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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of claimants' motion to release property under civil forfeiture law. The property at issue stemmed from the sale of synthetic cannabinoids that were a controlled substance or controlled substance analogues intended for human consumption. Determining that the court had jurisdiction over the appeal, the court held that, assuming arguendo, Supplemental Rule G(2)(f) applied in reviewing pretrial property restraints outside the motion-to-dismiss context, the district court used the right standard. In this case, the district asked whether the government's complaint "demonstrated with sufficient particularity for the current stage of the proceedings that defendants intentionally commingled tainted funds with untainted funds for the purpose of facilitating the alleged money laundering.” The court held that the facts here were sufficient to support this standard. The court also held that probable cause for forfeiture existed based on the charge for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. View "United States v. $472,871.95 in Funds Seized" on Justia Law

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The successor trustee to the 1713 Stearns LaVerne Family Trust (Stearns), filed suit against numerous defendants for claims arising from an allegedly void assignment of the deed of trust (DOT) on real property located at 1713-1717 Stearns Drive in Los Angeles, California (the property), and a failed short sale agreement. The trial court sustained the demurrer as to some defendants and denied the trustee's request for leave to amend. The Court of Appeal reversed and held that the trial court abused its discretion in denying leave to amend. The court held that the trial court properly sustained the demurrers to all causes of action; but that the trial court abused its discretion in denying leave to amend because the trustee was the owner of the property and had proposed facts that, if true, were sufficient to establish that the August 21, 2008 assignment was void. Accordingly, the trial court was directed to grant the trustee leave to amend the complaint. View "Hacker v. Homeward Residential, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court vacated a judgment of foreclosure entered by the district court in favor of M&T Bank following a nonjury trial on M&T Bank’s complaint and remanded for entry of a judgment in favor of Lawrence Plaisted, holding (1) M&T Bank failed to lay a proper foundation for admitting loan servicing records pursuant to the business records exception to the hearsay rule, and (2) M&T Bank failed to prove the amount owed on the note. On appeal, Plaisted argued that the court abused its discretion by admitting Exhibit E pursuant to the business records exception to the hearsay rule and erred in concluding that M&T Bank proved the amount owed on the note. The Supreme Judicial Court agreed, holding that M&T Bank failed to meet its burden of proving the amount owed by presenting evidence of information regarding the original amount of the loan, the total amount paid by the mortgagor, and other information in a form that was both accessible and admissible. View "M&T Bank v. Plaisted" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that a statutory city does not have express authority under Minn. Stat. 462.358(2)(a) to condition approval of a subdivision application on the payment of an infrastructure charge for future road-improvement projects. Respondent submitted an application to the City of Woodbury for approval to subdivide and develop a parcel of land. The City conditioned approval of the subdivision application upon payment of a roadway charge. Respondent then brought this action against the City. The lower courts determined that the City lacked statutory authority to impose an infrastructure charge under section 462.358(2)(a). The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the statute did not authorize the City’s infrastructure charge. View "Harstad v. City of Woodbury" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) adopting the property value stated in an appraisal report presented by the Licking Heights Local Schools Board of Education (BOE), holding that the property owner’s jurisdictional challenges to the decision below were unavailing. On appeal, the property owner argued (1) its withdrawal of the complaint it originally filed for tax year 2011 deprived the Franklin County Board of Revision (BOR) of jurisdiction to proceed on the BOE’s countercomplaint; and (2) the BOR’s jurisdiction was limited to consideration of the land value because the property owner’s original complaint contested the land value and not the value of improvements. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) the voluntary dismissal of a complaint filed under Ohio Rev. Code 5715.19(A) does not retroactively invalidate a complaint filed under section 5715.19(B); and (2) the administrative tribunals’ jurisdiction under the BOE’s complaint was not limited to determining land value. View "Licking Heights Local Schools Board of Education v. Franklin County Board of Revision" on Justia Law

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At issue in this appeal from a decision of the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) was how best to determine the true value of a low income housing property that is both rent restricted and rent subsidized. Appellant, the property owner in this case, argued that rents as derived from rent-restricted comparable should be used in determining the true value of such a property but that the property’s rent subsidies should be excluded from consideration. The board of education, however, argued that the property’s actual rents, which include tenant-paid rent and rent subsidies, should be used. The Supreme Court vacated the BTA’s decision, holding that the BTA failed to weigh and analyze a potentially material piece of evidence presented by Appellant, and given the BTA’s failure to discharge its duty as the finder of fact, the case must be remanded with instruction that the BTA “explicitly account” for the evidence at issue, along with other evidence. View "Columbus City Schools Board of Education v. Franklin County Board of Revision" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court ruling in favor of Plaintiff on his claim that Defendants failed to pay him for work he performed on their residence, holding that there was no merit to Defendants’ assignments of error on appeal. Specifically, the Court held (1) the district court did not err in finding that Plaintiff was entitled to recover under the theory of unjust enrichment when a contract existed between the parties and Plaintiff had a statutory remedy of foreclosure on his construction lien; (2) there was evidence to support the unjust enrichment recovery; and (3) the district court did not err in denying Defendants’ motion to transfer venue. View "Bloedorn Lumber Co. v. Nielson" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that Ariz. Rev. Stat. 45-108 does not require the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) to consider unquantified federal reserved water rights when it determines whether a developer has an adequate water supply for purposes of the statute. This case stemmed from the ADWR’s 2013 adequate water supply approving Pueblo Del Sol Water Company’s application to supply water to a proposed development in Cochise County. The superior court vacated ADWR’s decision, concluding that the agency erred in determining that Pueblo’s water supply was “legally available” because ADWR was required to consider potential and existing legal claims that might affect the availability of the water supply, including the Bureau of Land Management’s unquantified federal water right. The Supreme Court vacated the superior court’s decision and affirmed ADWR’s approval of Pueblo’s application, holding that ADWR is not required to consider unquantified federal reserved water rights under its physical availability or legal availability analysis. View "Silver v. Pueblo Del Sol Water Co" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that the circuit court did not err when it found that an automobile graveyard was a lawful nonconforming use because the use began prior to the enactment of the county’s zoning ordinances and had not been discontinued. The Acting Zoning Administrator of Price William County determined that the use of one parcel as an automobile graveyard was not a lawful nonconforming use. The Prince William County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) upheld the Administrator’s denial of the non-conforming use verification for the parcel. The circuit court reversed the BZA’s decision, finding that the use of the parcel as an automobile salvage business operation predated the zoning ordinances of Prince William County and that the pre-existing lawful nonconforming use was never abandoned or discontinued. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the lawful nonconforming use of the parcel as an automobile graveyard was not terminated by discontinuance of the use. View "Prince William Board of County Supervisors v. Archie" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals denying Appellant’s complaint for writs of prohibition and procedendo against Darke County Court of Common Pleas Judge Jonathan P. Hein, holding that Appellant was not entitled to either writ. In his complaint, Appellant asked for a writ of procedendo directing Judge Hein to vacate an order confirming the sale of property at a foreclosure sale. The court of appeals dismissed the procedendo claim as seeking the wrong form of relief. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that procedendo was inappropriate because Appellant sought to undo a court order rather than to compel the judge to issue a ruling. As to the request for a writ of prohibition, the Supreme Court held that even if Appellant had sought to undo the confirmation order through a writ of prohibition, that request would be moot because the court of appeals had already vacated the confirmation order. Lastly, Appellant had an adequate remedy at law by way of appeal. View "State ex rel. Sponaugle v. Hein" on Justia Law