Marina Pac. Homeowners Ass’n v. So. Cal. Fin. Corp.

Marina Pacifica was built on Long Beach waterfront land owned by McGrath and leased to the limited partnership (LP) in the 1970s. The ground lease was subdivided into 570 leases, one for each condominium unit. When LP sold a unit, it assigned the unit lease to the purchaser. The leases required owners to pay monthly rent to McGrath and an “assignment fee” to LP. Both payments were nominal ($15) until 2006, when they would be recalculated so that together, they would equal 10 percent of the value of the underlying land. In 1999, the Homeowners Association purchased the underlying land from McGrath for $17 million. Each owner paid a pro rata share. Owners no longer pay rent. The HOA attempted to buy out the assignment fee before the 2006 adjustment. In 2000, it purchased the interests of two limited partners (56.25 percent) for $5 million. It was unable to reach agreement with Lansdale to buy his 43.75 percent interest. Litigation resulted in a finding that the land’s fair market value was $60,615,500. The HOA instructed owners not to pay and filed suit, alleging that the assignment fee is invalid or overstated, and that the purchase of the underlying land extinguished the lease. The court of appeal reversed a holding that the assignment fee was an invalid transfer fee after December 31, 2008, under Civil Code 1098 and 1098.5 and directed the court to enter judgment for the HOA on contract claims.View "Marina Pac. Homeowners Ass'n v. So. Cal. Fin. Corp." on Justia Law

Biafora v. United States

In the 1950s and ’60s, to encourage private developers to construct, own, and manage housing projects for low- and moderate-income families, the government insured mortgages on those projects in exchange for provisions, such as a 40-year mortgage term, an agreement to maintain affordability restrictions for the duration of the mortgage, and prepayment limitations or prohibitions. The Emergency Low Income Housing Preservation Act of 1987 and the Low-Income Housing Preservation and Resident Homeownership Act of 1990 instituted a process to request the right to prepay mortgages. There were substantive restrictions on HUD granting prepayment requests, limiting its discretion, 12 U.S.C. 4108(a)). Prepayment is one step toward renting at market prices. The Acts permit HUD to grant incentives rather than permission to prepay. Owners claimed that the Acts constituted an as-applied taking. The Claims Court granted the government’s motions: for summary judgment that the takings claims for some properties were unripe for failure to exhaust administrative remedies; for summary judgment that no taking occurred for properties for which mortgages did not include a prepayment right; and for summary judgment of collateral estoppel as to one owner. The Federal Circuit affirmed as to ripeness and prepayment, but reversed as to collateral estoppel.View "Biafora v. United States" on Justia Law

Canal/Claiborne Ltd. v. Stonehedge Development, LLC

Canal/Claiborne, Limited owned property located at 1661 Canal Street in New Orleans. In January 1995, Canal/Claiborne entered into a lease with Stonehedge Development, L.L.C. Stonehedge entered into a sublease in June 1995 with the State of Louisiana, Department of Children and Family Services. The Department occupied the premises, remitting monthly rent payments of about $53,000.00 to Stonehedge, which in turn remitted monthly payments of about $36,000.00 to Canal/Claiborne until Hurricane Katrina struck the city in 2005. Following Katrina, the Department failed to remove its partially damaged movable property from the premises of the plaintiff’s building. During this time, the Department also failed to remit rental payments to Stonehedge. Canal/Claiborne sought remuneration for lost rental income. The issue presented in this case was whether Canal/Claiborne's quasi-contractual claim of unjust enrichment, based on the lost rental income, fell within the scope of that waiver of sovereign immunity. The Supreme Court concluded that the unjust enrichment claim did not fall within the scope of the waiver of sovereign immunity in contract or tort. Furthermore, the Court also found Canal/Claiborne's suit asserting a claim of unjust enrichment had not been otherwise permitted by the legislature in a “measure authorizing … immunity from suit and liability.”View "Canal/Claiborne Ltd. v. Stonehedge Development, LLC" on Justia Law

Black v. Justice of the Peace Court 13, et al.

In late 2013, when Paul Taylor filed a complaint seeking back rent and possession of a home he rented to James David and Elisabeth Black. Justice of the Peace Court 13 ordered an expedited summary possession trial under 25 Del. C. 5115. The Blacks appealed a Superior Court order denying their petition for a writ of certiorari, arguing that Justice of the Peace Court 13 proceeded contrary to law and denied the Blacks due process of law when it issued a forthwith summons under 25 Del. C. 5115 absent satisfaction of the statutory requirements for issuance of that summons. Furthermore, the Blacks argued the record showed that Justice of the Peace Court 13 proceeded irregularly because it created no record regarding the basis for its issuance of the forthwith summons. The Supreme Court concluded that both of the Blacks’ contentions were meritorious, and reversed the Superior Court. The case was remanded for further proceedings.View "Black v. Justice of the Peace Court 13, et al." on Justia Law

Whitaker v. Milwaukee Cnty.

Whitaker, formerly employed by Milwaukee County, alleged that she was discriminated against in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. 12101 when the county failed to accommodate her disability by refusing to extend her period of medical leave, refusing to transfer her to another position, and then terminating her for reasons related to her disability. The district court granted the County summary judgment. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, upholding the district court’s conclusion that the complaint impermissibly went beyond the scope of the EEOC charge and that the County was not her “employer” under the statute. Although Milwaukee County was Whitaker’s official employer and was responsible for her compensation, it had no involvement in the principal decisions that she claims violated the statute and no authority to override those decisions, made by the State Department of Health Services. With respect to whether the County is liable for any of its own actions,. Whitaker’s allegations on these matters were outside the scope of her EEOC charge, and, therefore, not subject to judicial consideration.View "Whitaker v. Milwaukee Cnty." on Justia Law

Ben-Shahar v. Pickart

After defendants purchased the building where plaintiff was living in a rent-controlled apartment, defendants served plaintiff with a 60-day notice to quit. Plaintiff subsequently initiated unlawful detainer proceedings against defendants and then filed a complaint alleging several state claims. Plaintiff sought an order restoring him to his apartment, restitution, damages, and attorney fees. On appeal, defendants challenged the trial court's denial of their Code of Civil Procedure section 426.16 special motion to strike plaintiff's first amended complaint because their conduct was protected litigation activity. Plaintiff cross-appealed the trial court's denial of his request for attorney fees in defending the motion. The court affirmed the denial of defendant's motion to strike where plaintiff's complaint was not directed at protected activity. However, the court reversed the denial of attorney fees and remanded for further proceedings to determine whether defendants' motion was frivolous, whether plaintiff is entitled to attorney fees and if so, the amount of such fees.View "Ben-Shahar v. Pickart" on Justia Law

Borden v. 400 E. 55th St. Assoc., L.P.

In these three putative class actions, Plaintiffs, current or former tenants of separate apartment buildings, sought damages for rent overcharges. All plaintiffs initially sought treble damages but then waived that demand. At issue was whether Plaintiffs’ claims could properly be brought as class actions. Defendants argued, among other things, that these actions were to “recover a penalty” because, even without trebling, the remedy provided by the Rent Stabilization Law (RSL) 26-516 is a penalty. In each case, the Appellate Division certified a question to the Court of Appeals. The Court answered (1) N.Y. C.P.L.R. 901(b), which prohibits any claim for penalties to be brought as a class action, permits otherwise qualified plaintiffs to utilize the class action mechanism to recover compensatory overcharges even though the RSL 26-516 does not specifically authorize class action recovery and imposes treble damages upon a finding of willful violation; and (2) maintaining these actions as class actions does not contravene the letter or the spirit of the C.P.L.R. or the RSL.View "Borden v. 400 E. 55th St. Assoc., L.P." on Justia Law

John v. Super. Ct.

Petitioner appealed an order requiring her to obtain approval for leave to file under the vexatious litigant statutes, Code Civ. Proc., 391-391.7, before continuing with her two related appeals from the judgment in favor of her landlord in an unlawful detainer action. The appellate division dismissed the appeal after reviewing petitioner's request to file new litigation by a vexatious litigant and found that she failed to demonstrate the appeals had merit and were not filed for the purpose of harassment or delay. Section 391.7's requirement for obtaining leave to file unquestionably applies to an appeal by a self-represented plaintiff who has previously been declared a vexatious litigant and made subject to a prefiling order. At issue was whether it similarly applied to a vexatious litigant defendant's appeal from an adverse judgment. Because it disregards section 391.7's express reference to actions by a plaintiff and would impede a self-represented defendant's right of access to the appellate courts without significantly advancing the underlying purpose of the vexatious litigant statutes, the court rejected this construction of section 391.7. Therefore, the court granted petitioner's petition for a writ of mandate and ordered the appellate division to vacate its order dismissing petitioner's appeal and to decide the appeal on the merits.View "John v. Super. Ct." on Justia Law

Alta Vista Props., LLC vs. Mauer Vision Ctr., PC

Tenant leased certain property from Landlord. Landlord filed a petition for a declaratory judgment seeking a ruling that it could have reasonable access to the property to show it to prospective buyers. The district court found the lease to be unambiguous and granted summary judgment to Tenant, concluding that Tenant could exclude Landlord from showing the property until ninety days remained in the term of the lease. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court, holding that lease provisions that gave Landlord the right to sell the property at any time during the lease term encompassed the right to access the property temporarily at reasonable times to show the property to prospective buyers.View "Alta Vista Props., LLC vs. Mauer Vision Ctr., PC" on Justia Law

Burien, LLC v. Wiley

Landlord converted a rent-controlled apartment building to condominiums, obtained a new certificate of occupancy in 2009 based on the change in use, and raised the rent. Tenant objected. Landlord sought a declaration from the trial court that the unit was exempt from local rent control ordinances under the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, Civ. Code, 1954.50 et seq. On appeal, Landlord challenged the trial court's conclusion that the unit was not exempt, and judgment in favor of tenant. The court affirmed the judgment of the trial court, and rejected Landlord's contention that the unit is exempt from rent control under section 1954.52, subdivision (a)(1) where that section refers to certificates of occupancy issued prior to residential use of the unit.View "Burien, LLC v. Wiley" on Justia Law