Articles Posted in Real Estate & Property Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit seeking to move or extend the Brick-Kiln Dock to improve its accessibility. Plaintiffs argued that the deed by which plaintiffs conveyed the island property to the government and reserved the right to continue to use the dock permitted them to relocate the dock. Alternatively, plaintiffs contend that the Park Service's denial of permission to relocate or extend the dock was arbitrary and capricious. The court affirmed the district court's determination that, under the plain language of the deed, plaintiffs have no reserved right to unilaterally relocate or extend the dock. The court also concluded that the Park Service's denial of permission to relocate or extend the Dock was not arbitrary or capricious and did not exceed its authority. In this case, the Wilderness Act, 16 U.S.C. 1131(a), foreclosed relocation of the Dock, and the Park Service was authorized to regulate the marshlands. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "High Point, LLLP v. National Park Service" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff purchased a luxury yacht from Seller, the yacht was manufactured by Horizon and its wholly-owned subsidiary Premier in Taiwan, Horizon and Premier are Taiwanese companies, and Seller is an independent U.S. corporation based in Florida. Plaintiff filed suit, alleging ten claims related to the purchase of the yacht. The district court entered summary judgment for defendants on all but two claims: the breach of express warranty claims against Horizon and Premier; entered summary judgment for Seller on its counterclaim to foreclose on the promissory note; and certified the judgment as a partial final judgment for interlocutory review. On appeal, plaintiff challenged the entry of summary judgment as to: (1) the fraudulent inducement claims against all three defendants (Count I); (2) the breach of implied warranty claims against all three defendants (Counts III, IV, and VII); and (3) the breach of express warranty claim against Seller, Horizon Yachts, Inc. (Count VIII). The court vacated the district court's grant of summary judgment as to Counts I, III, IV, VII, and VIII and remanded for trial; affirmed the grant of summary judgment as to the remaining claims; and reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment on defendants' counterclaim. View "Global Quest v. Horizon Yachts" on Justia Law

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In 2009, the SEC initiated the Nadel action following the collapse of a Ponzi scheme perpetrated by Arthur Nadel. In 2010, the district court entered an order establishing a claims administration process by which potential claimants could file proof of their claims against the receivership. Wells Fargo submitted a Proof of Claim as to its loan that secured one receivership property within the set claim bar date, but did not submit a Proof of Claim detailing its secured interest in the other two receivership properties. In 2012, Wells Fargo submitted a motion seeking a determination that the filing of Proofs of Claim was unnecessary to preserve its security interests in, and claims against, collateral in the Receiver's possession. In the alternative, Wells Fargo sought leave to file belated claims. The district court granted the Receiver's motion seeking a determination that Wells Fargo's failure to submit Proofs of Claim for the loans secured by two properties extinguished its interests in those properties, and the release of the proceeds from the sale of one of the properties for which Wells Fargo did not file a Proof of Claim. Determining that Wells Fargo's appeal was timely, the court concluded that the district court erred when it terminated Wells Fargo's security interest in the properties at issue. The court found bankruptcy law was both analogous and instructive here. The court reasoned that, in the bankruptcy context, a secured creditor’s lien remains intact through the bankruptcy, regardless of whether the creditor files a proof of claim. In this case, the court concluded that Wells Fargo's security interests remained intact as to the two properties for which it did not file a Proof of Claim in the district court. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded. View "SEC v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit against defendants, alleging that the five letters sent to them between May 16 and December 13, 2013 violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. 1692 et seq., and/or the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA), Fla. Stat. 559.55 et seq. The district court granted summary judgment to defendants. The court concluded, however, that the district court erred in concluding that the HOA fine at issue is not a debt for FCCPA purposes and granting summary judgment on that basis. The court did not decide whether under Florida law Marbella could be vicariously liable for the FCCPA violations of its agent because the district court failed to apply Florida law in the first instance. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court’s grant of summary judgment to Affinity, vacated the grant of summary judgment to Marbella, and remanded to the district court for further proceedings. View "Agrelo v. The Meloni Law Firm" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, a marine salvor, filed this action in rem against the Blacksheep, seeking a salvage award for services he provided to the yacht. The district court entered judgment against plaintiff, finding that he failed to show that his services were necessary to the rescue of the Blacksheep. The court concluded, however, that a claim for a salvage award does not require such a showing. In this case, the district court's findings and some facts from the record could support the conclusion that plaintiff's action contributed to saving the Blacksheep where he deployed his high-capacity dewatering pump; dove below the ship where he successfully pushed the propeller shaft twelve inches closer to its intended position; and applied packing material to prevent further flooding. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Girard v. M/V "Blacksheep"" on Justia Law

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Under Regulation X, 12 C.F. R. part 1024, which implements the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), 12 U.S.C. 2601 et seq., a loan servicer’s duty to evaluate a borrower’s loss mitigation application is triggered only when the borrower submits the application more than 37 days before the foreclosure sale. At issue is whether Ocwen, a loan servicer, had a duty to evaluate an application for loss mitigation options submitted by the Borrowers when, at the time the application was submitted, a foreclosure sale of the Borrowers’ property was scheduled to occur in two days. The court concluded that Regulation X requires the court to measure the timeliness of the Borrowers’ application using the date the foreclosure sale was scheduled to occur when they submitted their complete application. Because the Borrowers’ application was untimely, the court agreed with the district court that Ocwen had no duty to evaluate the Borrowers’ loss mitigation application. Therefore, the court affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment to Ocwen on the Borrowers’ claim seeking to hold Ocwen liable for failing to evaluate their loss mitigation application. The court also affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment with respect to the Borrowers’ claim based on Ocwen’s inadequate response to their notice of error. The court agreed with the district court that to survive summary judgment the Borrowers had to present evidence that they suffered actual damages or were entitled to statutory damages and that they failed to do so. View "Lage v. Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC" on Justia Law

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New York law required CitiMortgage to file within 30 days a certificate of discharge with the county clerk to record that plaintiff had satisfied his mortgage. N.Y. Real Prop. Law 275; N.Y. Real Prop. Acts. Law 1921. When CitiMortgage failed to record the satisfaction of the mortgage until more than 90 days after the date of satisfaction, plaintiff filed a putative class action against CitiMortgage. The district court dismissed plaintiff's complaint. The court agreed with CitiMortgage that plaintiff lacks standing to maintain this action. The court dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction because plaintiff has not alleged that CitiMortgage's violation of New York law caused or could cause him any harm. View "Nicklaw v. CitiMortgage, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, a retired bank manager, filed suit against Nationstar under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), 12 U.S.C. 2601 et seq., a consumer-protection statute geared toward mortgagors. Plaintiff claimed that her mortgage payment incorrectly increased after Nationstar began servicing the loan. The district court granted Nationstar's motion to dismiss. The court concluded that plaintiff has plausibly alleged that Nationstar did not offer a written explanation stating the reason or reasons for its determination, in violation of section 2605(e)(2)(B) and 12 C.F.R. 1024.35(e)(1)(i)(B); that this failure indicated Nationstar's investigation was unreasonable; and that Nationstar’s unreasonable investigation prevented it from discovering and appropriately correcting the account error. The court concluded that the district court improperly elevated Nationstar's allegations over those of plaintiff at the motion-to-dismiss stage, and that plaintiff adequately pleaded damages. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded. View "Renfroe v. Nationstar Mortg., LLC" on Justia Law

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FEB filed suit against the government seeking to quiet title to a spoil island off Key West, known as Wisteria Island. Wisteria Island was formed as a result of the Navy's dredging operations. In this case, it is undisputed that the state of Florida, F.E.B.’s predecessor in interest, had actual knowledge of the United States’ claim to the island in 1951. F.E.B.'s Quiet Title Act (QTA), 28 U.S.C. 2409a(g), claim expired in 1963, well before initiation of this suit. The court concluded that the Submerged Lands Act (SLA), 43 U.S.C. 1301-1315, does not rise to the level of the “clear and unequivocal” abandonment of the government’s interest in Wisteria Island necessary to reset the QTA statute of limitations. The court found F.E.B.'s arguments to the contrary unpersuasive. Therefore, the court found that the QTA's statute of limitations has run and affirmed the district court's dismissal based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction. View "F.E.B. Corp. v. United States" on Justia Law

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The issue this case presented for the Eleventh Circuit's review centered on an insurance-coverage dispute that began in 2011 between Severin and Stephanie Hegel and The First Liberty Insurance Corporation. The Hegels claimed that First Liberty improperly denied their claim for a "sinkhole loss," defined under their homeowner's insurance policy as "structural damage to the building, including the foundation, caused by sinkhole activity." First Liberty argued that the damage to the Hegels' residence did not qualify as "structural damage," a term that was not defined in either the policy or the version of the Florida sinkhole-insurance statute applicable to their claim. The the district court granted summary judgment for the Hegels, finding that "structural damage" meant any "damage to the structure" and awarded them $166,518.17 in damages. First Liberty appealed. After review, the Eleventh Circuit reversed and remanded: the district court erred in equating the contractual term "structural damage" with any "damage to the structure." The case was remanded for further proceedings on whether there was a genuine dispute of material fact regarding how much, if any, structural damage to the Hegels' house (as properly defined) was due to sinkhole activity. The district court's determination on this issue will in turn lead to either a new grant of summary judgment for the appropriate party or to a trial on the merits. View "Hegel v. First Liberty Ins. Corp." on Justia Law