Justia Real Estate & Property Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Nebraska Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court finding that Plaintiffs did not sustain their claim to quiet title by adverse possession to a six-foot tract of land owned by Defendants, abutting landowners, holding that Plaintiffs failed to prove the necessary elements to support a claim of adverse possession of the disputed land. After a trial, the court entered an order of dismissal, finding that Plaintiffs' actions regarding Defendants' land did not sustain a claim of quiet title by adverse possession. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in finding insufficient notorious use of the disputed land to sustain a claim for adverse possession. View "Siedlik v. Nissen" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court entering judgment according to a jury verdict determining that defendant-intervenor Lehr, Inc. was entitled to possession of two disputed motor vehicles and was entitled to damages in the amount of $95,000 as a result of Foundation One Bank's sale of one of the vehicles, holding that there was no plain error in the proceedings below. Foundation One sought replevin of two motor vehicles pledged by Jason Svoboda as collateral to secure payment of a loan. Lehr intervened, seeking possession of the vehicles. The jury entered a verdict in favor of Lehr and awarded Lehr $95,000. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Foundation One was not prejudiced by the instructions given to the jury; and (2) the district court did not err when it denied Foundation One's motions for judgment on the pleadings and for a directed verdict. View "Foundation One Bank v. Svoboda" on Justia Law

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In this lawsuit filed by the purchasers of a home against the sellers the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court vacating an arbitration award entered in favor of Sellers and remanded with directions to confirm the arbitration award, holding that the district court erred by finding that arbitration provision in the purchase agreement was unenforceable, vacating the award, and failing to confirm the award. In this action, Purchasers alleged that several defects in the home they purchased had been concealed by Sellers. An arbitrator issued an award in favor of Sellers, finding that no credible evidence supported any of Purchasers' claims. Purchasers filed an application to vacate the arbitration award, and Sellers filed a motion seeking judicial confirmation of the award. The district court entered an order finding the arbitration void and vacating the award, holding that the arbitration provision in the purchase agreement was unenforceable under Nebraska's Uniform Arbitration Act. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court should have confirmed the arbitration award pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. 25-2612. View "Garlock v. 3DS Properties, LLC" on Justia Law

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After the charge against Appellant for theft by unlawful taking was dismissed the Supreme Court reversed the district court's order granting in part Appellant's motion for return of property seized from him and originally alleged to be stolen, holding that the burden of proof was not properly applied. As part of a plea agreement, the State dismissed the charge against Appellant of theft by unlawful taking. Thereafter, Appellant filed a motion for return of the property seized from him. The district court conducted an evidentiary hearing and then ordered some items of property returned to Appellant and others returned to Appellant's former employer. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded for further proceedings, holding that the district court erred as a matter of law by requiring Appellant, as the proponent of the motion seeking the return of property seized from him, to prove ownership of the property seized. View "State v. Ebert" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court upholding the decision of the City of Omaha Zoning Board of Appeals denying Appellants' request for a variance from the requirements of Omaha's zoning code based on a claim of unnecessary hardship, holding that the district court did not err or abuse its discretion in upholding the Board's decision. Appellants owned a 4.66-acre parcel of land that was zoned for agricultural use. After the City of Omaha Planning Department concluded that the property was being used for activities not permitted by ordinance in an agricultural district Appellants applied for a variance requesting waiver that would allow them to deviate from zoning requirements. The Board denied Appellants' request for a variance. The district court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that competent evidence supported the district court's findings and its conclusion that Appellants' situation did not warrant a variance under Neb. Rev. Stat. 14-411. View "Bruning v. City of Omaha Zoning Board of Appeals" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decree dissolving Appellant's marriage to Appellee, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in determining the valuation dates for the marital assets and in classifying, valuing, and dividing the marital estate. On appeal, Appellant challenged the division of property, asserting that all assets must be valued using a single date and that a coverture formula was required to establish the premarital value of a business. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) using a single date to value all assets would imagine upon the discretion necessary to equitably divide a marital estate, and therefore, the district court did not abuse its discretion in valuing marital assets on dates that rationally related to the property being divided; and (2) the coverture formula depends upon speculation and assumptions generally inconsistent with such valuations, and therefore, the district court did not abuse its discretion when it declined to apply that method. View "Rohde v. Rohde" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court's order granting a mortgage company's motion for summary judgment, holding that a subordination clause in a land contract for the purchase of a residence effectively subordinated the rights of the purchasers to the rights held by later assignees of the note and deed of trust. The purchasers of the property entered into the land contract with a seller-trust. After the purchasers took possession, the seller-trust signed a promissory note and a deed of trust to a bank for a certain amount of money in order to pay a previously existing mortgage on the property. The note and deed of trust were eventually assigned to the mortgage company. When the seller-trust defaulted on its loan, the purchasers filed suit to enjoin a trustee sale of the property, asserting that his claim to the property was superior to that of the mortgage company. The district court granted summary judgment for the mortgage company. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the subordination clause meant that the rights of any existing lenders of the seller-trust would take precedence over the purchasers' rights or interest in the property until the purchasers have paid the contract price in full. View "Wintroub v. Nationstar Mortgage, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the declaratory and injunction entered by the district court enjoining the City of Arapahoe, Nebraska from enforcing an ordinance against Brooke Wilkison to prohibit his retention of a pit bull at his home within the city limits, holding that Brooke failed to show that allowing him to retain the dog in his home was necessary. The district court's order determined that the city ordinance, if enforced against Brooke, would violate the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA), 42 U.S.C. 3601 to 3619, by permitting a discriminatory housing practice and precluding Brooke from mitigating the ill effects of his handicap by living with his emotional assistance animal. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the district court did not err in holding that the FHA applies to the ordinance enacted by the city; but (2) Brooke failed to prove that an accommodation from the city's ban on certain breeds of dogs was essential to his equal enjoyment of his property. View "Wilkison v. City of Arapahoe" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court finding that it lacked jurisdiction over the assessment decision of the Board of Equalization of the City of Omaha exercising a quasi-judicial function as a result of Appellant's failure to file an appeal bond with the city clerk within twenty days, holding that the statutory scheme requires that an appellant execute a bond with the city clerk within twenty days, which Appellant did not do in this case. Appellant personally appeared before the Board to protest a proposed special assessment to be levied on his property. The Board denied Appellant's protest. The City Council for the City of Omaha subsequently levied the special assessment on Appellant's property. Appellant appealed, The district court found that Appellant had failed to comply with Neb. Rev. Stat. 14-813 by not filing an appeal bond with the city clerk within twenty days, thus dismissing Appellant's appeal for lack of jurisdiction. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court correctly dismissed Appellant's appeal for lack of jurisdiction. View "Glasson v. Board of Equalization of City of Omaha" on Justia Law

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In this declaratory judgment action in which ex-husband (Husband) sought a declaration that he was entitled to one-half of the proceeds of a home awarded to the ex-wife (Wife) in the divorce decree and sold two years later when Wife decided to remarry, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court declaring that Wife had timely refinanced the house and that, therefore, Husband was not entitled to one-half of the proceeds from its later sale, holding that the district court's judgment was correct. A provision in the dissolution decree stated that Wife would have the home refinanced into her own name within twelve months of entry of the decree and that, if she did not, the house should be sold and the parties should equally divide any proceeds. Wife was approved for refinancing within one year of the entry of the dissolution decree, but the bank did not schedule closing on the refinance until thirteen months after the entry of the dissolution decree. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because Wife made a good faith effort to complete refinancing within twelve months and Husband did not incur any harm as a result of the delay in closing, the sale of the house and equal division of the proceeds was not required. View "Bayne v. Bayne" on Justia Law