Justia Real Estate & Property Law Opinion Summaries
Rivera v. Bank of America, N.A.
After BANA canceled the foreclosure sale of plaintiff's residence, he filed an amended complaint alleging claims of wrongful foreclosure, violation of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act (MMPA), and negligent misrepresentation. The district court denied BANA's motion for dismissal for failure to state a claim and denied plaintiff's request for leave to file an amended complaint, entering an order dismissing the case with prejudice.The Eighth Circuit affirmed, construing plaintiff's pro se motion for a temporary restraining order as a petition initiating a civil action against BANA under Missouri law, and determining that plaintiff's conduct throughout the course of litigation amounts to an acknowledgement that his filing before the St. Louis County Circuit Court was both a motion and a petition. The court explained that when the district court dissolved the temporary restraining order, a live case and controversy remained in the form of plaintiff's claims. Therefore, this case is not moot. The court also concluded that the district court did not err in dismissing plaintiff's negligent misrepresentation claim for failure to state a claim. Finally, the court concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying plaintiff leave to again amend his complaint. View "Rivera v. Bank of America, N.A." on Justia Law
Elsaesser v. Gibson
Cases consolidated for review by the Idaho Supreme Court were appeals of three separate judgments ejecting three non-beneficiary parties from the property of an estate. The personal representative of the Estate of Victoria H. Smith (“the Estate”) brought three separate ejectment actions against the Law Office of Vernon K. Smith, LLC, and Vernon K. Smith Law, PC (collectively “VK Law”); David R. Gibson; and Vernon K. Smith, III (“Vernon III”), after each party refused his demands to vacate their respectively occupied properties. None of the parties were beneficiaries of the Estate. The district courts granted partial judgment on the pleadings in favor of the personal representative in all three actions, entering separate judgments ejecting Gibson, Vernon III, and VK Law from the Estate’s properties. On appeal, Appellants raised numerous issues relating to the personal representative’s authority to eject them from the properties. Ford Elsaesser, the personal representative of the Estate, argued on appeal that the district courts did not err in granting partial judgment on the pleadings because he had sufficient power over Estate property to bring an ejectment action on the Estate’s behalf. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed the district court. View "Elsaesser v. Gibson" on Justia Law
Zephier v. Agate
The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the decision of the court of appeals reversing the judgment of the district court denying Plaintiff's claim in conciliation court against Defendants seeking replevin of her dog Oliver on the grounds that Plaintiff had abandoned Oliver, holding that, under Minn. Stat. 345.75, Plaintiff did not abandon her dog.At issue was whether section 345.75, which governs the abandonment of tangible personal property, abrogates by implication the common law governing the abandoning of tangible personal property. The court of appeals held that section 345.75 abrogated the common law of abandonment of tangible personal property by necessary implication. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) section 345.75 does not abrogate by implication the common law of abandonment of tangible personal property; and (2) Plaintiff did not abandon her dog under the statue, and the district court erred in concluding that Plaintiff abandoned her dog under the common law. View "Zephier v. Agate" on Justia Law
Collison v. Director of Revenue
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Administrative Hearing Commission (AHC) finding that David and Gale Collison were not entitled to a sales tax credit following their purchase of a vehicle to replace another vehicle declared a casualty loss by their insurance company, holding that the Collisons could not prevail in this matter.In denying the requested sales tax credit the AHC found that a revocable trust, not the Collisons, owned the new vehicle and that the Collisions, and not the revocable trust, owned the replaced vehicle. On appeal, the Collisons argued that they and the revocable trust were the same owner of the separate vehicles and the same entity for purposes of the sales tax credit. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because Missouri law clearly considers a trust and the natural persons who create and control the trust to be separate and distinct entities, the Collisons and their revocable trust were legally separate owners. View "Collison v. Director of Revenue" on Justia Law
Marcantel v. Michael & Sonja Saltman Family
In 2015, Michael and Sonja Saltman sold a vacant lot in Park City, Utah, to Curt Marcantel. Marcantel pushed to close the deal quickly, but at the time of the sale, the Saltmans knew something that Marcantel didn’t: a ten-foot wide sewer easement (including a sewer pipe within it) ran under a portion of the property, rendering infeasible Marcantel's plans to redevelop the property. The Saltmans did not tell Marcantel about the pipe, and the company Marcantel hired discover the easement did not find it. Because of an indexing error by the county recorder, at least three different title companies on four separate occasions failed to find and note the sewer easement on the property. Marcantel first heard about the easement when his prospective buyer alerted him to it; that buyer fortuitously learned of the easement from a neighboring property owner. The prospective buyer then balked at Marcantel’s asking price. Marcantel eventually sold the lot at a significant loss. Marcantel sued the Saltmans for, among other things, fraudulent nondisclosure and breach of the parties’ real estate purchase contract, arguing the Saltmans’ silence breached their contractual and common-law duties to disclose the easement. The Saltmans claimed they had assumed Marcantel knew about the easement, and in any event, Marcantel had constructive notice of the easement because it was publicly recorded. The district court granted the Saltmans summary judgment on all Marcantel’s claims. On appeal, Marcantel argued the district court repeatedly misapplied Utah law and disregarded summary-judgment procedure that required it to draw inferences in Marcantel’s favor. To this, the Tenth Circuit agreed, reversing in part the trial court's grant of summary judgment, but affirmed in all other respects. View "Marcantel v. Michael & Sonja Saltman Family" on Justia Law
State ex rel. Nyamusevya v. Hawkins
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals dismissing Appellant's complaint for a writ of mandamus and a writ of prohibition against Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Judge Daniel R. Hawkins, holding that the court of appeals correctly dismissed the cause for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.CitiMortgage Inc. brought a foreclosure action against Appellant, and the trial court granted summary judgment to CitiMortgage. After a trial on damages, the trial court entered a judgment on directed verdict in the full amount owed as claimed by CitiMortgage. Appellant later brought this action alleging, among other things, that alleged defects in the foreclosure case stripped the trial court of jurisdiction. The court of appeals dismissed the complaint. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellant had an adequate remedy by defending the foreclosure action and appealing the trial court's adverse judgment. View "State ex rel. Nyamusevya v. Hawkins" on Justia Law
Lent v. California Coastal Commission
The Court of Appeal concluded that substantial evidence supported the Commission's decision to issue the cease and desist order requiring plaintiffs to remove structures that were built over a public accessway over the easement area. The court also concluded that the Commission did not violate plaintiffs' due process rights by imposing a $4,185,000 penalty, even though its staff recommended a smaller penalty, because the Commission had previously advised plaintiffs it could impose a penalty of up to $11,250 per day and the Commission staff specifically advised plaintiffs that the Commission could impose a penalty of up to $8,370,000. Accordingly, the court reversed the trial court's judgment remanding the matter to the Commission. The court also concluded that plaintiffs failed to show that Public Resources Code section 30821 is unconstitutional, either on its face or as applied to them. Furthermore, the penalty does not violate the constitutional prohibition on excessive fines. Therefore, the court reversed the superior court's judgment and affirmed the Commission's order. View "Lent v. California Coastal Commission" on Justia Law
Great Plains Royalty Corp. v. Earl Schwartz Co., et al.
Earl Schwartz Company and the co-personal representatives of the Estate of Earl N. Schwartz (amongst others, together “ESCO”) and SunBehm Gas, Inc. appealed a judgment quieting title to oil and gas interests in Great Plains Royalty Corporation. Great Plains cross appealed, arguing the district court erred when it denied its claims for damages. Great Plains’ creditors filed an involuntary petition for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in 1968. The case was converted to a Chapter 7 liquidation proceeding. The bankruptcy trustee prepared an inventory and published a notice of sale that listed various assets, including oil and gas interests. Earl Schwartz was the highest bidder. Schwartz entered into an agreement with SunBehm to sell certain interests described in the notice, and the district court order approved the transfer of those interests directly from the bankruptcy estate to SunBehm. The bankruptcy case was closed in 1974. Great Plains’ creditors were not initially paid in full; the bankruptcy case was reopened in 2013, Great Plains’ creditors were paid in full with interest, and adversary proceedings were brought to determine ownership of various oil and gas interests, to which ESCO was a party. ESCO argued the bankruptcy sale transferred all of the interests owned by Great Plains, regardless of whether they were listed in the notice of sale. The bankruptcy court rejected ESCO’s argument and determined title to various properties (not the subject of the present appeal). Then in 2016, Great Plains brought this quiet title action against ESCO and SunBehm; ESCO and SunBehm brought quiet title cross claims. The district court held a bench trial and found the bankruptcy trustee intended to sell “100%” of all of the oil and gas interests Great Plains owned at the time of the bankruptcy. But the North Dakota Supreme Court reversed, finding the district court erred when it determined the bankruptcy trustee intended to sell all of Great Plains’ interests, including those not listed in the notice of sale. On remand, ESCO and SunBehm claimed they held equitable title to oil and gas interests in various tracts identified in the notice of sale, interest which were confirmed by the bankruptcy court. The Supreme Court reversed the district court’s ruling on collateral estoppel as a misapplication of the law, and vacated the court’s title determination and its denial of Great Plains’ conversion claim. The case was remanded for the court to determine whether ownership of any interests in the tracts identified in the notice of sale passed to ESCO or SunBehm by virtue of the bankruptcy sale and confirmation order. View "Great Plains Royalty Corp. v. Earl Schwartz Co., et al." on Justia Law
Tsasu LLC v. U.S. Bank Trust, N.A.
The Court of Appeal held that California's Quiet Title Act, Code of Civil Procedure 760.010 et seq., insulates a third party from the effect of a subsequent invalidation of an earlier quiet title judgment only if the third party has no actual or constructive knowledge of any defects or irregularities in that judgment.The court concluded that the trial court properly granted summary judgment against the third party in its current quiet title action to assert lien priority. The court explained that the recorded chain of title revealed that the earlier quiet title judgment had been prosecuted and obtained against a party that no longer held interest in a deed of trust and the third party whose lien priority rested on that judgment actually knew of facts warranting further inquiry into the validity of the judgment. Therefore, the third party had constructive knowledge of a defect or irregularity in the judgment. In this case, U.S. Bank is entitled to summary judgment due to the inapplicability of section 764.060 and the inapplicability of the alternative grounds offered by Tsasu. View "Tsasu LLC v. U.S. Bank Trust, N.A." on Justia Law
Christus Lutheran Church of Appleton v. Wisconsin Department of Transportation
The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the circuit court reversing the decision of the circuit court granting summary judgment in favor of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) and dismissing Plaintiff's action asserting that DOT's jurisdictional offer to purchase Plaintiff's land was invalid, holding that the jurisdictional offer was valid.In this complaint, Plaintiff argued that the jurisdictional offer was invalid because DOT failed to provide a proper initial appraisal. The Supreme Court affirmed the grant of summary judgment in favor of DOT, holding that the jurisdictional offer was valid because it was based upon an initial appraisal of all property proposed to be acquired pursuant to Wis. Stat. 32.05(2)(a)-(b) and (3)(e). View "Christus Lutheran Church of Appleton v. Wisconsin Department of Transportation" on Justia Law