Justia Real Estate & Property Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
Haney v. Town of Mashpee
The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing Matthew Haney's complaint, brought as the Trustee of the Gooseberry Island Trust, against the Town of Mashpee and its Zoning Board of Appeals, holding that Haney's arguments on appeal were either waived or meritless.Haney brought this action seeking a declaratory judgment that Defendants' actions constituted uncompensated taking of property in violation of the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution due to an unconstitutional taking and the Massachusetts Constitution due to inverse condemnation. The district court dismissed the complaint on the grounds that the claims were not ripe for review. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) Haney waived his argument relative to whether the government had reached a final decision on the Trust's request for variances; and (2) Haney's remaining arguments were meritless. View "Haney v. Town of Mashpee" on Justia Law
Back Beach Neighbors Committee v. Town of Rockport
The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing the claim brought by the Back Beach Neighbors Committee alleging that the Town of Rockport, Massachusetts committed a class-of-one equal protection violation by failing adequately to enforce local rules against scuba divers at Back Beach, holding that the district court did not err.The Committee brought this complaint claiming that the Town's failure consistently to enforce various rules as to Back Beach led to the singling out of the beach as a place "to welcome divers." The district court granted the Town's motion to dismiss as to six of the complaint's eight counts and then granted summary judgment for the Town on the remaining counts. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that because the Committee did not plausibly allege the existence of similarly-situated comparators, its class-of-one equal protection claim failed. View "Back Beach Neighbors Committee v. Town of Rockport" on Justia Law
Gattineri v. Wynn MA, LLC
In this case concerning the regulation of gambling licenses in the Commonwealth the First Circuit reversed in part the summary judgment for Defendants and certified questions of law to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC).An option contract for the purchase of land gave Encore Boston Harbor the option to purchase land from FBT Realty, LLC for $75 million should the Massachusetts Gaming Commission grant Encore a gaming license. The Commission ultimately conditioned the grant of the license on a $35 million purchase price for the sale of the land and signed certification by each member of FBT, except for Plaintiff, that they were sole members of the company. Defendants presented Plaintiff with an offer that would "make him whole" if he signed the certification in a contract. Plaintiff executed the required certification and then brought this action alleging, among other claims, breach of contract. The district court granted summary judgment for Defendants, finding no valid or enforceable contract. The First Circuit reversed in part, holding that genuine issues of material fact existed as to certain claims and that the question of whether the contract was unenforceable as contrary to state law and/or as a violation of public policy must be resolved by the SJC. View "Gattineri v. Wynn MA, LLC" on Justia Law
Douglas v. Hirshon
The First Circuit affirmed the decision of the district court dismissing in part Plaintiffs' claims that a subset of Defendants participated in a conspiracy in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, 18 U.S.C. 1961-1968 and that this conspiracy injured Plaintiffs, holding that there was no error.Plaintiffs brought this action alleging that Defendants engaged in several interrelated schemes to defraud Plaintiffs of Maine real estate. The district court dismissed the RICO conspiracy claim against two defendants, David Hirshon and LOSU, LLC, and denied Plaintiffs' motion seeking limited discovery from Hirshon. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in (1) ruling that the complaint failed to state a RICO conspiracy claim against Hirshon and LOSU; (2) declining to consider certain documents outside the complaint in deciding a motion to dismiss; and (3) denying Plaintiffs discovery. View "Douglas v. Hirshon" on Justia Law
Gattineri v. Town of Lynnfield, Mass.
The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing Appellants' complaint against the Town of Lynnfield, Massachusetts and several of the town's agencies and employees (collectively, Lynnfield) in this dispute over Appellants' spring water business, holding that there was no error or abuse of discretion.Appellants owned and operated the Pocahontas Spring in Lynnfield, Massachusetts, which sat on protected wetlands subject to state and local regulations. When Appellants sought to revive their spring water business and to maintain the Spring for Native Americans as a source of healing water. Appellants brought this complaint alleging that Lynnfield conspired to have neighbors lodge false complaint about Appellants' allegedly unlawful activities at the Spring and Lynnfield would respond to intimidate Appellants and interfere with their business. The First Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint, holding that Appellants' failure adequately to brief their two First Amendment claims proved fatal in this case. View "Gattineri v. Town of Lynnfield, Mass." on Justia Law
Aubee v. Selene Finance LP
The First Circuit reversed the order of the district court dismissing Plaintiffs' breach of contract claim against Wilmington Savings Fund Society, FSB and otherwise affirmed the district court order dismissing Plaintiffs' complaint against Wilmington Savings and Selene Finance LP, holding that the district court erred in part.Plaintiffs filed a complaint seeking a declaratory judgment that Defendants breached the parties' mortgage contract by selling their property through a non-judicial foreclosure, thus rendering the foreclosure void. Specifically, Plaintiffs alleged that the foreclosure and sale were conducted without providing adequate notice, as required by the mortgage contract. The district court granted Defendants' motion to dismiss. The First Circuit reversed in part, holding (1) Plaintiffs stated a claim that the notice of default failed strictly to comply with the requirements of the mortgage contract, and therefore, dismissal of their claim against Wilmington Savings was improper; and (2) as to the remaining claims, dismissal was proper. View "Aubee v. Selene Finance LP" on Justia Law
Efron v. Mora Development Corp.
In this dispute over an award of attorneys' fees under 42 U.S.C. 1988, the First Circuit identified only one defect in the award, thus vacating the existing fee award in the amount of $20,243 and remanding to the district court to enter a modified fee award in the amount of $18,218, holding that the district court abused its discretion in part.The underlying case revolved around a parcel of real property in Puerto Rico formerly owned by Plaintiff. Defendants, including the Puerto Rico Highway and Transportation Authority, moved for summary judgment for Plaintiff's failure to seek just compensation in the Puerto Rico courts before raising a federal takings claim. The district court granted the motion. As to attorney's fees, the district court found that the federal takings claim was frivolous and awarded payment of fees in the amount of $20,243. The First Circuit vacated the award, holding that the time expended in connection with a non-frivolous supplemental tort claim should have been deducted from the fee award. View "Efron v. Mora Development Corp." on Justia Law
IDC Properties, Inc. v. Chicago Title Insurance Co.
The First Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part the order of the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island granting summary judgment in favor of Chicago Title Insurance Company (CTIC) and dismissing this suit brought under Rhode Island law by IDC Properties Inc., holding that summary judgment in some respects was erroneously entered.In this real property dispute, Plaintiffs filed suit against IDC in Rhode Island state court, alleging violations of the Rhode Island Condominium Act. The state court granted partial summary judgment to Plaintiffs, which judgment extended to all counts relevant to this appeal. After the state Supreme Court affirmed, IDC submitted a claim to CTIC, its title insurer, seeking coverage under the relevant policy for the loss of IDC's title and interest in the real property as a result of the previous litigation. CTIC denied coverage. IDC then brought this action. The district court granted summary judgment for CTIC. The First Circuit reversed in part, holding that the district court (1) erred in granting summary judgment with respect to two of the three units at issue; but (2) did not err in granting CTIC's motion in limine to exclude IDC's original expert report insofar as it succeeded in overturning the district court's grant of summary judgment. View "IDC Properties, Inc. v. Chicago Title Insurance Co." on Justia Law
Pleasantdale Condominiums, LLC v. Wakefield
The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court entering summary judgment in favor of Defendant Thomas Wakefield and dismissing Plaintiff Pleasantdale Condominiums LLC's claims alleging nondisclosure of material information under a Maine statute, holding that Defendant was entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law.After it purchased an apartment complex Plaintiff sued Defendant, the seller, alleging claims for fraud and negligent misrepresentation. Both counts were based on the alleged violation of Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 33, 173(5). The district court concluded that Defendant was entitled to summary judgment on both counts. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Defendant was entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law on Plaintiff's claim for fraud in the nature of active concealment. View "Pleasantdale Condominiums, LLC v. Wakefield" on Justia Law
Emigrant Residential LLC v. Pinti
The First Circuit vacated the district court's grant of summary judgment in this mortgage dispute, holding that the district court abused its discretion in denying Appellants' motion to defer the adjudication of a pending motion for summary judgment and proceeding to grant summary judgment.At is on appeal in this dispute that stretched over more than a decade and implicated several lawsuits was whether the district court abused its discretion in denying Appellants' motion for discovery under Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(d) and then granting summary judgment against them. The First Circuit answered the question in the affirmative, holding that the district court abused its discretion in denying Appellants' Rule 56(d) motion in its totality. The Court remanded this case for further proceedings. View "Emigrant Residential LLC v. Pinti" on Justia Law