Justia Real Estate & Property Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Maine Supreme Judicial Court
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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the Business and Consumer Docket in favor of JJ Cars, LLC and John Mokarzel on H&B Realty, LLC's complaint for breach of contract, holding that there was no error in the court's judgment.The lower court determined that H&B breached the lease in this case by unreasonably withholding consent to a proposed sublease. On appeal, H&B argued that the court erred in applying the affirmative defenses, as pleaded by JJ Cars and Mokarzel, of breach of contract and failure to mitigate damages. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that there was competent record evidence to support the court's finding that H&B materially breached the lease by refusing to consent to sublet the property. View "H&B Realty, LLC v. JJ Cars, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court dismissing Appellant's complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, holding that the superior court did not err in determining that Appellant's dispute with Regina Petit and the Passamaquoddy Tribe was an "internal tribal matter."After Appellant contacted the Chief of Police for the Passamaquoddy Tribe and caused Appellant to be served with a no-trespass notice, Appellant filed a complaint against Petit and the Tribe. The superior court granted Petit and the Tribe's motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, concluding that the dispute involved an "internal tribal matter." The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the most appropriate forum for this case was the tribal court. View "Moyant v. Petit" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court in favor of Deutsche Bank on Deutsche Bank's foreclosure complaint, holding that the district court did not err or abuse its discretion.On appeal, Stephen Clifford argued that the district court abused its discretion by admitting several documents under the business records exception to the rule against hearsay and erred in finding that Deutsche Bank satisfied the elements of proof to support the judgment of foreclosure. The Supreme Judicial Court disagreed, holding (1) the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting the documents under the business records exception; and (2) Deutsche Bank proved all the required elements to foreclose by a preponderance of the evidence. View "Deutsche Bank Trust Co. Americas v. Clifford" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court in favor of John Bump on Wells Fargo Bank's foreclosure complaint, holding that the court did not err by concluding that a 2015 order dismissing without prejudice Wells Fargo's earlier action seeking foreclosure on the same mortgage did not vacate the final judgment in Bump's favor that had been entered in 2013 in that same case.Wells Fargo filed a foreclosure action in the district court in 2009. After a bench trial in 2013, the court entered judgment on the merits in favor of Bump. In 2015, the court granted Wells Fargo's motion to dismiss the 2009 action without prejudice. In 2016, Wells Fargo filed a new action to foreclose on the same mortgage. In 2020, the court entered judgment in favor of Bump, stating that it took notice of the 2013 final judgment and concluding that the 2015 order of dismissal without prejudice did not operate to vacate that judgment. The court then determined that Wells Fargo's entire claim was barred by res judicial given the 2013 judgment. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the district court (1) properly concluded that the preclusive effect of the 2013 judgment barred the present action; and (2) did not abuse its discretion in taking judicial notice of the prior judgment. View "Wells Fargo Bank v. Bump" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the summary judgment entered by the superior court ejecting Defendant from real property pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 14, 6701-7053, holding that the trial court properly entered judgment for Plaintiffs, the property owners.Plaintiffs filed a complaint seeking to eject Defendant from the property and obtain a writ of possession. The trial court granted Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment for their claim of ejectment. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the trial court (1) correctly interpreted Me. Rev. Stat. 14, 6961 and the legal framework governing real actions for ejectment; (2) did not err in entering partial summary judgment for Plaintiffs granting them a writ of possession; and (3) did not err in concluding that its judgment rendered Defendant's counterclaim for declaratory judgment moot. View "Ogden v. Labonville" on Justia Law

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In this appeal from a residential foreclosure judgment, the Supreme Judicial Court clarified the criteria under the business record exception to the hearsay rule for admitting into evidence records that a business has obtained from another entity and integrated into its own records or operations by reaffirming the interpretation set forth in Northeast Bank & Trust Co. v. Soley, 481 A.2d 1123, 1127 (Me. 1984).Specifically, the Supreme Court held that a record that one business has received from another is admissible under Me. R. Evid. 803(6) without testimony about the practices of the business that created the record, provided that (1) the proponent of admission establishes that the receiving business has integrated the record into its own records, has established the accuracy of the contents of the record, and has relief on the record in the conduct of its operations; and (2) the opponent of admission has not shown that the record is nonetheless not sufficiently trustworthy to be admitted. View "Bank of New York Mellon v. Shone" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment entered by the superior court denying U.S. Bank Trust, N.A.'s motion to extend the time to file a notice of appeal as to its foreclosure complaint against James D. Keefe, holding that the trial court did not err in denying the motion as untimely.In denying U.S. Bank's motion seeking an extension of time to file its notice of appeal the trial court determined determined that U.S. Bank had shown good cause for the trial court to grant its motion to extend but that its authority to grant an extension of time had expired, and therefore, the motion was untimely. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the trial court did not err in its interpretation of the pertinent Rules of Appellate Procedure or in denying U.S. Bank's untimely motion for an extension of time. View "U.S. Bank Trust, N.A. v. Keefe" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment entered in the Business and Consumer Docket concluding that the Town of Cape Elizabeth's proffered evidence was insufficient to support a finding that the Town's right to accept the "incipient dedication" of a particular portion of land lapsed at common law, holding that the court did not err in its application of the common law lapse standard.Pilot Point, LLC sought a declaratory judgment that the Town's right to accept the incipient dedication of a portion of Surf Side Avenue (the "Pilot Point Section") had lapsed at common law (count one) and, alternatively, that the Town's right was limited by the scope of the original dedication (count two). The court granted the Town's motion for judgment as a matter of law on count one and dismissed count two as unripe. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the trial court did not err (1) in determining that the evidence was insufficient as a matter of law to establish that the Town's right to accept the dedication of the Pilot Point section had lapsed at common law; and (2) in dismissing without prejudice count two as unripe for judicial review. View "Pilot Point, LLC v. Town of Cape Elizabeth" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court affirming the decision of the Town of Casco Zoning Board of Appeals in which the Board denied the request for a shoreline zoning permit filed by Mark and Valerie Tomasino, holding that the Tomasinos lacked standing to seek such a permit.On appeal, the Tomasinos argued that the Board erred in determining that they demonstrated insufficient right, title, or interest in the property to obtain a permit to remove three trees from property owned by Lake Shore Realty Trust, the abutting property owner, over which the Tomasinos claimed a deeded easement. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that, even assuming that the Tomasinos demonstrated that they had some interest in the particular portion of property at issue in this case, they failed to demonstrate that they had the kind of interest that would allow them to cut the trees if they were granted a permit to do so. View "Tomasino v. Town of Casco" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court in favor of Lisa Berry following a bench trial on the complaint for foreclosure filed by Wilmington Trust, National Association, as Trustee for MFRA Trust 2014-2 (Wilmington), holding that the district court did not err.Specifically, the Supreme Judicial Court held (1) the district court did not err by excluding evidence of business records showing Berry's payment history with various loan services because the business records were untrustworthy; (2) Wilmington failed to prove that Berry received a properly served notice of default and mortgagor's right to cure; and (3) the district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding attorney fees to Berry. View "Wilmington Trust, National Ass'n v. Berry" on Justia Law