Justia Real Estate & Property Law Opinion Summaries
Strand v. Velandry
The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court partitioning real property in Kittery held by Toralf Strand and Sabrina Velandry as tenants in common, holding that the court did not err in dividing equally the value of the property after crediting Strand with the amount his spent for insurance, repairs, improvements, and real estate taxes. In 2014, Strand signed a purchase and sale agreement solely in his name to buy the house and included Velandry on the deed as a tenant in common. After the parties separated, Strand filed a complaint for equitable partition of the property pursuant to 14 Me. Rev. Stat. 6051(7). The court awarded Strand the amount his spent on insurance, improvements, repairs, and real estate taxes and then divided the property's remaining appraisal value equally between Strand and Velandry. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding (1) because the court found that Strand did not condition Velandry's interest as a tenant in common on her agreement to pay Strand half of the property's purchase price, the court did not err in applying the presumption of equal ownership and entering judgment accordingly; and (2) the court did not clearly err in disallowing certain of Strand's claimed credits and set-off. View "Strand v. Velandry" on Justia Law
Loeffler v. Bernier
Defendant Paul Bernier appealed two superior court orders granting partial summary judgment to plaintiff Thomas Loeffler, and denying his subsequent motion for reconsideration. The court ruled that defendant was estopped by deed from denying that plaintiff had an implied easement to access a right-of- way located on defendant’s property from a specific point on plaintiff’s property. The court also denied defendant leave to raise new arguments at the reconsideration stage asserting that plaintiff had abandoned any implied easement and, alternatively, that the purpose of any implied easement had been frustrated. Finding no reversible error in the superior court's judgments, the New Hampshire Supreme Court affirmed. View "Loeffler v. Bernier" on Justia Law
Diorio v. Hines Road, LLC
In this property dispute, the Supreme Court affirmed in part and vacated in part the judgment of the superior court granting Defendants' motion for summary judgment based on the ground of prosecutorial immunity, holding that the hearing justice erred in applying prosecutorial immunity to the Building and Zoning Official for the Town of Cumberland (Building Official Hall) and the Town of Cumberland (Town). Plaintiffs sued the Solicitor for the Town of Cumberland (Solicitor Hefner), Building Official Hall, and the Town, claiming negligence, private nuisance, trespass, intentional infliction of emotional distress and seeking declaratory judgment and injunctive relief after Plaintiffs' neighbor prevailed on an action against the Town regarding its agreement with the Town regarding a retaining wall abutting Plaintiffs' property. The hearing justice granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants. The Supreme Court vacated the decision in part, holding (1) Solicitor Hefner was entitled to prosecutorial immunity; (2) Building Official Hall failed to meet his burden of proof as to prosecutorial immunity; and (3) because this Court is vacating the superior court's decision with respect to Building Official Hall, the summary judgment decision with respect to the Town is also vacated. View "Diorio v. Hines Road, LLC" on Justia Law
1077 Madison Street, LLC v. March
The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's multiple orders granting summary judgment in favor of plaintiff and holding Defendant March liable for interest at a default rate of 24 percent per annum dating back to February 1, 2008. In this case, the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Madison Street; the district court's order confirming the interest calculations of the court-appointed referee; and the district court's denial of reconsideration or to adjust its award of per diem interest to Madison Street based on the delayed "entry of judgment." The court considered defendant's remaining arguments and concluded that they were either forfeited or without merit. View "1077 Madison Street, LLC v. March" on Justia Law
Abbott v. North Shores Board of Governors, Inc.
The Court of Chancery granted Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint alleging that North Shores Board of Governors, Inc. (NSBG), a Delaware not-for-profit corporation that represented the homeowners at North Shores, a residential community, had no authority under the governing covenants to charge assessments or expend funds for maintenance of any of the community's recreational facilities and improvements to the community's beach dunes, holding (1) all claims contesting the annual assessments were barred by laches; and (2) all claims contesting the dune project were barred by the clear language of the covenants and the residential community's charter. View "Abbott v. North Shores Board of Governors, Inc." on Justia Law
Merrill v. Valley View Swine, LLC
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court finding that Plaintiffs had a "losing cause of action," concluding that Plaintiffs' claims against Defendants were frivolous, and granting Defendants' motion for costs and expenses, holding that the district court did not err or abuse its discretion. A group of property owners alleged that confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) operated and supported by Defendants amounted to a nuisance. The plaintiffs later dismissed their lawsuit because they failed to exhaust farm mediation and then later refiled. Two of the plaintiffs (together, Plaintiffs), however, voluntarily dismissed their claims a second time, resulting in an adjudication against them on the merits. Defendants sued Plaintiffs seeking costs and expenses pursuant to Iowa Code 657.11(5). The district court granted the motions. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) two voluntary dismissals meant Plaintiffs had "a losing cause of action"; (2) Plaintiffs' claims were frivolous; and (3) the district court's apportionment of costs and expenses was appropriate. View "Merrill v. Valley View Swine, LLC" on Justia Law
Blue Grass Savings Bank v. Community Bank & Trust Co.
The Supreme Court reversed the foreclosure decree entered by the district court giving priority under a future-advances clause to the full amount of credit extended by the first lienholder rather than the maximum amount set forth in the notice provision of the first lienholder's mortgage, holding that the first lienholder's priority was capped at $148,000. A bank made a series of loans to a farmer and obtained a mortgage with a future-advances clause on a farm property. The bank's mortgage contained language stating that the mortgage secured credit in the amount of $148,000. The farmer later took out a loan from a second bank, also secured in part by the same farm property. When the first bank filed a foreclosure proceeding, the parties disputed whether the first bank's lien had priority for all amounts due to the first bank or only up to $148,000. The district court found that the first bank's priority was not limited to $148,000 but extended to all debt secured by the mortgage. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the first bank's priority was capped at $148,000, plus interest; and (2) the first bank was not allowed to collect default interest at eighteen percent as part of its first-priority lien where there was no written agreement to pay that rate. View "Blue Grass Savings Bank v. Community Bank & Trust Co." on Justia Law
Berberich v. Bank of America, N.A.
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court dismissing Appellant's quiet title action under Nev. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(5), holding that the limitations period in Nev. Rev. Stat. 11.080 does not run against an owner who is in undisputed possession of the land, and because the facts alleged did not establish whether or when possession was disturbed here, the complaint was improperly dismissed. Six and one-half years after purchasing property at a homeowners' association foreclosure sale Appellant filed this action seeking a judicial declaration that the foreclosure extinguished the deed of trust that secured the prior homeowner's mortgage. At issue was whether the action was barred by section 11.080 because Appellant had been in possession of the property for more than five years before commencing the quiet title action. The district court concluded that the limitations period in section 11.080 began to run against Appellant when he acquired the property at the foreclosure sale. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that because the district court did not consider the fact that the statute of limitations ran from the time Appellant's ownership or possession of the property was disputed the court erred in granting Respondent's motion to dismiss. View "Berberich v. Bank of America, N.A." on Justia Law
Petro Harvester Operating Co. v. Keith
Defendants own the surface of land sitting atop the property leased by Petro Harvestor. When the lease expired, Petro Harvestor sought a declaratory judgment that it could continue to operate its oil and gas activities on the property. Defendants claimed that the Surface Lease required Petro Harvester to return the surface land to its pre-lease condition upon expiration, requiring that Petro Harvester remove its machinery and vacate the property. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Petro Harvestor, holding that the district court correctly held that the Surface Lease here does not supersede the Mineral Lease; the district court properly rejected defendants' affirmative defenses of waiver, ratification, and estoppel; Mississippi's statute of limitations does not bar Petro Harvester's declaratory judgment action; and defendants waived any argument that there are genuine issues of material fact that preclude summary judgment. View "Petro Harvester Operating Co. v. Keith" on Justia Law
Anaheim Gardens, L.P. v. United States
The 1961 National Housing Act provided financial incentives to private developers to build low-income housing, including below-market mortgages insured by HUD. Participating developers had limited ability to increase rents while HUD insured the mortgage. The mortgage term was 40 years but developers could prepay their mortgages after 20 years and convert to market-rate housing. The 1988-1990 Preservation Statutes eliminated the prepayment option, 12 U.S.C. 4101. The 1996 Housing Opportunity Program Extension Act restored prepayment rights to developers still in the program. Four “first wave plaintiffs” (FWPs) owned their properties before the Preservation Statutes and sold after their enactment, consistent with the 1990 Low-Income Housing Preservation and Resident Homeownership Act (LIHPRHA) to organizations that preserved the rent restrictions. One FWP owned its property before the Preservation Statutes and remained in the program, obtaining HUD financial incentives in exchange for abiding by the restrictions for the property's "remaining useful life.” The final FWP (Casa) purchased its property in 1991 and sold pursuant to LIHPRHA. The FWPs alleged regulatory taking. The Claims Court applied the “Penn Central” three-factor test and rejected the claims on summary judgment. The Federal Circuit affirmed with respect to Casa, a sophisticated investor that voluntarily purchased its property with knowledge that it had no prepayment option and had no reasonable investment-backed expectation. The court otherwise vacated. The character of the governmental action and the investment-backed expectations weighed against summary judgment and the Claims Court did not consider certain genuine issues of fact regarding the calculations of economic impact. View "Anaheim Gardens, L.P. v. United States" on Justia Law