Justia Real Estate & Property Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
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The Nation and some of its officials filed suit against the Village of Union Springs and certain of its officials, seeking a declaratory judgment that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) preempts the Village's ordinance regulating gambling as applied to the Nation's operation of a bingo parlor on a parcel of land located within both the Village and the Nation's federal reservation, and for corresponding injunctive relief.The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the Nation, agreeing with the district court that neither issue nor claim preclusion bars this suit and that IGRA preempts contrary Village law because the parcel of land at issue sits on "Indian lands" within the meaning of that Act. View "Cayuga Nation v. Tanner" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed a putative class action challenging New York City's Third Party Transfer (TPT) Program, through which the City initiates in rem foreclosure proceedings against tax-delinquent properties and, following a foreclosure judgment, transfers ownership of the properties to third party partners who develop and manage the properties. Plaintiffs alleged federal constitutional and state law claims stemming from the transfer of their properties through the TPT. The district court dismissed the complaint.The Second Circuit concluded that plaintiffs lack standing to seek injunctive and declaratory relief; the TIA is not directly applicable to plaintiffs' claims and the district court exceeded its discretion in concluding that comity bars their claims; and the Rooker-Feldman doctrine does not bar plaintiffs' equal protection and due process claims, or their second takings claim – that their property was taken for a public purpose without just compensation – to the extent that for each of those claims, they seek only the value of their lost property in excess of the amount owed in taxes. Accordingly, the court reversed in part, affirmed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. The court also vacated and remanded the district court's decision not to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiffs' state law claims. View "Dorce v. City of New York" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's order adopting the Report and Recommendation of the magistrate judge and granting summary judgment in favor of CIT Bank N.A. in a foreclosure action against defendants. On appeal, plaintiffs argue that CIT failed to prove compliance with the pre-foreclosure notice requirements of New York Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law (RPAPL) 1304 and the pre-foreclosure filing requirements of RPAPL section 1306.After receiving guidance from the New York Court of Appeals on the issues of state law that govern defendants' arguments, the court found that CIT has adequately proven compliance with RPAPL 1304 and 1306. The court held that defendants have not rebutted the presumption that CIT mailed, and that they received, the required section 1304 notices. The court also held that, because there is no dispute that CIT timely submitted a section 1306 filing with all the required information about one defendant, the wife, it has complied with the statute. The court explained that the fact that CIT did not submit a filing with respect to the husband is irrelevant, as CIT was not required to do so. View "CIT Bank N.A. v. Schiffman" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's order denying the Bank's motion for judgment on the pleadings. The court held that state legislatures may create legally protected interests whose violation supports Article III standing, subject to certain federal limitations. The court also decided that the New York law violations alleged here constitute a concrete and particularized harm to plaintiffs in the form of both reputational injury and limitations in borrowing capacity over the nearly ten-month period during which their mortgage discharge was unlawfully not recorded and in which the Bank allowed the public record to reflect, falsely, that plaintiffs had an outstanding debt of over $50,000.The court further concluded that the Bank's failure to record plaintiffs' mortgage discharge created a material risk of concrete and particularized harm to plaintiffs by providing a basis for an unfavorable credit rating and reduced borrowing capacity. The court explained that these risks and interests, in addition to that of clouded title, which an ordinary mortgagor would have suffered (but plaintiffs did not), are similar to those protected by traditional actions at law. Therefore, plaintiffs have Article III standing and they may pursue their claims for the statutory penalties imposed by the New York Legislature, as well as other relief. Accordingly, the court affirmed and remanded. View "Maddox v. Bank of New York Mellon Trust Co." on Justia Law

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In this Fair Housing Act of 1968 case, plaintiff's claims stemmed from his neighbor's verbal attacks and attempted intimidation of plaintiff based on his race. The principal question presented to the en banc court is whether a plaintiff states a claim under the Act and parallel state statutes for intentional discrimination by alleging that his landlord failed to respond to reported race-based harassment by a fellow tenant.The en banc court concluded that landlords cannot be presumed to have the degree of control over tenants that would be necessary to impose liability under the FHA for tenant-on-tenant misconduct. In this case, plaintiff failed to state a claim that the KPM Defendants intentionally discriminated against him on the basis of race in violation of the FHA, Sections 1981 and 1982, or the New York State Human Rights Law. Furthermore, plaintiff failed to state a claim of negligent infliction of emotional distress against the KPM Defendants under New York law. View "Francis v. Kings Park Manor, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Government seeks forfeiture of the Building, as well as other assets owned by claimants. The parties subsequently cross-appeal the district court's order determining that the Government had probable cause to forfeit the Building and granting the motion of claimants to modify a protective order by releasing to them a portion of the rental income generated from the Building.The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's finding of probable cause where the district court described at length the non-tainted evidence on which it relied to find probable cause, and the district court did not refuse to consider claimants' statute-of-limitations defense. The district court also did not commit reversible error by concluding that, at this stage, claimants' statute of limitations defense did not defeat a probable cause finding. Finally, the court found no abuse of discretion where the district court declined to draw an adverse inference against the Government for failing to produce statute-of-limitations discovery following the court's 2016 and 2019 opinions requiring it to do so. However, the court concluded that the return-of-rents remedy is appropriate here and modified the district court's order releasing the rental income to cover rental income generated from January 5, 2018, until October 13, 2020. View "In Re: 650 Fifth Avenue Co. & Related Properties" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment affirming the bankruptcy court's order granting debtor's motion to avoid a judicial lien. Debtor seeks, pursuant to 11 U.S.C. 522(d)(1) and (f)(1)(A), to exempt her interest in, and avoid a judicial lien upon, a property that her dependent son uses as a non-primary residence.The court held that the term "residence" in the so-called homestead exemption of section 522(d)(1) includes both primary and nonprimary residences. In this case, the ordinary meaning of the word "residence" does not exclude non-primary residences. Furthermore, Congress's deliberate choice of terminology, the text of the statute, and the legislative history weigh in favor of the court's conclusion. View "Donovan v. Maresca" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of the Oneida Indian Nation of New York's motion for judgment on the pleadings for its claims asserting a tribal right to possession of land under the Indian Commerce Clause (ICC), federal treaties and statutes, and federal common law. This action arose from a disputed tract of 19.6 acres of land in the Town of Vernon in Oneida County, New York, over which both the Nation and defendant assert ownership.The court granted the district court's decision and order granting the Nation's motion to dismiss defendant's counterclaim. The court held that: (1) the district court correctly granted the Nation's motion for judgment on the pleadings because title was not properly transferred to defendant, and defendant's defenses do not raise any issues of material fact that would preclude the requested declaratory and injunctive relief sought by the Nation; and (2) the district court did not err by declining to apply an immovable property exception to tribal sovereign immunity in dismissing defendant's counterclaim. View "Oneida Indian Nation v. Phillips" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for the Cayuga Indian Nation of New York and the district court's permanent injunction enjoining the County from foreclosing on the Cayuga Indian Nation's real property for nonpayment of taxes. The court agreed with the district court that tribal sovereign immunity from suit bars the County from pursuing tax enforcement actions under Article 11 of the New York Real Property Tax Law against the Cayuga Indian Nation. The court explained that the County's foreclosure proceedings are not permitted by the traditional common law exception to sovereign immunity that covers certain actions related to immovable property. In this case, the foreclosure actions fall outside the purview of the common law version of the immovable-property exception. The court also rejected the County's reading of City of Sherrill v. Oneida Indian Nation of New York, 544 U.S. 197 (2005), as abrogating a tribe's immunity from suit. View "Cayuga Indian Nation of New York v. Seneca County" on Justia Law

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This case arose from defendants' ownership in a manufacturing facility that used and disposed perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) which contaminated the water supply in the Village of Hoosick Falls, New York. Plaintiff, a construction company operating in the Village and the property owner, filed suit alleging property damage resulting from defendants' negligence in using and disposing of PFOA. On appeal, defendant challenged the district court's denial of defendants' motion under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) to dismiss the claims that defendants' negligence caused the corporate plaintiff to lose revenues and caused the individual plaintiff to suffer devaluation of his land.The Second Circuit held that the district court properly denied the motion to dismiss the claim of the property owner but erred in denying the motion to dismiss the claim of the company. The court saw no error in the district court's conclusion that the principle of 532 Madison Ave. Gourmet Foods, Inc. v. Finlandia Center, Inc., 96 N.Y.2d 8 280, 727 N.Y.S.2d 49 (2001), is inapposite to the claim of the owner, because he alleged physical contamination of his property, and thus is entitled to seek damages not only for that intrusion but also for the diminution in value of the property. Therefore, the motion to dismiss the owner's negligence claim was properly denied. However, the company's negligence claim to recover its purely economic damages should have been dismissed. The court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding that the remaining claims lacked merit. View "R.M. Bacon, LLC v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp." on Justia Law