Justia Real Estate & Property Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Arkansas Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and dismissed as moot in part the order of the circuit court that disposed of Appellant's motion for the return of seized property, holding that the circuit court correctly held that Appellant's available remedy was a separate action in the civil division of the circuit court or some other remedy.The county sheriff seized thirty-one dogs belonging to Appellant. Appellant was subsequently found guilty of thirty-one misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty. After the circuit court dismissed the charges on speedy-trial grounds Appellant filed a motion to have the dogs returned to her. The circuit court did not order the return of the seized dogs or that Appellant be compensated for the property. The Supreme Court held (1) the circuit court lacked jurisdiction to provide the requested relief; and (2) Appellant's constitutional arguments were moot. View "Siegel v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court decree quieting and confirming title in 173.5 acres of Lee County property in favor of Appellees in this case, holding that the circuit court's findings were clearly erroneous.Appellants filed a partition petition in the circuit court. Appellees filed a counterclaim to quiet title, asserting that they owned the property through adverse possession. The circuit court entered a decree quieting and confirming title in favor of Appellees and declaring all other claims null and void. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the cotenants of the property were entitled to actual notice of Appellees' adverse claim to the property and that Appellees did not meet the actual notice requirement. View "Trice v. Trice" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order the circuit court certifying a class action against Defendants, holding that the circuit court did not err or abuse its discretion.Plaintiffs filed a class action complaint against Defendants, alleging, on their own behalf and on behalf of others similarly situated, that their water systems were contaminated with sewage due to Defendants' negligence. Plaintiffs moved for class certification. The circuit court certified the class as to their negligence and breach of contract claims. On appeal, Defendants argued that the circuit court erred in finding that class was ascertainable and that common issues predominated and erred in certifying the breach of contract claim. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not err in certifying the class. View "C.J. Mahan Construction Co. v. Betzner" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part, reversed and remanded in part, and dismissed as moot in part the circuit court's order granting summary judgment in favor of the the City of North Little Rock, the City's mayor, certain City Council members, and other City officials and dismissing Plaintiff's action challenging the City's decision to condemn certain property, holding that some of Plaintiff's arguments on appeal were moot.Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) Plaintiff's argument that the City Council proceeding did not contain any factual findings to support the condemnation and demolition of Plaintiff's property was moot; (2) there was no longer a justiciable controversy regarding Plaintiff's failure-to-exhaust argument, and therefore, the issue was moot; (3) summary judgment was properly granted to the City as to argument that the City's condemnation ordinance violated due process; (4) the circuit court did not err in granting summary judgment on the claim that the City's ordinance was unconstitutionally vague; and (5) the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in declining to grant Plaintiff's renewed motion to strike the City's amended answer and affirmative defenses. View "Convent Corp. v. City of North Little Rock" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court affirming the Pulaski County Assessor's denial of the Little Rock Municipal Airport Commission's tax exemption for three land parcels, holding that because the Airport used the unleased properties exclusively for public purposes, they were exempt from taxation.After the Assessor denied the Airport's application for tax exemptions the Airport filed four amended complaints. The circuit court granted the Assessor's motion for summary judgment, concluding that the properties were not exempt from taxation. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the Airport directly used the subject properties exclusively for public purposes when the properties were unleased; and (2) therefore, the properties exempt from taxation during the periods were they were unleased. View "City of Little Rock v. Ward" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court concluding that Regions Bank and Optimum Agriculture, LLC had lien priority to crop proceeds and that Optimum Agriculture, LLC was entitled to a statutory landlord lien, holding that the circuit court did not clearly err.On appeal, AgriFund, LLC, one of the three creditors in this intercreditor dispute over lien priority to the crop proceeds, argued that its lien was superior to those held by Regions and Optimum. The Supreme Court disagreed and affirmed, holding that, under the facts and circumstances of this case, the circuit court did not clearly err in finding that AgriFund did not have priority to the proceeds and that Optimum held a landlord's lien. View "Agrifund, LLC v. Regions Bank" on Justia Law

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In a certified question of law regarding the requirement for creditors to comply strictly with the Arkansas Statutory Foreclosure Act the Supreme Court held that Ark. Code Ann. 18-50-104(b)(4) requires disclosure of the specific default under the terms of the mortgage agreement.The Court by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Arkansas certified the question of law to the Supreme Court, asking whether mere acknowledgment that a default has occurred is sufficient for the trustee's Notice of Default and Intention to Sell or whether section 18-5-104(b)(4) requires the trustee's notice of default to set forth the default for which foreclosure is made. The Supreme Court answered that the statute requires that the notice must state the specific default that occurred. View "Davis v. Pennymac Loan Services, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part the circuit court's order awarding damages under the Arkansas Civil Rights Act to Alexander Apartments, LLC and certain tenants after determining that the City of Little Rock violated Appellees' due process rights under the Arkansas Constitution, holding that the circuit court correctly found that the City violated Appellees' due process rights but incorrectly awarded damages.On appeal, the City argued that it did not violate Alexander Apartments' or the tenants' due process rights under the Arkansas Constitution. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) the circuit court was correct as a matter of law that the City violated Alexander Apartments' and the tenants' due process rights under the Arkansas Constitution; (2) substantial evidence supported the circuit court's award of damages to Alexander Apartments in the amount of $432,744.33; and (3) the circuit court erroneously considered events and circumstances that were unrelated to the City's due process violations in determining the tenants' damages awards. View "City of Little Rock v. Alexander Apartments, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court granting Walt & Lee Keenihan Foundation, Inc.'s (Foundation) motion for summary judgment and dismissing Heritage Properties Limited Partnership's (Heritage) complaint seeking to set aside an alleged fraudulent conveyance to the Foundation pursuant to a transfer on death (TOD) beneficiary designation on an account owned by Leta Keenihan, holding that the circuit court erred in deciding this case by summary judgment.Specifically, the Court held (1) the circuit court clearly had jurisdiction in the present case; (2) Heritage, as a creditor, had standing to pursue its claim under the Fraudulent Transfer Act against the Foundation as the transferee; and (3) Heritage was not required to present evidence of Keenihan's intent at the time of the TOD designation, but the evidence raised a factual issue precluding summary judgment as to whether Keenihan reasonably should have believed that she would incur debts beyond her ability to pay. View "Heritage Properties Limited Partnership v. Walt & Lee Keenihan Foundation, Inc." on Justia Law

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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