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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court granting summary judgment to Mike Ross, Inc. (MRI) on the grounds that Petitioners’ claims were barred by the three-year statute of limitation set forth in W. Va. Code 11A-4-4. Through its omnibus order, the circuit court declared MRI to be the owner of eighty percent of the oil and gas interests in two adjacent tracts of land pursuant to a tax deed issued to MRI after it purchased the property at a delinquent tax sale. Petitioners appealed, contending that the circuit court erred by not finding that they collectively own, respectively, a 16.44 percent and twenty percent undivided interest in the oil and gas in the properties. The circuit court granted summary judgment to MRI, concluding that Petitioners’ claims were time-barred. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the mineral interests were never delinquent, and therefore, the sale of the subject mineral interests for delinquent taxes was void as a matter of law; and (2) Petitioners’ claims were not barred by section 11A-4-4. View "L&D Investments, Inc. v. Mike Ross, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision to award prejudgment interest to LeGrand and concluded that Celtic Bank was the prevailing party on the prejudgment interest issues. LeGrand Johnson Construction Company filed an action seeking to enforce its mechanic’s lien on property owned by B2AC, LLC for the unpaid value of construction services, and Celtic Bank, B2AC’s lender, sought to foreclose on the same property after B2AC failed to pay on its loan. The action resulted in a lien for $237,294 and an award of attorney fees and costs. Thereafter, the district court determined that LeGrand’s lien, rather than Celtic Bank’s lien, had priority and awarded LeGrand attorney fees and costs. The court then ruled that LeGrand was entitled to recover eighteen percent in prejudgment and postjudgment interest from Celtic Bank based on LeGrand’s contract with B2AC. The Supreme Court (1) reinforced its holding in Jordan Construction, Inc. v. Federal National Mortgage Ass’n, 408 P.3d 296 (Utah 2017), that prejudgment interest is not available under the 2008 version of the Utah Mechanic’s Lien Act; and (2) vacated the attorney fee award because it was based, in part, on the notion that LeGrand had succeeded in establishing its right to prejudgment interest. View "LeGrand Johnson Construction Co. v. Celtic Bank Corp." on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's order dismissing an action brought by the United States and the Walker River Paiute Tribe against the Walker River Irrigation District and others over water rights in the Walker River basin. In 2015, without briefing or argument on the issue, the district court sua sponte dismissed all of the Tribe's and the United States' counterclaims on res judicata or jurisdictional grounds. The panel held that the district court had continuing jurisdiction over the counterclaims and that it erred in dismissing the claims on res judicata or jurisdictional grounds without giving the parties an opportunity to brief the issue. On remand, the panel ordered the reassignment of this case to another district judge. View "United States v. Walker River Irrigation District" on Justia Law

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Farmers filed suit alleging injury to their water rights after the Nevada State Engineer and the California State Water Resources Control Board approved change applications for a voluntary water rights leasing program managed by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in the Walker River Basin. The Ninth Circuit principally held that the Decree court failed to defer to the findings and conclusions of the state agencies and, to the extent the Decree court entered its own findings, those findings were clear error. In this case, the Engineer properly found that a transfer to the Foundation limited to the consumption portion would avoid conflict and injury to other existing water rights, the findings were supported by substantial evidence, and the Engineer applied the correct legal rule. The panel also held that the export restriction of the Walker River Decree did not prohibit delivering water to Walker Lake because Walker Lake was part of the Walker River Basin. View "United States v. U.S. Board of Water Commissioners" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit certified to the Supreme Court of Nevada the following question: Does the public trust doctrine apply to rights already adjudicated and settled under the doctrine of prior appropriation and, if so, to what extent? View "Mineral County v. Walker River Irrigation District" on Justia Law

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In this real-property-valuation case, the Supreme Court vacated the decision of the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) finding that the appraisal report presented by the Washington County Board of Revision and Washington County auditor (collectively, the County) constituted the most competent and probative evidence of the value of the subject property for tax year 2013. The BTA relied on the County’s report to value a property owned by Lowe’s Home Centers, Inc./Lowe’s Home Centers, LLC (collectively, Lowe’s), even though Lowe’s presented its own appraisal report. The Supreme Court vacated the BTA’s decision, holding (1) the Court’s decisions in Steak ’N Shake, Inc. v. Warrant County Board of Revision, 48 N.E.3d 535 (Ohio 2015), Rite Aid of Ohio, Inc. v. Washington County Board of Revision, 54 N.E.3d 1177 (Ohio 2016), and Lowe’s Home Centers, Inc. v. Washington County Board of Revision, 49 N.E.3d 1266 (Ohio 2016), provide the proper guideposts for resolving this controversy; and (2) because the BTA had yet to evaluate the evidence in light of the legal standards articulated in these three decisions, the case must be remanded for further proceedings. View "Lowe's Home Centers, Inc. v. Washington County Board of Revision" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Wilmington Trust, holding that the lender was not entitled to foreclosure because it failed to prove that it provided adequate notice of intent to accelerate. The court held that Texas common law imposes notice requirements before acceleration that is clear and unequivocal. In this case, Wilmington Trust failed to meet its burden to show clear and unequivocal notice of intent to accelerate prior to filing suit. View "Wilmington Trust, N.A. v. Rob" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s grant of partial summary judgment to Plaintiff on remand from a decision by the intermediate court of appeals (ICA) in Plaintiff’s favor on two issues relating to the existence of an implied easement from a landlocked parcel of land to the nearest road. The ICA held (1) the “unity of ownership” element for an implied easement may be satisfied by the Kingdom of Hawaii’s ownership of the two parcels prior to severance; and (2) the statute of limitations in Haw. Rev. Stat. 657-31 does not apply to implied easements, as in this case, but only to easements by prescription. The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s grant of summary judgment on each issue, holding that the ICA did not err in its judgment. View "Malulani Group, Ltd. v. Kaupo Ranch, LTD" on Justia Law

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The Upper Skagit Indian Tribe purchased land and commissioned a boundary survey, which convinced the Tribe that about an acre of its land lay on the other side of a boundary fence between its land and land owned by the Lundgrens. The Lundgrens filed a quiet title action in Washington state court, arguing adverse possession and mutual acquiescence. The Washington Supreme Court rejected the Tribe’s sovereign immunity claim, reasoning that tribal sovereign immunity does not apply to in rem suits. The U.S. Supreme Court vacated and remanded. The precedent on which the state court relied (Yakima) addressed not the scope of tribal sovereign immunity, but a question of statutory interpretation of the Indian General Allotment Act of 1887. The Act authorized the President to allot parcels of reservation land to individual tribal members and directed the government to issue fee patents to the allottees. In 1934, Congress reversed course but did not withdraw the lands already conveyed so that Indian reservations sometimes contain both trust land held by the government and fee-patented land held by private parties. The Supreme Court held that the state collection of property taxes on fee-patented land within reservations was allowed under the Act; Yakima resolved nothing about the law of sovereign immunity. View "Upper Skagit Tribe v. Lundgren" on Justia Law

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Appellants Coleman Homes, LLC, West Highlands, LLC, West Highlands Subdivision Homeowner’s Association, Inc., and West Highlands Land, LLC appealed a district court order entered in favor of the City of Middleton, Idaho. Appellants entered into two agreements with the City regarding impact fees and public access space for the West Highlands Ranch Subdivision (the “Project”) located in Middleton. Soon thereafter, Appellants asserted the agreements were invalid and unenforceable. In response, the City sought a judgment from the district court declaring the agreements valid and enforceable. The parties eventually stipulated to the validity of the agreements. Both sides filed motions for summary judgment asking the district court to interpret the agreements. The district court ultimately ordered Appellants to designate 12.8 acres of land within the Project as public access space and ruled that Appellants were obligated to provide a financial guarantee, if necessary. Based on the summary judgment order, the district court found the City to be the prevailing party and awarded the City attorney fees under Idaho Code section 12-120(3). Appellants appealed the district court’s prevailing party determination. The City cross-appealed the district court’s fee award and ruling that Appellants were obligated to provide a financial guarantee, if necessary. After review, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed the prevailing party determination, and ordered a clerical error with respect to naming the party obligated to provide a financial guarantee. View "Middleton v. Coleman Homes" on Justia Law