Justia Real Estate & Property Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Delaware Court of Chancery
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In this dispute over whether homeowners may park a commercial van at and on their property in Bear, Delaware, the Court of Chancery held that the van was expressly permitted and that judgment should be entered in favor of the homeowners.Plaintiff was responsible for maintaining a private open space within a development. Property within the development was subject to restrictions set forth in a declaration of restrictions and an amendment to the declaration. Defendants were accused of violating a restriction on prohibited vehicles. Plaintiff filed the underlying complaint seeking a mandatory injunction to remove Defendants' van from the property. The Court of Chancery held that judgment should be entered in Defendants' favor because the van was expressly permitted under the amendment. View "Estates of Red Lion Maintenance Corp. v. Broome" on Justia Law

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In this longstanding property dispute between neighbors, the Court of Chancery held that Plaintiffs failed to establish a prescriptive easement of land owned by Defendant, and entered judgment in favor of Defendant on all counts.This dispute stemmed from the neighbors' shared drainage system and the actions of Defendants that caused drainage problems and flooding on both lots. Plaintiffs filed a complaint against Defendant that included four counts all based on Plaintiffs' prescriptive easement theory. After a trial, the Court of Chancery denied relief, holding that Plaintiffs failed to establish the necessary elements of a prescriptive easement by clear and convincing evidence. View "Jones v. Collison" on Justia Law

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The Court of Chancery held that this dispute with Defendant, a Delaware member corporation that governed the townhome and condominium development in which Plaintiff owned several properties, was an appropriate case for awarding expenses and that Plaintiff was entitled to $12,697, the amount he identified in his opening brief.Defendant fined Plaintiff for failing to remove a mounting bracket left on the roof after a satellite dish ordered by one of Plaintiff's tenants was left on the roof. Plaintiff filed this lawsuit to invalidate the charges and sought to recover his expenses. Defendant mooted the underlying dispute by clearing Plaintiff's account of the charges. The Court of Chancery held that Defendant was entitled to his expenses under the enforcement provision of the Delaware Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act. View "Bragdon v. Bayshore Property Owners Association, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Court of Chancery granted permanent mandatory injunctive relief sought by the Council for the Association of Unit Owners of Pelican Cove Condominium requiring Respondents, owners of Unit 7 in Pelican Cove, to comply with a six-person per unit maximum occupancy limitation located in the declaration of Pelican Cove recorded in the chain of title to the property, holding that the Council will continue to suffer some irreparable harm if a permanent injunction is not granted.Citing case law indicating that ongoing violation of a restrictive covenant may constitute irreparable harm, per se, the Court of Chancery held that other unit owners of Pelican Cove, represented by the Council, would suffer irreparable harm absent injunctive relief because Respondents' breach of the Declaration diminished other unit holders' own enjoyment of their property. Further, without injunctive relief, there was nothing to stop the occupancy of Unit 7 by more than six persons. The Court determined that the balance of the equities weighed in favor of issuing an injunction. View "Council of Association of Unit Owners of Pelican Cove Condominium v. Yeilding" on Justia Law

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The Court of Chancery granted Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint alleging that North Shores Board of Governors, Inc. (NSBG), a Delaware not-for-profit corporation that represented the homeowners at North Shores, a residential community, had no authority under the governing covenants to charge assessments or expend funds for maintenance of any of the community's recreational facilities and improvements to the community's beach dunes, holding (1) all claims contesting the annual assessments were barred by laches; and (2) all claims contesting the dune project were barred by the clear language of the covenants and the residential community's charter. View "Abbott v. North Shores Board of Governors, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, the owner of a commercial property, filed suit against Defendant, a special servicer that handled the default side of loan servicing for its affiliate, after Plaintiff unsuccessfully sought to purchase a loan taken out to refinance existing debt on its property in an effort to avoid default. Plaintiff sought specific performance of a pre-negotiation agreement and injunctive relief to enjoin Defendant from foreclosing on the property until good faith negotiations occur under the pre-negotiation contract. The Court of Chancery granted Defendant’s motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim for relief, holding that each count of the complaint failed to state a claim for relief. View "Windsor I, LLC v. CWCapital Asset Management LLC" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff brought this action opposing the use of portions of a former industrial park in the City of Lewes, now owned by the state. This action involved a lease of a portion of that property to the City and a sublease from Lewes to a non-profit that maintained a dog park on the property. At a regularly scheduled city council meeting, the Lewes City Council voted to approve an amendment to the sublease to the non-profit, which added an access road to the sublease. In his complaint, Plaintiff alleged numerous violations of the Delaware Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The Court of Chancery granted the motion to dismiss of the Mayor, the City Council, and the City, holding that a violation of FOIA did not occur here. View "Lechliter v. Becker" on Justia Law

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Charles and Melissa Dalton obtained a loan from Household Finance Corporation II that was secured by a mortgage on their property. The Daltons received a trial period plan pursuant to a Trial Period Plan Agreement. The Daltons’ loan was later sold to LSF9 Master Participation Trust, and the servicing of the Daltons’ loan was transferred to Caliber Home Loans, Inc. The Daltons filed this action against LSF9 and Caliber alleging, inter alia, breach of the Trial Period Plan Agreement and seeking a preliminary and permanent injunction enjoining LSF9 and Caliber from terminating the Daltons’ loan modification. The Court of Chancery dismissed all claims against LSF9 and Caliber, holding (1) LSF9 and Caliber were not parties nor successors in interest to the Trial Period Plan Agreement; (2) LSF9 and Caliber were not parties to the consent orders between Household Finance and the United States Department of the Treasury; (3) the Daltons failed to state a claim for unjust enrichment; and (4) the Daltons failed to allege a reasonable probability of success on the merits or imminent threat of irreparable injury. View "Dalton v. Household Finance Corp., II" on Justia Law

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Before Russell Banks died, Russell and his brother, David Banks, owned together fifteen parcels of real estate in Sussex County, Delaware. The granting language of the deed to each parcel stated that the property was conveyed to the brothers as “joint tenants with right of survivorship.” David asserted that this language granted joint tenancies with right of survivorship (WROS) and that the properties passed to him in full upon Russell’s death. Mackie Banks, the executrix of Russell’s estate, filed an inventory for Russell’s estate asserting that the properties were conveyed to the brothers as tenants in common and that the Estate held a fifty percent ownership interest in the properties. David filed a petition to quiet title on the properties. The Court of Chancery granted David’s motion for judgment on the pleadings, holding that the language conveying the property as “joint tenants with right of survivorship” was sufficient to create a joint tenancy WROS and not a tenancy in common. View "Banks v. Banks" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, Cecil W. Scott, executed two deeds (the 1996 Deeds) conveying two real properties he owned to his brother Roland fourteen years prior to being adjudicated a disabled person. Subsequently, one of Cecil's sisters filed a complaint on behalf of Cecil seeking to set aside the 1996 conveyances. The court concluded that plaintiff failed to demonstrate that Cecil lacked capacity when he executed the 1996 Deeds or that the 1996 Deeds were the product of undue influence by Roland. Accordingly, the court recommended that plaintiff's complaint be denied. View "Scott v. Scott" on Justia Law