Justia Real Estate & Property Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Arkansas Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the circuit court granting an improvement district's (District 84) request for foreclosure and entering judgment against TND Developers, LLC for the total of unpaid improvement district taxes and ordering all TND lands within the district sold with the proceeds applied against the improvement district's judgment, holding that Appellants' claims on appeal failed. On appeal, Appellants argued, inter alia, that District 84's lien for nonpayment of improvement taxes could only attach to individual tracts upon which taxes were actually delinquent and unpaid, and therefore, an in rem judgment could not be attached to certain tracts. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Ark. Code Ann. 14-94-118 makes clear that all unreleased property within the district is subject to District 84's tax lien; (2) because District 84's complaint plainly described the land it sought to foreclose, as well as the tracts excluded from the action, the circuit court did not err in allowing District 84 to proceed on the basis of a statutorily defective complaint; (3) District 84 did not improperly refuse prepayment of improvement taxes; (4) Appellants' claims for equitable estoppel or equitable subordination failed; and (5) the circuit court's order did not violate Appellants' due process rights. View "Bullock's Kentucky Fried Chicken, Inc. v. City of Bryant, Arkansas" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court granting Plaintiffs' motion for class certification in this action alleging that Defendant, which leased with Plaintiffs to drill and sell hydrocarbons from the leased property, improperly suspended royalty payments, holding that the requirements of numerosity and superiority were met. The complaint alleged that the royalty payments were suspended in an effort by Defendant to recoup improper deductions. Plaintiffs moved for class certification, which the trial court granted. Defendant appealed, arguing that Plaintiffs failed to satisfy the numerosity and superiority requirements. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in determining that the numerosity and superiority requirements were satisfied in this case. View "Stephens Production Co. v. Mainer" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court denying Appellants' motion to dismiss Appellees' complaint on sovereign immunity grounds but reversed the circuit court's grant of the temporary injunction, holding that the injunction failed to comply with Ark. R. Civ. P. 65. Appellees, landowners whose only property was an unpaved road that crossed property owned by the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission (AGFC), brought this action alleging that AGFC had blocked their access to their property by installing a locked gate over the road. Appellees sought enforcement through injunctive relief. The circuit court denied AGFC's motion to dismiss, concluding that AGFC was not entitled to sovereign immunity, and ordered AGFC to immediately provide a key to the locked gate and allow Appellees vehicular access using the road. The Supreme Court held (1) because the complaint alleged that AGFC acted illegally or in an ultra vires manner the complaint was not subject to dismissal under the doctrine of sovereign immunity; and (2) the temporary injunction must be dissolved for failure to comply with Rule 65. View "Arkansas Game & Fish Commission v. Heslep" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court granting a motion to dismiss filed by the Arkansas State Highway Commission and the Arkansas Department of Transportation and its director in this challenge to a contract entered into between the Department and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), holding that the circuit court correctly found that the complaint failed to state facts upon which relief could be granted. Under the contract in this case the Department would cede certain property to USFWS in exchange for a fifty-acre easement over land in the Cache River and White River Wildlife Refuges in order to build a new bridge on Highway 79. The agreement further required the Department to convey additional land to USFWS and to demolish three bridges. Appellants filed a motion for preliminary injunction and complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief, arguing that the contract was unconscionable, entered into under duress, and constituted a windfall to USFWS. The circuit court dismissed the complaint. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the complaint lacked sufficient facts to state a claim for an illegal exaction. View "Prince v. Arkansas State Highway Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court's entry of a $650 deficiency judgment against the Arkansas State Highway Commission after a jury determined that the Commission owed KW-DW Properties, LLC $36,000 for just compensation in an eminent domain action, holding that substantial evidence supported the verdict, there was no error in the amount of recovery, and the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in denying KW-DW's motion for a new trial. The Commission filed a declaration taking approximately 2.36 acres of KW-DW's property for a highway project. The matter proceeded to a jury trial for final determination of the compensation due. The jury determined the final, just compensation due to be $36,000. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, while the motion for a new trial was timely, it nonetheless provided no basis for reversal. View "KW-DW Properties, LLC v. Arkansas State Highway Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court the circuit court’s denial of Appellant’s motion to dismiss and grant of a default judgment in favor of Arkansas Teachers Federal Credit Union (ATFCU), holding that the circuit court did not err in granting a default judgment. On appeal, Appellant argued that the default judgment entered against him was void because he was not timely served. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that Appellant was served one day before the time for service was expired, and therefore, the circuit court properly denied the motion to dismiss and properly granted default judgment in favor of ATFCU. View "Gore v. Arkansas Teachers Federal Credit Union" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed Convent Corporation’s appeal from an order of the circuit court upholding the City of North Little Rock’s decision to condemn a business property, holding that pursuant to the holdings in Haile v. Ark. Power & Light Co., 907 S.W.2d 122 (Ark. 1995), and Ratzlaff v. Franz Foods of Ark., 500 S.W.2d 379 (Ark. 1995), this appeal must be dismissed. Specifically, the Court held that because Convent Corporation had multiple claims and voluntarily dismissed one without prejudice, Rule 2 of the Arkansas Rule of Appellate Procedure-Civil required that the appeal be dismissed in order to avoid piecemeal appeals. View "Convent Corp. v. City of North Little Rock" on Justia Law

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Ark. Code Ann. 14-56-202 confers upon cities of the first class the exclusive power to issue or refuse to issue buildings permits and to regulate the building of houses, thereby denying such power to the cities of the second class, despite the general powers listed in Ark. Code Ann. 14-56-201. Petitioners (“the Bank”) filed a complaint against the City of Elkins, Arkansas (“the City”) challenging the City’s moratorium on the issuance of building permits for lots within a partially developed residential subdivision. Petitioners sought a declaratory judgment that the City lacked statutory authority to regulate the building of houses or to issue building permits for houses. The case was removed to the federal district court, which certified the question answered above to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court answered the certified question in the affirmative. View "First State Bank v. City of Elkins" on Justia Law

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Arkansas’s Rules of Professional Conduct do not require attorney disqualification simply because the attorney had access to client information but did not gain actual knowledge while practicing at her former association. Appellee filed a complaint against Appellants - The Park Apartments at Fayetteville, LP, The Park Apartments at Fayetteville Management Co., and Lindsey Management Co., Inc. (Lindsey) (collectively, the Park), alleging that the liquidated-damages clause in her lease agreement was unenforceable and constituted an illegal penalty. Appellee later filed a motion to disqualify the Park’s attorney and Lindsey’s entire in-house legal department, alleging that Summer McCoy, a staff attorney for Lindsey, had a conflict of interest and that the conflict of interest should be imputed to the Park’s attorney and the entire Lindsey legal department because McCoy was now a part of that department. The circuit court granted the motion to disqualify. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the circuit court erred in applying Norman v. Norman, 970 S.W.2d 270 (Ark. 1998), when it concluded that access to client information alone was sufficient for attorney disqualification. View "Park Apartments At Fayetteville, LP v. Shilah Plants" on Justia Law

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The circuit court correctly determined that the immunity provisions of Ark. Code Ann. 16-105-502 barred Appellants’ noise-based lawsuit against Brown-Wright Post No. 158 of the American Legion, Department of Arkansas, Inc. (the Legion) and correctly found that the immunity statute did not constitute a taking under the Arkansas Constitution. Appellants filed a complaint alleging that noise from a shooting range that the Legion had built interfered with the use and enjoyment of their land and constituted a nuisance. The Legion filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the complaint should be dismissed because it was based only on noise, and Ark. Code Ann. 16-105-502 grants shooting ranges immunity for noise-based lawsuits if the range is in compliance with local noise-control ordinances. The circuit court granted the Legion’s motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Legion was entitled to immunity as long the shooting range did not violate any local noise ordinances; and (2) section 16-105-52 did not violate Appellants’ constitutionally protected property rights. View "3 Rivers Logistics, Inc. v. Brown-Wright Post No. 158 of the American Legion, Department of Arkansas, Inc." on Justia Law