Articles Posted in North Carolina Supreme Court

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At issue was when the claims that Plaintiffs asserted against Defendant, the Town of Carthage, accrued and whether Plaintiffs’ claims were barred by a one-year, two-year, three-year, or ten-year statute of limitations and the doctrine of estoppel by the acceptance of benefits. The Supreme Court held (1) Plaintiffs’ cause of action accrued upon the Town’s exaction of the unlawful impact fees against Plaintiffs; (2) Plaintiffs’ claims against the Town arose from a liability created by statute that was subject to the three-year statute of limitations set out in N.C. Gen. Stat. 1-52(2); and (3) Plaintiffs’ claims against the Town were not barred by the doctrine of estoppel by the acceptance of benefits. View "Quality Built Homes Inc. v. Town of Carthage" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs were entitled to seek compensation pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. 40A-51 based upon the extended flooding of their property as a result of actions taken by the City of Boiling Spring Lakes for an allegedly private purpose. The court of appeals reversed the decision of the trial court, which concluded that Plaintiffs had proven their section 40A-51 cause of action because the City took a temporary easement in a portion of Plaintiffs’ property without filing a complaint containing a declaration of taking. In reversing, the court of appeals ruled that there can be no inverse condemnation when property is not taken for a public purpose. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that a property owner seeking to assert a statutory inverse condemnation claim under section 40A-51 need not show that the condemnor acted to further a public purpose. View "Wilkie v. City of Boiling Spring Lakes" on Justia Law

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A showing of strict compliance with a corporate entity’s internal bylaws and governance procedures is not necessary for that entity to invoke the jurisdiction of the General Court of Justice. Plaintiffs, non-profit corporations representing homeowners in certain residential communities located in the City of Charlotte, instituted this litigation challenging the validity of a zoning ordinance enacted by the City. The trial court granted Defendants’ motions for summary judgment, concluding that Plaintiffs lacked standing to bring their claims because they failed to comply with various provisions in their corporate bylaws when they initiated this litigation. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that, despite Plaintiffs’ failure to comply strictly with their respective bylaws and internal governance procedures in deciding to initiate this suit, they possessed a “sufficient stake in an otherwise justiciable controversy” to confer jurisdiction on the trial court to adjudicate this legal dispute. View "Willowmere Community Ass'n v. City of Charlotte" on Justia Law

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In this case seeking just compensation for the taking of property in Greensboro, the trial court erred in excluding testimony from a licensed real estate broker as an expert witness who would testify about the fair market value of the property before and after the taking. After a trial, the jury returned a verdict setting just compensation for the taking by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (DOT) of 2.193 acres of land in Greensboro at $350,000. Defendants appealed, arguing that their proposed expert’s report and his testimony on fair market value should have been admitted as evidence. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that a new trial was warranted because N.C. Gen. Stat. 93A-83(f) did not prohibit the proposed expert from preparing his expert report on fair market value, and the trial court’s erroneous exclusion of the testimony about fair market value on that basis prejudiced Defendants. View "North Carolina Department of Transportation v. Mission Battleground Park, DST" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the order of the Court of Appeals reversing the trial court’s order addressing the appropriate measure of damages in this condemnation action. The North Carolina Department of Transportation (DOT) condemned a leasehold interest held by Adams Outdoor Advertising of Charlotte Limited Partnership (Adams). Adams owned a billboard situated on the leasehold and rented out space on the billboard. At the time of the taking the billboard did not conform to city or state regulations, but Adams possessed permits that allowed for the billboard’s continued use. The Supreme Court held (1) the fair market value provision of N.C. Gen. Stat. Article 9 governed this condemnation proceeding; (2) the value added by the billboard, the evidence of rental income derived from leasing advertising space on the billboard, and the value added to the leasehold interest by the permits issued to Adams may be considered in determining the fair market value of the leasehold interest; (3) an automatic ten-year extension of a lease may be considered in determining the fair market value, but options to renew the lease may not be; and (4) bonus value method evidence offered by DOT may not be considered in determining the fair market value of the leasehold interest. View "Department of Transportation v. Adams Outdoor Advertising of Charlotte Limited Partnership" on Justia Law

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Borrowers executed a promissory note to purchase real property. The debt was secured by a deed of trust on the underlying real property. Bank, the alleged holder of note and subject deed of trust, filed a complaint against Borrowers under the deed of trust, seeking judicial foreclosure and judgment on the note, alleging that Borrowers defaulted under the terms of the note by failing to make payments. Borrowers moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to establish that Bank failed to establish its status as a holder of the note and therefore did not have the right to foreclose. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Plaintiff’s complaint adequately stated a cause of action for judicial foreclosure and that the court of appeals erred by applying the requirements applicable in non-judicial foreclosure by power of sale to Plaintiff’s judicial foreclosure action. View "U.S. Bank National Ass’n v. Pinkney" on Justia Law

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In this case concerning borrowers’ invocation of North Carolina’s anti-deficiency statute, the Supreme Court held that Defendants failed to forecast substantial competent evidence sufficient to create a genuine issue of material fact regarding the “true value” of the foreclosed property at issue under N.C. Gen. Stat.45-21.36. Defendants asserted the protection of the anti-deficiency statute after a Bank foreclosed the property by nonjudicial power of sale under a deed of trust, purchased the property, and then filed this action to collect the deficiency. The trial court granted summary judgment for the Bank. The Court of Appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reinstated the trial court’s grant of summary judgment, ruling that merely reciting the statutory language or asserting an unsubstantiated opinion regarding a foreclosed property’s value is insufficient under N.C. R. Civ. P. 56. View "United Community Bank (Georgia) v. Wolfe" on Justia Law

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Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC (Duke) owned an easement in Huntersville, North Carolina allowing construction of and access to its power lines. A portion of Herbert Gray’s property encroached on Duke’s right-of-way. Duke asked Gray to remove the encroachment. When Gray did not reply, Duke filed suit seeking injunctive and other relief. The trial court concluded that the six-year statute of limitations for an injury to an incorporeal hereditament set out in N.C. Gen. Stat. 1-50(a)(3) had run and that, consequently, Duke had no legal remedy. The court of appeal affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) removal of the encroachment is a recovery of real property lying outside the scope of section 1-50(a)(3); and (2) therefore, this action fell within the twenty-year statute of limitations set out in N.C. Gen. Stat. 1-40. Remanded. View "Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC v. Gray" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs were individual investors in undeveloped real estate that purchased real property shortly before the collapse of the real estate market. In 2010, Plaintiffs commenced this action seeking to recover against a bank and its appraisers for their alleged participation in a scheme to defraud investors by artificially inflating property values. Specifically, Plaintiffs alleged that they would not have purchased the real property but for faulty appraisal information and that the bank should have disclosed the inflating appraised property values to them. The trial court granted Defendants’ motion to dismiss on the basis that Plaintiffs did not receive the appraisals at the time of their decisions to purchase. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because it was undisputed that Plaintiffs decided to purchase the investment properties without consulting an appraisal and obligated themselves to purchase the properties independent of the loan process, Defendants were entitled to dismissal of all claims. View "Arnesen v. Rivers Edge Golf Club & Plantation, Inc." on Justia Law

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Landowner sought to develop a townhouse community on residential property and obtained a zoning permit to develop the townhouses. Petitioner appealed the Zoning Officer’s formal determination to the Warren County Board of Adjustment. The Board overturned the Zoning Officer’s decision and revoked the zoning permit issued to Landowner. Landowner and Warren County subsequently entered into a consent order agreeing that the zoning permit would be reinstated. A Zoning Officer then issued a determination that the subject property was not restricted by Warren County Zoning Ordinances. Petitioner appealed the Zoning Officer’s determination. The Zoning Officer, however, did not place Petitioner’s appeal on the Board’s agenda. Petitioner filed a petition for writ of mandamus in superior court, requesting that the court compel Respondents to place his appeal on the Board’s next available agenda for a hearing. The court granted the petition. The Court of Appeals affirmed, concluding that the Zoning Officer had a mandatory statutory duty to transmit Petitioner’s appeal to the Board and the Petitioner had a right to have its appeal placed on the Board’s agenda. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that a zoning officer may not refuse to transmit an appeal from his own zoning determining to the county board of adjustment for its review. View "Morningstar Marinas/Eaton Ferry, LLC v. Warren County" on Justia Law