Justia Real Estate & Property Law Opinion Summaries

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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

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court affirming Defendant's criminal misdemeanor convictions for violating Neb. Rev. Stat. 39-301 by repeatedly erecting an electric fence approximately three feet from the edge of a county gravel roadway and within the county's right-of-way extending into a ditch, holding that the evidence was sufficient to support Defendant's convictions. On appeal, Defendant argued that there was insufficient evidence presented to prove that he was the individual who placed the electric fence in the ditch and that the placement of the fence did not violate section 39-301. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the area of the ditch at issue in this case, which was within the county's right-of-way, was part of a "public road" for purposes of section 39-301; and (2) there was sufficient evidence to conclude that Defendant was responsible for erecting the fences. View "State v. Thelen" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court affirming a county board of adjustment's decision affirming the zoning administrator's grant of a zoning permit for construction of a new residence within an agricultural intensive district, holding that the district court did not err or abuse its discretion. The zoning administrator approved a zoning permit for the new residence. Appellants appealed, arguing that the zoning permit was for a "non-farm residence," and therefore, the construction was not permitted under zoning regulations. The board affirmed the zoning administrator's decision, and the district court affirmed. At issue in this appeal was whether the proposed residence was a "non-farm residence" under the applicable zoning regulations. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the board of adjustment correctly determined that the new residence was not a "non-farm residence." View "Hochstein v. Cedar County Board of Adjustment" on Justia Law

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Gary Haas, Brenda Haas, and the estate of Jenny Haas appealed a district court judgment dismissing their complaint against Hudson & Wylie LLP and its agents Terry Hudson, Doreen Hudson, and Luann Wiley. The Haases and Hudson & Wiley LLP owned adjacent parcels of land in Rolette County, North Dakota. All property at issue in this case was once owned by W.A. Lawston. Lawston partitioned the land and conveyed a parcel to Edwin Haas in 1962, and he conveyed the adjacent parcel to Raymond Hudson in 1968. Edwin's parcel was conveyed to Jenny in 2004, and Raymond's parcel was conveyed to Hudson & Wiley LLP in 2006. A 2.19-acre parcel and a 3.5-acre parcel of the Hudson property lie north of the road adjacent to the Haas property. The Haases used the 2.19-acre and 3.5-acre portions of the Hudson property north of the road for grazing cattle and cutting hay since the early 1960s. In April 2018, the Haases filed a complaint in district court alleging adverse possession, acquiescence, trespass, and willful damage to property. The district court found that Gary's use of the land was permissive, the court concluded the Haases had not adversely possessed the property because their use and possession of the parcels was not hostile. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the district court erred in admitting hearsay testimony central to its decision, and reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Haas, et al. v. Hudson & Wylie LLP, et al." on Justia Law