreement between the cities and Mahaska County to establish a regional airport authority, holding that Landowners had standing to challenge the agreement.Landowners brought this action seeking a judgment that the agreement at issue was illegal and an injunction to prevent the transaction. The district court held that Landowners lacked standing to bring the suit and granted summary judgment in favor of the Cities. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) by entering into the agreement, the County's Board of Supervisors bound future board to a particular course of legislative action, in violation of the Iowa Constitution; (2) the agreement violated precedent regarding delegation of a municipality's legislative power; and (3) therefore, the district court erred in declaring the agreement to be valid and ordering specific performance by the County of its obligations under the agreement. View "Site A Landowners v. South Central Regional Airport Agency" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the judgment of the district court ruling that Willard McNaughton's right and interest in the disputed property in this case had been extinguished, holding that the district court erred.McNaughton entered into an easement agreement with Jeanine and Stanley Chartier to allow a portion of a road to pass through McNaughton's property. The Chartiers subsequently sold their property, giving rise to this dispute over a paved portion of the easement. The district court ruled that McNaughton had dedicated the concrete portion of the easement to the City of Lawton. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court erred in finding that McNaughton dedicated the concrete portion of the easement to the City and in holding that McNaughton's rights to the easement area were extinguished. View "McNaughton v. Chartier" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court finding that the Nebraska Real Estate License Act, Neb. Rev. Stat. 81-885.01 to 81-885.55, barred Choice Homes, LLC's claims regarding a failed purchase agreement, holding that the district court did not err.Choice attempted to buy certain real estate from Owners in order to sell it to Buyers, but after the closing failed, Buyers purchased the property directly from Owners. Choice brought this action seeking damages related the purchase claims. Choice also asserted a defamation claim stemming from an online review posted by Buyers. The district court granted summary judgment against Choice. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Act barred Choice's nondefamation claims; and (2) Choice was not defamed by the review at issue because it did not state or imply a false statement of fact. View "Choice Homes v. Donner" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment of the superior court dismissing Plaintiff's claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress and affirmed the dismissal of her other claims, holding that the alleged facts, taken as true, plausibly supported claims for negligent and reckless infliction of emotional distress.At issue in this case was daguerreotypes made in 1850 by the Harvard University professor Louis Agassiz of Renty Taylor and his daughter, Delia, who were enslaved on a South Carolina plantation. Plaintiff, the alleged descendent of the Taylors, brought this action against Harvard, seeking relief for emotional distress and other injuries and restitution of the daguerreotypes to her. The superior court dismissed the complaint. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the dismissal in part, holding that the facts alleged plausibly supported a claim of reckless infliction of emotional distress. View "Lanier v. President & Fellows of Harvard College" on Justia Law