Justia Real Estate & Property Law Opinion Summaries

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Jean Hardin filed a claim with Farm Bureau, her homeowner’s insurance carrier, following an alleged sudden collapse in the floor of her home. After Farm Bureau denied the claim, Hardin sued Farm Bureau for specific performance, breach of contract, fraud, misrepresentation, damages, emotional harm and upset, depression, attorneys’ fees, costs of litigation, and punitive damages related to Farm Bureau’s denial of coverage for damage to Hardin’s home. Farm Bureau filed a motion for summary judgment, which the trial court denied. Farm Bureau sought, and the Mississippi Supreme Court granted, interlocutory appeal. The Court reversed, finding the trial court erred in denying Farm Bureau’s motion for summary judgment because Hardin demonstrated proof that the water damage to her home was caused by the failure of the Town of Leakesville to maintain the ditch beside her home. Thus, because Hardin’s damages were not covered under the policy, Farm Bureau was entitled to summary judgment. View "Mississippi Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company v. Hardin" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the trial court's judgment determining Defendant's method of calculating a supplemental sewerage benefit assessment levied against certain of Plaintiff's real property, holding that the trial court incorrectly determined that Conn. Gen. Stat. 7-249 required Defendant to use the same method to calculate the supplemental assessment as was used to calculate the initial assessment.At issue was whether Defendant had authority to levy a supplemental assessment against Plaintiff's property and, if so, whether it used the correct methodology in calculating that assessment. A predecessor of Defendant levied a sewerage benefit assessment against the owners of the property. Later, the building was demolished and a new commercial office building was constructed in its place. No supplemental assessment was levied as a result of the construction. Plaintiff later purchased the property and converted it into a residential condominium community. Defendant then levied a supplemental assessment on the property. The trial court concluded that Defendant's supplemental assessment calculation violated section 7-249 because it should have been calculated on the basis of street frontage, as was the initial assessment. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding (1) Defendant had authority to levy the supplemental assessment; and (2) the trial court erred in determining that Defendant incorrectly calculated the supplemental assessment. View "777 Residential, LLC v. Metropolitan District Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court granting summary judgment to Defendant, Narragansett Bay Insurance Company (NBIC), in this dispute as to whether Plaintiffs, pursuant to their homeowners insurance policy with NBIC, were entitled to receive a subsequent appraisal of the damage to their property as well as additional compensation for damage incurred, holding that the superior court did not err.Plaintiffs' home, which was insured by NBIC, received water damage stemming from the accumulation of snow on their roof. Plaintiffs submitted a claim to NBIC and received, in return, a check for $14,550. After depositing the check, Plaintiffs later filed a complaint alleging that NBIC had failed to abide by the terms of the homeowners insurance policy and seeking damages for the water damage. The superior court entered summary judgment in favor of NBIC. At issue on appeal was wether Plaintiffs, pursuant to their policy, were entitled to receive a subsequent appraisal of the property damage, along with additional compensation for damage incurred. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Plaintiffs' delay in requesting an appraisal was unreasonable, thereby relieving NBIC of its responsibilities under the insurance policy. View "Machado v. Narragansett Bay Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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The real estate taxes on Brown’s mineral rights were not paid. In 2013, the Hamilton County collector sold the delinquent taxes. Castleman extended the taxes’ redemption date to October 10, 2015, and filed a petition for a tax deed on June 22, 2015. An October 2015 order under Property Tax Code (35 ILCS 200/22-40(a)) directed the clerk to issue a tax deed to Castleman. Castleman assigned the tax sale certificate to Groome. Brown sold the mineral rights to SI by quitclaim deed. In November 2015, SI moved to vacate the section 22-40(a) order. The trial court dismissed for lack of standing. Meanwhile, Groome recorded a tax deed in February 2016. In June 2017, SI sought a writ of mandamus against the Hamilton County clerk who conceded that the 2016 Groome deed did not comport with the underlying section 22-40(a) order, which directed the deed to be issued to Castleman. The court granted SI’s requests. Castleman and Groome were not parties in the mandamus proceedings.The appellate court found the motion to vacate the section 22-40(a) order "a nullity.” The Hamilton County clerk issued Castleman a “Corrective Tax Deed” in October 2017, in compliance with the original section 22-40(a) order. SI filed a “Section 22-85 Motion to Void Tax Deed” and a “[Section] 2-1401/22-45 Petition to Vacate the October 2015 Order Directing Issuance of Tax Deed.” The appellate court affirmed the dismissal of both counts.The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed. A tax deed issued and was recorded within the mandatory time limit. The deed’s failure to name the proper party created a conflict between the deed and the section 22-40(a) order. While timely filing may result in the tax deed becoming “absolutely void,” 35 ILCS 200/22-85, the conflict with the order does not. The court’s mandamus order is properly viewed as reforming and correcting the 2016 tax deed to comport with the section 22-40(a) order. View "In re Application for a Tax Deed" on Justia Law

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In filing mortgage foreclosure cases, the plaintiffs each paid a $50 “add on” filing fee under section 15-1504.1 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The plaintiffs challenged the constitutionality of section 15-1504.1 and of sections 7.30 and 7.31 of the Illinois Housing Development Act, 20 ILCS 3805/7.30, 7.31, which created foreclosure prevention and property rehabilitation programs funded by the fee.The trial court, following a remand, held that the fee violated the equal protection, due process, and uniformity clauses of the Illinois Constitution of 1970. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed, finding that the fee violates the constitutional right to obtain justice freely. The $50 filing charge established under section 15-1504.1, although called a “fee,” is, in fact, a litigation tax; it has no direct relation to expenses of a petitioner’s litigation and no relation to the services rendered. The court determined that the plaintiffs paid the fee under duress; the voluntary payment doctrine did not apply. View "Walker v. Chasteen" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the circuit court's order that Defendant forfeit $3,759 in cash that law enforcement officials seized the day Defendant and her co-defendant were arrested, holding that the trial court's forfeiture order was not erroneous.In reversing the forfeiture order, the court of appeals concluded that the Commonwealth failed to establish slight traceability of the funds to drug-trafficking activities. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court did not clearly err in determining that sufficient facts existed to establish slight traceability of the money to drug activity and raising the presumption of forfeiture, and did abuse its discretion in determining that Defendant failed to rebut the statutory presumption of forfeiture. View "Commonwealth v. Doebler" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the trial court's mandatory injunction in this property dispute, holding equitable relief was not available under the circumstances of this case.Plaintiffs, the owners of a residential subdivision lot - Lot 89 - sued Defendants, the owners of an adjoining subdivision lot, claiming trespass and recovery of land adversely held. Years before Plaintiffs owned Lot 89, Defendant excavated a portion of his lot and Lot 89 to allow water from a lake abutting both properties to cover a portion of both lots. Plaintiffs claimed that the action constituted a trespassory occupation of Lot 89. The trial court granted Plaintiffs a mandatory injunction and directed Defendants to backfill Lot 89. The court of appeals vacated the judgment, finding that this action was barred by the relevant statute of limitations. The Supreme Court affirmed on different grounds, holding (1) Plaintiffs never received title to the submerged portion of Lot 89, and therefore could not maintain a claim for trespass, for removal from land or recovery of land adversely held, or to quiet title; and (2) equitable relief was unavailable under the circumstances. View "Phillips v. Rosquist" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the circuit court granting summary judgment in favor of Roy and Kristen Maynard and dismissing the complaint against them brought by Robert and Sharlene Wilson, the owners of an adjacent property, alleging that the Maynards violated restrictive covenants, holding that the circuit court did not err.The Maynards built the home at issue in a residential development and rented the home to short-term guests. The Wilsons brought this action claiming that the Maynards violated the restrictive covenants limiting use of properties in the development to "residential purposes." The circuit court concluded that short-term rentals were a residential purpose and granted summary judgment for the Maynards. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Maynards did not breach the covenants, and therefore, the circuit court properly granted their motion for summary judgment. View "Wilson v. Maynard" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the intermediate court of appeals (ICA) vacating the circuit court's judgment affirming the decisions of the Maui Planning Commission approving an application for a special management area (SMA) use permit to build affordable housing and denying a petition to intervene in the SMA use permit application proceedings, holding that further proceedings were necessary.The SMA use permit was sought by Stanford Carr Development, LLC's (Carr), which sought to build affordable housing within the County of Maui's SMA. The Protect and Preserve Kahoma Ahupua'a Association (PPKAA) filed a petition to intervene in the proceedings. The Commission denied PPKAA's petition on the grounds that PPKAA failed to demonstrate that its interests were different from those of the general public and then approved the SMA use permit application. The ICA vacated the judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) PPKAA had standing to intervene as a matter of right and was denied procedural due process to protect its constitutional right to a clean and healthful environment; and (2) the Commission was required to make findings on the project's consistency with the general and community plans pursuant to Haw. Rev. Stat. 205A-26(2)(C). View "Protect & Preserve Kahoma Ahupua'a Ass'n v. Maui Planning Commission" on Justia Law

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In this case involving the binding effect of a stipulation, the Supreme Court vacated in part the judgment of the intermediate court of appeals (ICA) and the circuit court's judgment with respect to the circuit court's order denying sanctions, but otherwise affirmed, holding that the lower courts erred by failing to treat the stipulation at issue as a binding agreement.Plaintiff brought a complaint for foreclosure against Defendants. After summary judgment was granted to Plaintiff but before any foreclosure sale, the parties entered into a stipulation filed with the court providing that the foreclosure sale would be continued while Defendants pursued a private sale. One defendant later filed a motion to compel and for sanctions, asserting that other defendants had blocked the transaction in contravention of the stipulation. The court denied the motion, and the property was subsequently sold at auction. The ICA affirmed, concluding that the circuit court's finding that there was no agreement for a private sale was not clearly erroneous. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that a stipulation made during the course of litigation that is reduced to writing, agreed to by all parties, and filed with the court generally operates like a contract and generally binds the parties to its terms. View "Provident Funding Associates, L.P. v. Gardner" on Justia Law