Justia Real Estate & Property Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to Freddie Mac and M&T in a quiet title action over a foreclosed property in Nevada. At issue was whether a first deed of trust in favor of Freddie Mac, which had been placed under the conservatorship of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), survived a non-judicial foreclosure sale of a Nevada residential property to satisfy an HOA superpriority lien. The panel held, and the parties agree, that the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) statute of limitations, 12 U.S.C. 4617(b)(12)(A), controls. The panel held that, under 12 U.S.C. 4617(b)(12), a quiet title action is a "contract" claim that is subject to a statute of limitations of at least six years; Freddie Mac and M&T Bank timely filed their quiet title action within six years of the foreclosure sale; and Freddie Mac's deed of trust, which had been placed under the conservatorship of FHFA, survived a non-judicial foreclosure sale of a Nevada residential property to satisfy a homeowners association superpriority lien. The panel also held that, although Freddie Mac and the Bank were not assignees of the FHFA, Freddie Mac was under the FHFA conservatorship, and the FHFA thus had all the rights of Freddie Mac with respect to its assets. Furthermore, although there was no contract between the purchaser and plaintiffs, the quiet title claims were entirely "dependent" upon Freddie Mac's lien on the property, an interest created by contract. View "M&T Bank v. SFR Investments Pool 1, LLC" on Justia Law

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Citi filed suit against Corte Madera Homeowners Association for wrongful foreclosure, breach of the statutory duty of good faith by Nev. Rev. Stat. 116.1113, and quiet title. Nev. Rev. Stat. 116.3116(1) allows HOAs to pursue liens on members' homes for unpaid assessments and charges. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of defendants. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's ruling regarding the adequacy of the lender's tender, holding that BANA's offer did not constitute valid tender. The panel held that 7510 Perla Del Mar Ave Tr. v. Bank of America, N.A., 458 P.3d 348, 350-51 (Nev. 2020) (en banc) -- which held that a mere offer to pay at a later time, after the superpriority amount was determined, does not constitute a valid tender -- did not alter the validity of Citi's tender because BANA insisted on the same condition that Perla Del Mar prohibited. The panel held that the district court did not err when it concluded that Citi was obligated to satisfy the superpriority portion of the lien in order to protect its interest. Furthermore, the district court did not err by observing that Citi's offer to pay nine months' assessments was not the equivalent of an offer to pay the superpriority portion of Corte Madera's lien. Therefore, in light of Perla Del Mar, the district court did not err by ruling that Citi's tender was impermissibly conditional. The panel rejected Citi's alternative arguments. However, the panel remanded for reconsideration of the complaint's allegation that Corte Madera's foreclosure notices violated the homeowner's bankruptcy stay. View "CitiMortgage, Inc. v. Corte Madera Homeowners Ass'n" on Justia Law

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The en banc court affirmed the district court's order granting summary judgment to plaintiffs and declaring them owners of dinosaur fossils discovered on their ranch. The Montana Supreme Court accepted the en banc court's certification request and answered the certified question, concluding that dinosaur fossils were not within the "ordinary and natural meaning" of "mineral" and, thus, belonged to the surface estate. In this case, because plaintiffs are the undisputed owners of the surface estate, the state court's decision requires a resolution in their favor. View "Murray v. BEJ Minerals, LLC" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed two pre-foreclosure actions against MERS and the banks holding their mortages, challenging their authority to foreclose on plaintiffs' properties. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district courts' dismissal of the complaints for failure to state plausible claims for relief under California law. The panel followed the decisions of the California appellate courts in holding that California law does not permit preemptive actions to challenge a party's authority to pursue foreclosure before a foreclosure has taken place. The panel held that plaintiffs' pre-foreclosure judicial actions preemptively challenging the banks' authority to foreclose on the their properties in the future are not viable under California law. The panel also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying plaintiffs leave to amend where the proposed amendments would not have changed the determination. View "Perez v. Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit certified to the Nevada Supreme Court the following questions: (1) When a lienholder whose lien arises from a mortgage for the purchase of a property brings a claim seeking a declaratory judgment that the lien was not extinguished by a subsequent foreclosure sale of the property, is that claim exempt from statute of limitations under City of Fernley v. Nevada Department of Taxation, 366 P.3d 699 (Nev. 2016)? (2) If the claim described in (1) is subject to a statute of limitations: (a) Which limitations period applies? (b) What causes the limitations period to begin to run? View "U.S. Bank, N.A. v. Thunder Properties, Inc." on Justia Law

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In 2003, Dansker obtained an $83,000 home loan to purchase Las Vegas real estate. In 2009, Dansker died. No probate proceedings were instituted. In 2011, the neighborhood HOA began foreclosure proceedings and sold the property to LN. The priority lien-holder was Fannie Mae and the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The district court held that LN had not identified any legal representative of Dansker’s estate, and since no such person was identified and joined, complete diversity existed. The district court dismissed and denied a motion to substitute Dansker’s daughter. The Ninth Circuit vacated. Diversity did exist at the time of removal. The trial judge did not abuse his discretion by denying a motion to substitute, so diversity jurisdiction continued to exist. The lawsuit was against Chase and Dansker. Dansker, being dead, had no legal existence, and, therefore, was not a citizen of any state. Jurisdiction exists where the federal entity is not the record beneficiary on the deed of trust but can prove its property interest through admissible evidence. The Federal Foreclosure Bar, which provides that FHFA's property shall not be subject to foreclosure without FHFA's consent, applies and is fatal to LN’s case on the merits. View "LN Management, LLC Series 5664 Divot V. JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A." on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of a 42 U.S.C. 1983 petition raising an as-applied challenge to the Expedited Conversion Program. The Program allows property owners to convert their tenancy-in-common properties into condominium properties on the condition that the owners agree to offer any existing tenants lifetime leases in units within the converted property. The panel held that plaintiffs' takings challenge was unripe, because plaintiffs did not ask the City for an exemption from the lifetime lease requirement, and thus failed to satisfy the separate finality requirement in Williamson County Regional Planning Commission v. Hamilton Bank of Johnson City, 473 U.S. 172 (1985). The finality requirement survived Knick v. Township of Scott, 139 S. Ct. 2162 (2019), and consequently continues to be a requirement for bringing regulatory takings claims such as plaintiffs' in federal court. Furthermore, plaintiffs knowingly waived their right to seek an exemption and their arguments to the contrary were unpersuasive. View "Pakdel v. City and County of San Francisco" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's interlocutory orders denying BNSF's motion for summary judgment on the Tribe's claim that BNSF violated a right-of-way and easement agreement limiting train traffic across the Tribe's reservation. The panel affirmed the district court's judgment, holding that the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act (ICCTA) does not repeal the Indian Right of Way Act and does not defeat the Tribe's right to enforce conditions in a right-of-way easement agreement issued pursuant to the Right of Way Act; the ICCTA does not abrogate the Treaty of Point Elliott and the Tribe's treaty-based federal common law right to exclude and condition a third-party's presence on, and use of, Reservation lands; and the Tribe has the right to pursue injunctive relief to enforce the terms of the Easement Agreement. The panel remanded for further proceedings. View "Swinomish Indian Tribal Community v. BNSF Railway Co." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, Bridge Aina Le'a, filed suit challenging the Commission's 2011 reversion of land on the island of Hawaii from a conditional urban land use classification to the prior agricultural use classification. The reversion came after twenty-two years during which various landowners made unfulfilled development representations to the Commission to obtain and maintain the land's urban use classification. The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's denial of the state's motion for judgment as a matter of law (JMOL), because the evidence did not establish an unconstitutional regulatory taking under either Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council, 505 U.S. 1003 (1992), and Penn Central Transportation Co. v. City of New York, 438 U.S. 104 (1978). Accordingly, the panel vacated the judgment for plaintiff and the nominal damages award, remanding with instructions for the district court to enter judgment for the state. The panel affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's equal protection claim, holding that issue preclusion barred plaintiff from litigating the claim. View "Bridge Aina Le'a, LLC v. Hawaii Land Use Commission" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of a Truth in Lending Act (TILA) claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction based on the jurisdiction-stripping provisions of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act (FIRREA). In this case, plaintiff sought rescission of a mortgage loan under TILA, claiming that the lender provided him with defective notice of the right to cancel when the loan was signed. The panel held that FIRREA's administrative exhaustion requirement applied, and plaintiff had a claim under FIRREA because his cause of action gave right to an equitable remedy of rescission and was susceptible of resolution by FIRREA's claims process. The panel agreed with the Fourth Circuit and concluded that there was no requirement that the loan have passed through an FDIC receivership. The panel also held that plaintiff's claim related to an act or omission, the lender failed to comply with TILA, and the FDIC was appointed as receiver. However, the panel held that plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies with the FDIC because his complaint included no allegations that he presented his TILA claim to the FDIC before filing suit. Furthermore, because subject matter jurisdiction was lacking when this action was filed, plaintiff's later communications with the FDIC did not prevent dismissal of his TILA claim. Finally, the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying plaintiff’s request for further discovery. View "Shaw v. Bank of America Corp." on Justia Law