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 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

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The Ninth Circuit filed an order amending its prior opinion, denying panel rehearing, and denying, on behalf of the court, rehearing en banc; and an amended opinion and dissent. The panel reversed the district court's judgment for plaintiffs in an action brought under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), alleging that Fannie Mae falsely communicated to potential mortgage lenders, via its proprietary software, called Desktop Underwriter, that plaintiffs had a prior foreclosure on a mortgage account. The panel held that Fannie Mae is not a consumer reporting agency because, even if it assembles or evaluates consumer information through Desktop Underwriter, it does not do so for the purpose of furnishing consumer reports to third parties. Therefore, the panel held that the district court erred by granting plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment and denying Fannie Mae's cross-motion on this issue. The court also vacated the award of attorney's fees and costs to plaintiffs. View "Zabriskie v. Federal National Mortgage Association" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Chase in an action brought by plaintiff, alleging claims under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA). In a prior appeal, the panel held that plaintiff gave proper, timely notice of rescission and vacated the district court's judgment, remanding for further proceedings. On remand. the district court granted summary judgment on a different ground, holding that plaintiff had no right of rescission. The panel held that the district court properly considered defendants' new argument on remand and properly granted summary judgment, because plaintiff obtained the mortgage in order to reacquire a residential property in which his prior ownership interest had been extinguished. Therefore, the right of rescission did not apply. View "Barnes v. Chase Home Finance, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of claims brought by DaVinci, alleging conversion and other common law torts against the United States and several U.S. Air Force employees. In 2014, the Air Force agents seized ten military GPS antennas from DaVinci, allegedly under the guise of the Espionage Act. DaVinci sought damages under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) and Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). DaVinci alleged abuse of process and conversion claims, arguing that the United States conspired to fraudulently and wrongfully coerce DaVinci to surrender the antennas without due process or just compensation. The panel held that the abuse of process claim was barred by section 2680(c) of the FTCA, because the antennas were not seized "solely" for the purpose of forfeiture. Likewise, the conversion claim failed because it was based on the allegedly illegal seizure of goods. The panel held that DaVinci could proceed in the Court of Federal Claims under the Tucker Act through a takings claim under the Fifth Amendment. In regard to DaVinci's claims against individual defendants, the panel held that DaVinci voluntarily dismissed the case against three individuals and never amended the complaint to include any others. Furthermore, DaVinci's claims against the individual defendants were not part of this appeal. Finally, the district court properly dismissed the Bivens claim against the United States, as the only remaining defendant, based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction. View "DaVinci Aircraft, Inc. v. United States" on Justia Law

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The en banc court stayed proceedings and certified the following question to the Montana Supreme Court: Whether, under Montana law, dinosaur fossils constitute "minerals" for the purpose of a mineral reservation. View "Murray v. BEJ Minerals, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment after the panel certified two questions to the Washington State Supreme Court. The state court held that a priority use provision, an affirmative obligation to maintain and repair, and the ability to lease the property to others together create sufficient control of the property such that a landowner who leases the property is held liable as a premises owner. View "Adamson v. Port of Bellingham" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment for the HOA in an action brought by the bank after the HOA conducted a foreclosure on residential property. Under Nevada law, HOAs are granted a lien with superpriority status on property governed by the association and the portion of the lien with superpriority status consists of the last nine months of unpaid HOA dues and any unpaid maintenance and nuisance abatement charges. Under Bank of America, N.A. v. SFR Invs. Pool 1, LLC, the panel held that the bank's tender of nine months of HOA dues ($423) satisfied the superpriority portion of the HOA's lien. The panel also held that the HOA had no good faith basis for believing that the bank's tender was insufficient. The panel held that Bourne Valley Court Trust v. Wells Fargo Bank, NA, was no longer controlling and rejected the bank's argument that the Nevada HOA lien statute violated the Due Process Clause, in light of SFR Invs. Pool 1, LLC v. Bank of N.Y. Mellon. The panel held that Nev. Rev. Stat. 116.3116 et seq. was not facially unconstitutional on the basis of an impermissible opt-in scheme, and the bank received actual notice in this case. Finally, the panel agreed with Nevada precedent that Nev. Rev. Stat. 116.3116 et seq. was not preempted by the federal mortgage insurance program. View "Bank of America v. Arlington West Twilight Homeowners Assoc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed a federal civil rights action against defendants, alleging numerous federal constitutional violations and a disparate impact claim under the Fair Housing Act. Almost simultaneously, the city filed a nuisance complaint in state court against plaintiffs and the city filed a motion for abstention, or in the alternative, a motion to dismiss the federal action. The county filed a nearly identical motion the next day. The district court granted both the city and the county's motions, concluding that abstention was appropriate under Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971). Determining that it had jurisdiction over the appeal, the Ninth Circuit held that the district court properly abstained under Younger in every aspect, except with respect to the allegedly unreasonable search, which must be severed from the other claims. In this case, Younger abstention was appropriate as to all claims except the unreasonable search claim, because success by plaintiffs on such claims would invalidate the code enforcement proceeding. In regard to the unreasonable search claim, the district court erred in abstaining because the relief sought on alleged Fourth Amendment violations did not meet the Court's requirement that the relief have the practical effect of enjoining the state court proceeding. Accordingly, the panel affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. View "Herrera v. City of Palmdale" on Justia Law