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The Supreme Court reversed an order of the district court awarding attorney fees against a police department ordered to return a large amount of cash and other property seized pursuant to a criminal search warrant, holding that neither Nev. Rev. Stat. 18.010(2)(a) nor section 18.010(2)(b) permitted the award of attorney fees. Section 18.010(2)(a) permits an award of attorney fees to a prevailing party in a civil action when that party recovers a money judgment in an amount less than $20,000. Plaintiff in this case sought an award of attorney fees pursuant to section 18.010(2) against the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) after her seized property was ordered to be returned. The district court awarded Plaintiff attorney fees under section 18.010(2)(a). The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) section 18.010(2)(a) does not permit a fee award against LVMPD because an order to return seized cash is an order to return physical property, not a money judgment; and (2) the attorney fee award cannot be affirmed under section 18.010(2)(b) in the absence of any relevant findings or clear evidence that LVMPD brought or maintained its defense without reasonable ground. View "In re Execution of Search Warrants" on Justia Law

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A group of landowners filed suit against Dakota Access, alleging that they were induced to sign easement contracts allowing construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline across their properties based on various misrepresentations made by Dakota Access and its contracting affiliate CLS. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint, holding that plaintiffs' claim under North Dakota law sounded in fraud, and all plaintiffs' claims were thus governed by the heightened pleading standard of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b). In this case, the complaint failed to plead such facts as the time, place, and content of defendant's false representations, as well as the details of defendant's fraudulent acts, including when the acts occurred, who engaged in them, and what was obtained as a result. View "Olin v. Dakota Access, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals affirmed the order of the Appellate Division determining that certain telecommunications equipment was taxable property pursuant to N.Y. Real Prop. Tax Law (RPTL) 102(12)(i), holding that the Appellate Division properly found that the equipment was taxable under the statute. The equipment at issue was certain large cellular data transmission equipment owed by T-Mobile Northeast, LLC and mounted to the exterior of buildings throughout T-Mobile’s service area in Mount Vernon. T-Mobile brought this hybrid declaratory judgment action and N.Y. C.P.L.R. 78 proceeding seeking a declaration that the property was not taxable. Supreme Court dismissed the proceeding, holding that the property was taxable under the RPTL. The Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that T-Mobile’s arguments on appeal lacked merit. View "T-Mobile Northeast, LLC v. DeBellis" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court, reinstated the determination of the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA), and entered final judgment for the Board of Supervisors of Fairfax County, holding that the circuit court erred when it held that Va. Code 15.2-2307(D) creates a vested right to an originally illegal use of a building or structure after the owner has paid taxes to the locality for that building or structure for fifteen years or more. Defendants owned real property located in McLean, Virginia. The Fairfax County Zoning Administrator issued a notice of violation (NOV) to Defendants regarding the property because a detached garage and garden house locate on the property had been converted to dwelling, resulting in three complete and separate dwellings on the property. Defendants appealed the NOV to the BZA, arguing that the garage and garden house were grandfathered. The BZA concluded that Defendants were in violation of the relevant ordinance. The circuit court reversed, holding that the nonconforming structures were protected under section 15.2-2307(D)(iii). The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court erred in holding that 15.2-2307(D) protected Defendants’ illegal use of their garden house and garage. View "Board of Supervisors of Fairfax County v. Cohn" on Justia Law

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At issue was what type of reference within a chain of title is sufficient to preserve an earlier-created interest under Ohio’s Marketable Title Act, which generally allows a landowner who has an unbroken chain of title to land for a forty-year period to transfer title free of interests that existed prior to the beginning of the chain of title unless sufficient reference is made to interests within that chain of title. Landowners sought to extinguish an oil-and-gas royalty interest created in 1915. Landowners argued that a reference in a deed in their chain of title to the royalty interest, as well as the original holder of the interest, was not sufficient to preserve the interest because it did not include either the volume and page number of the record in which the interest was recorded or the date on which the interest was recorded. The court of appeals concluded that Landowners’ title remained subject to the royalty interest. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that a reference that includes the type of interest created and to whom the interest was granted is sufficiently specific to preserve the interest in the record title. View "Blackstone v. Moore" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the Water Court denying Little Big Warm Ranch, LLC’s (LBWR) motion to reopen proceedings and its request to substitute as an objector, holding that the Water Court did not err when it denied LBWR’s motion to reopen cases 40M-171 and 40M-238 and when it denied LBWR’s request for substitution in those cases. At issue was two water rights from Big Warm Springs Creek and Little Warm Springs Creek - one claim for stock water and the other claim for irrigation. The Water Court in this case determined that LBWR was not entitled to substitute itself as an objector to Claimants’ water rights in Cases 40M-171 and 40 M-238 and denied LBWR’s request for substitution and its motion to reopen. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Water Court did not err. View "Little Big Warm Ranch, LLC v. Doll" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the decision of the single justice that the decision of the Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers suspending Michael Thomann’s license for ten days, imposing a $1,200 civil penalty, and imposing certain conditions on the reinstatement of his license was supported by substantial evidence and free of any errors of law. An administrative hearing officer concluded that the Board established that Thomas had violated 254 Code Mass. Regs. 2.00(11), 3.00(14)(e) and 3.00(13)(a) by engaging in the business of real estate brokering through an unlicesed limited liability company and by failing to provide a certain notice of agency disclosure to the seller of real property. As a sanction, the Board ordered suspension of Thomann’s license for ten days. On review, the single justice affirmed the Board’s final decision and order. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was no error in the Board’s decision. View "Thomann v. Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers & Salesmen" on Justia Law

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In this water use case, the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the State of Hawaii Commission on Water Resource Management (Commission) concluding that Appellants waived the right to proceed on the contested case, holding that the Commission’s finding that Appellants waived the right to continue the case was not clearly erroneous or wrong. More than a decade ago, the Supreme Court vacated the issuance of two water use permits and remanded the matter to the Commission. On remand, the parties claiming to be the applicant’s successors in interest submitted a letter to the Commission stating that they did not have the financial resources to continue to pursue the case. Years later, Appellants filed a new water use application. The Commission treated the application as a continuation of the remanded case and then concluded that the letter constituted a waiver of Appellants’ right to continue the original proceedings. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Commission did not err in finding that Appellants expressly waived their right to proceed with the contested case by their letter. View "In re Contested Case Hearing on the Water Use Permit Application Originally Filed by Kukui, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the trial court sustaining Plaintiff’s administrative appeal, holding that the trial court erred in determining that Defendant’s proposed revision of boundary lines between certain adjacent lots constituted a new subdivision under Conn. Gen. Stat. 8-18 and erred in applying section III.F.7 of the Burlington Zoning Regulations (regulations). In finding that Defendant’s proposed lot line revisions constituted a subdivision, the trial court applied section IV.B.5 of the regulations, which requires an increased minimum lot area for new subdivisions. The court also applied section III.F.7, which governs the establishment of non-conforming uses on preexisting lots. The Supreme Court held (1) Defendant’s proposed lot line revisions did not create a subdivision because the revisions did not divide one parcel of land into three or more parts; and (2) Defendant did not propose the establishment of a nonconforming use because the property lines, as revised, met the size requirements applicable to lots in existence as of October 1, 1983, the date the town of Burlington adopted section IV.B.5 of the regulations. View "Cady v. Zoning Board of Appeals" on Justia Law

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Hartung Commercial Properties, Inc. ("Hartung"), appealed the grant of summary judgment in favor of Buffi's Automotive Equipment and Supply Company, Inc. ("Buffi's Automotive"). Wayne Hartung bought a piece of commercial property that had an auto-body collision, repair, and paint shop ("the body shop") on the premises. Wayne also formed Har-Mar Collisions, Inc. ("Har-Mar") to operate the body shop. Hartung subsequently entered into a lease with Har-Mar pursuant to which Har-Mar leased the body shop. Wayne had a custom-built paint booth installed in the body shop and hired Buffi's Automotive to make the paint booth operational once it was installed. On January 24, 2011, the body shop was completely destroyed by a fire. On July 8, 2011, Hartung sued Har-Mar, Buffi's Automotive, and several fictitiously named defendants in the circuit court asserting claims of negligence and wantonness related to their alleged roles in causing the fire that destroyed the body shop. Buffi's Automotive alleged that, sometime after the fire destroyed the body shop, Hartung ordered what remained of the body shop and all the equipment inside it to be demolished. Buffi's Automotive argued that Hartung allowed the body shop to be demolished even though it believed at that time that Buffi's Automotive had caused the fire; that Buffi's Automotive "was named as a defendant only after the evidence was destroyed"; and that Buffi's Automotive "should have been placed on notice of the claim and allowed to inspect the premises with its own experts prior to destruction of the evidence." The Alabama Supreme Court determined the circuit court could not properly conclude that the sanction of dismissal, as opposed to some lesser sanction, was mandated in the present case. “[B]ased on the record before us at this time, we are simply not convinced that Buffi's Automotive met its burden in this case.” Accordingly, summary judgment was reversed. View "Hartung Commercial Properties, Inc. v. Buffi's Automotive Equipment and Supply Company, Inc." on Justia Law