Articles Posted in West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals

by
EB Dorev Holdings, Inc. purchased tax liens on certain properties from Kanawha County. The West Virginia Department of Administration, Real Estate Division (WVDOA) later filed a complaint against EB Dorev and Kanawha county seeking to prevent the issuances of the tax deeds to EB Dorev. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of the WVDOA and voided the sale of the tax liens. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the circuit court erred in ruling that the properties were entered exempt from 2009 real estate taxes upon the WVDOA’s purchase of the properties from private entities in August and September of 2008; but (2) the circuit court’s alternative finding that the tax liens at issue were extinguished through the doctrine of merger was not in error. View "EB Dorev Holdings v. W. Va. Dep't of Admin., Real Estate Div." on Justia Law

by
The Catalanos purchased a parcel of real estate and recorded the deed. Later, the Catalanos sold the property to Raymond Smith, but the deed was never recorded. At the time of the conveyance, the Catalanos’ real property taxes were delinquent. The county sheriff subsequently sold the tax lien, in the name of the Catalanos, to Sunrise Atlantic LLC. Thereafter, by tax deed, the county clerk conveyed the property to Sunrise. The deed was recorded. Sunrise conveyed the property to Harpagon MO, LLC, which conveyed the property to Don Mason. The Masons recorded the deed. Thereafter, the Catalanos filed a complaint asserting that they were not provided with the required notice to redeem the property before the tax deed was delivered to Sunrise. The circuit court invalidated the deeds of the Masons, Harpagon, and Sunrise and restored title to the Catalanos because Sunrise failed to serve the Catalanos with the statutorily required notice. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not err in its judgment. View "Mason v. Smith" on Justia Law

by
The circuit court appointed E.D. to be the guardian and conservator of Respondent, an elderly man with dementia. Acting as Respondent’s conservator, E.D. filed a motion seeking permission to sell two parcels of Respondent’s real property, one in West Virginia and one in Maryland, to pay for Respondent’s living expenses. The circuit court denied E.D.’s motion, concluding (1) the court lacked jurisdiction over the Maryland real estate, and (2) it was not in Respondent’s best interest for the West Virginia property to be sold “at this time.” The Surpeme Court reversed, holding that the circuit court erred in finding it was without jurisdiction to approve the sale of Respondent’s Maryland property and in finding it was not in Respondent’s best interest to sell the West Virginia property. Remanded to the circuit court for entry of an order properly approving the sale of both properties. View "In re Donald M." on Justia Law

by
This case had its origins in a property damage action brought by Jason and Gina Corrick against B&B Transit, Inc. B&B Transit filed a notice and coverage claim with its insurer, Montpelier US Insurance Company. Montpelier eventually settled the case against B&B Transit. While the Corricks’ complaint was still pending, Respondents, including B&B Transit, filed a first-party bad faith claim against Petitioners, including Montpelier and its national coverage counsel, Charlston, Revich & Wollitz (“CRW”). Respondents subsequently served discovery requests on Petitioners. After CRW opposed disclosure of certain requested documents, Respondents filed a motion to compel disclosure of the documents. The circuit court entered an order requiring CRW to disclose certain documents. Petitioners sought a writ of prohibition to prevent enforcement of the circuit court’s discovery order. The Supreme Court granted the writ of prohibition as moulded, concluding that part of the circuit court’s order permitting discovery of documents sought by Respondents was prohibited from enforcement because the documents were protected under the attorney-client privilege. View "State ex rel. Montpelier US Ins. Co. v. Hon. Bloom" on Justia Law

by
The Hegyi Trust filed an action against Dean and Martha Lowe involving certain real property. The Lowes filed a counterclaim against the Trust and a third-party complaint against Joseph and Joyce Richards, seeking to obtain property situated on the border of West Virginia and Virginia. The circuit court dismissed the Lowes’ counterclaim and third-party complaint, concluding (1) the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the Lowes’ claims because they involved a determination of a boundary line between West Virginia and Virginia, and (2) the Lowes failed to join indispensable parties to the litigation - the States of West Virginia and Virginia. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the circuit courts of West Virginia have subject matter jurisdiction to resolve interstate boundary line disputes between private litigants involving the issue of whether real property is located within West Virginia or another state; and (2) the circuit court erred in determining that West Virginia and Virginia were indispensable parties because the rights of neither state would be impaired or impeded by the circuit court’s decision on the merits of the Lowes’ claims. View "Lowe v. Richards" on Justia Law

by
At issue in this case was a retention pond constructed in a subdivision for the purpose of catching water runoff. Patrick and Melinda Sterner, who owned property in the subdivision, contracted with WHR Group (WHR) to handle the sale of their home. Petitioners subsequently entered into a contract to purchase the property. Petitioners later filed an action against WHR, the Sterners, and Sahley Realty Company, the subdivision developer (collectively, Respondents), asserting claims for fraud, constructive fraud, negligence, and breach of implied contract, alleging that a “slip” occurred on the retention bond prior to their purchase of the lot, which allowed the pond to cross the common boundary line onto their property. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of Respondents. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, under the circumstances of this action, the circuit court acted properly in granting Respondents’ motions for summary judgment. View "Dickens v. Sahley Realty Co." on Justia Law

by
Petitioners purchased a house for $234,000. Six months later, the County Assessor appraised the property and found its fair market value was $355,200. The Board of Review upheld the Assessor's valuation. The circuit court affirmed. On appeal, Petitioners asserted that the circuit court erred by failing to apply caselaw holding that the price paid for real estate in a recent arm's length transaction is a substantial indicator of the property's true and actual value and that the purchase of the property was in an arm's length transaction on the open real estate market. The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court's order affirming the Board of Review, holding that the circuit court erred by failing to consider the purchase price of Petitioners' property. Remanded. View "Wright v. Banks" on Justia Law

by
Edwin Miller Investments, LLC ("EMI") owned twelve acres of real estate used to secure a loan from BCBank, which assigned the note and deed of trust to CGP Development Co. ("CGP"). The State became the legal owner of eight acres of EMI's property after it paid $241,000 into court following a condemnation action. EMI defaulted on its loan, and CGP purchased the remaining four acres at a foreclosure sale. The circuit court ordered release of the $241,000 paid into court to CGP in partial satisfaction of CGP's lien. EMI and CGP disagreed as to which party was entitled to additional proceeds paid as damages to the four-acre residue as well as additional sums resulting from the condemnation of the eight acres. The circuit court concluded that CGP was entitled to all of the condemnation proceeds and dismissed EMI from the condemnation proceeding. The Supreme Court (1) affirmed the circuit court's finding that CGP was entitled to all sums awarded for damage to the four-acre residue purchase by CGP; but (2) reversed the circuit court's finding that CPG was entitled to any additional sums resulting from the condemnation of the eight-acre tract and the court's dismissal of EMI from the condemnation proceedings. Remanded. View "Edwin Miller Invs. v. CGP Dev. Co., Inc." on Justia Law

by
In 2006, Respondents obtained an adjustable rate mortgage loan from a mortgage company. Respondents executed a deed of trust on the real property being purchased and separately executed an arbitration rider. Respondents later defaulted on the loan, and Petitioner, which serviced the loan, assessed a number of fees. Respondents filed an action against Petitioner alleging violations of the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act. Petitioner filed a motion to compel arbitration. The circuit court denied the motion, concluding that the arbitration agreement was unenforceable under the Dodd-Frank Act and that it was procedurally and substantively unconscionable. The Supreme Court granted Petitioner's requested writ of prohibition to prevent enforcement of the circuit court's order, holding (1) the Dodd-Frank Act did not apply to the mortgage loan because the loan was executed prior to the Act's enactment; and (2) the arbitration agreement was neither procedurally nor substantively unconscionable. View "State ex rel. Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC v. Circuit Court of Kanawha County" on Justia Law

by
Petitioners and Respondents owned adjoining parcels of property. After the parties purchased their properties, they learned they would be entitled to free gas from a well drilled on a property adjoining Respondents' property. In order to access this gas, Petitioners obtained permission from Respondents to install a gas line across Respondents' property. Several years later, Respondents demanded that Petitioners remove the gas line from their property. Petitioners refused to remove the gas line and filed a civil action seeking injunctive relief. The circuit court ordered Petitioners to remove the gas line, finding that Respondents properly withdrew their permission to cross their property and that Petitioners had no easement or continuing right to cross Respondents' property. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not err in finding (1) Respondents revoked their permission to place a gas line across their property; (2) Petitioners were not entitled to any easement across Respondents' property; and (3) removal of the gas line from Respondents' property was required. View "Wilson v. Staats" on Justia Law