Justia Real Estate & Property Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Wyoming Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court affirming the judgment of the Board of County Commissioners of Park County approving Trial County Telephone Association, Inc.'s (TCT) application for a special use permit to construct a 150-foot broadband communications tower in Park County, holding that the Board did not arbitrarily or capriciously in approving the application.Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) the Board had a rational basis to conclude that the proposed was not oversized, and therefore, the Board's approval of TCT's application did not violate Park County development regulations; and (2) the Park County regulations did not require the Board to consider alternative sites for a project before approving a special use permit, and it therefore did not act arbitrarily or capriciously in approving the application without considering alternative locations for the proposed tower. View "Jolovich v. Board of County Commissioners of Park County" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court denying Robert Gill's motion to enforce a judgment confirming arbitration awards entered against Elizabeth Lockhart, holding that there was no error in the proceedings below.Siblings Robert Gill and Lockhart were the beneficiaries of a trust that owned land in Teton County. The trust decided to use the land to create a subdivision. This case concerned an arbitration award contained in an order covering the parties' rights and obligations regarding the subdivision. Gill successfully filed a petition asking the district court to confirm two of the arbitration awards. Thereafter, Gill filed his motion to enforce the judgment. The district court denied the motion, finding that Gill failed to prove some of his damages. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion by not allowing Defendant to present certain evidence either at the evidentiary hearing or after the district court announced its oral ruling. View "Gill v. Lockhart" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court ruling that pursuant to the doctrine of merger, the parties in this case held certain property as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, holding that the district court reached the correct result.Julie Ann Bell and her longterm romantic partner, Patrick Dominick, owned property together. After Bell died, the executor for her estate brought this action claiming that the parties held the property as tenants in common. Dominick answered, alleging that he and Bell took title as joint tenants with rights of survivorship. The district court granted judgment in favor of Dominick. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court correctly held that Bell and Dominick held the property as joint tenants with rights of survivorship. View "CIBC National Trust Co. v. Dominick" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court in this dispute about who owned an undeveloped .53-acre parcel in Teton Village and whether it should be sold or conserved, holding that there was no reversible error.Many different parties in this case asserted different ownership theories as to the parcel at issue, depending on which entity they claimed to derive their interest from. The district court had issued several summary judgment orders and related rulings, which the Supreme Court affirmed. At issue in these cross-appeals was whether the receivership order pertaining to a 2006 LLC was an appealable order. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) laches barred Tram Tower Townhouse Association's claim that a 1998 conveyance was unlawful, and therefore, the Association could not challenge the later-issued receivership order; and (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion by failing to order the receiver to maintain the 2006 LLC as a going concern. View "Dvorson v. Weiner" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court dismissing Appellants' petition for review of a decision of the Board of County Commissioners, Lincoln County under Wyo. R. App. P. 12 and Wyo. Stat. Ann. 16-3-114, holding that the district court abused its discretion by sanctioning Appellants with dismissal of their petition for review.The district court dismissed Appellants' petition, determining that Wyo. R. App. P. 2.06 required a transcript to be filed within sixty days of the filing of the petition for review of agency action and that no transcript was filed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the district court misstated and misapplied Rule 2.06; (2) the Board failed to transmit the record as required by Rule 12.07; and (3) because the Board, not Appellants, had the responsibility to transmit the entire record to the district court, the court abused its discretion by dismissing the action. View "Depiero v. Board of County Commissioners, Lincoln County" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court dividing the marital property of Husband and Wife, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in its division of marital property.After a bench trial, the district court entered a decree of divorce that resolved credibility issues against Husband and awarded an equalization payment to Wife. Husband appealed, arguing that the property division and equalization payment were unfairly punitive. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in the manner in which it disposed of the marital property at issue in this case. View "Morrison v. Rubio" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of the Board of County Commissioners of Laramie County and Laramie County Assessor Kenneth Guille (collectively, the County) and concluding that the durational residency requirement in Wyo. Stat. Ann. 39-13-105(a)(vi) is constitutional, holding that there was no error.Section 39-13-105(a)(vi) grants qualified veterans an annual property tax exemption if they have been Wyoming residents for at least three years. Plaintiff brought this action seeking a declaration that the durational residency requirement for the veteran tax exemption is unconstitutional. The district court granted summary judgment for the County. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) section 39-13-105(a)(vi) does not infringe on Plaintiff's fundamental right to travel, and therefore, the rational basis test applies; and (2) the statute does not violate either the equal protection and privileges and immunities clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment or the constitutional right to interstate travel. View "Martin v. Board of County Commissioners of Laramie County" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court denying Appellant's motion to dismiss the State's complaint seeking the forfeiture of currency the State seized from him, holding that the district court had subject matter jurisdiction over the State's forfeiture complaint.In his motion to dismiss, Appellant asserted that the circuit court had exclusive jurisdiction over the action because the amount of currency seized was less than $50,000. The district court denied the motion, finding that Wyo. Stat. 35-7-1049, the forfeiture statute, vested exclusive jurisdiction in district courts. The Supreme Court affirmed on different grounds, holding (1) the forfeiture statute does not grant exclusive jurisdiction over forfeiture actions to district courts; and (2) district courts have general jurisdiction over civil forfeiture proceedings. View "Orosco v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court concluding that the lease of property in this case did not violate Appellants' first refusal to purchase the property, holding that the district court did not err.John and Melanie Lennon leased property owned by the Larry Lee Luckinbill Living Trust for a 125-year term. Thereafter, Appellants - Anne Holding and the Crandall Creek Ranch Company - brought suit against the Lennons and the trust's trustee, seeking a declaratory judgment stating that the lease violated their right of first refusal. The district court concluded that the right of first refusal remained in effect but that the lease did not trigger that right. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the lease did not trigger Appellants' right of first refusal. View "Holding v. Luckinbill" on Justia Law

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In this property dispute, the Supreme Court reversed in part the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment to the Hogback Ranches Property Owners Improvement and Service District (HRISD) on the issue of whether HRISD violated the Hoback Ranches subdivision's protective covenants by installing wire fencing around the subdivision's perimeter and otherwise affirmed, holding that the district court erred in part.Plaintiffs, who resided in the subdivision, brought suit against HRISD and their neighbor, Michael Jerup, alleging, inter alia, that HRISD violated the subdivision’s protective covenants with its perimeter fence and that Jerup violated the covenants by conducting commercial activity on his property. HRISD and Jerup counterclaimed, alleging that Plaintiffs violated the protective covenants by installing wood posts set in concrete. The district court (1) granted summary judgment to HRISD on Plaintiffs' claims; (2) granted summary judgment to HRISD and Jerup on their counterclaim; and (3) entered judgment for Jerup on Plaintiffs' claim. The Supreme Court reversed the district court's summary judgment to HRISD on the perimeter fence issue and otherwise affirmed, holding that the district court erred in deciding that a buck and pole fence covenant did not apply to the subdivision's perimeter fence. View "Winney v. Hoback Ranches Property Owners Improvement & Service District" on Justia Law