Santiago-Monteverde v. Pereira

Debtor, a New York City tenant, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and listed the value of her apartment lease on Schedule B as personal property exempt from the bankruptcy estate as a "local public assistance benefit." At issue was whether the value inherent in debtor's rent-stabilized lease as a consequence of the protections afforded by New York's Rent Stabilization Code, N.Y. Comp. Code R. & Regs. tit. 9, 2520.1 et seq., made the lease, or some portion of its value, exempt from debtor's bankruptcy estate as a "local public assistance benefit" within the meaning of New York Debtor and Creditor Law 282(2). The court certified this unsettled issue to the New York Court of Appeals. View "Santiago-Monteverde v. Pereira" on Justia Law

Cornell v. 360 W. 51st St. Realty, LLC

Plaintiff resided in an apartment from approximately 1997 until 2003. A corporation owned the building during Plaintiff’s occupancy until shortly before Plaintiff vacated the premises. In 2004, Plaintiff sued the corporation, the building’s current landlord, and other parties, alleging that she developed health problems due to mold and other harmful substances in the apartment. The corporation and landlord sought to dismiss the complaint to the extent that Plaintiff alleged mold-induced personal injuries, arguing that Plaintiff was unable to prove either general or specific causation. Supreme Court dismissed all of Plaintiff’s causes of action except those for property damage and breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment. The Appellate Division reversed and reinstated the complaint, concluding that the standard of scientific reliability set forth in Frye v. United States was satisfied in this case. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that Plaintiff did not demonstrate on the record a cause-and-effect relationship between exposure to indoor mold and the kinds of injuries she alleged. View "Cornell v. 360 W. 51st St. Realty, LLC" on Justia Law

CMS Contract Mgmt. Servs. v. United States

The Federal Grant and Cooperative Agreement Act, 31 U.S.C. 6301, states that an executive agency must use: “a procurement contract . . . when . . . the principal purpose … is to acquire … property or services for the direct benefit or use” of the government and must adhere to the Competition in Contracting Act and the Federal Acquisition Regulation However, an “agency shall use a cooperative agreement . . . when . . . the principal purpose … is to transfer a thing of value … to carry out a public purpose of support or stimulation … instead of acquiring . . . property or service” and can avoid procurement laws. Under Section 8 of the Housing Act, HUD provides rental assistance, including entering Housing Assistance Program (HAP) contracts and paying subsidies directly to private landlords. A 1974 amendment gave HUD the option of entering an Annual Contributions Contract (ACC) with a Public Housing Agency (PHA), which would enter into HAP contracts with owners and pay subsidies with HUD funds. In 1983, HUD’s authority was amended. HUD could administer existing HAP contracts, and enter into new HAP contracts for existing Section 8 dwellings by engaging a PHA if possible, 42 U.S.C. 1437f(b)(1). Later, HUD began outsourcing services and initiated a competition to award a performance-based ACC to a PHA in each state, with the PHA to assume “all contractual rights and responsibilities of HUD.” After making an award, HUD chose to re-compete, seeking greater savings, expressly referring to “cooperative agreements,” outside the scope of procurement law. The Government Accountability Office agreed with protestors that the awards were procurement contracts. HUD disregarded that recommendation. The Claims Court denied a request to set aside the award. The Federal Circuit reversed, finding that the awards are procurement contracts, not cooperative agreements. View "CMS Contract Mgmt. Servs. v. United States" on Justia Law

Spanish Court Two Condo. Ass’n v. Carlson

Spanish Court Condominium Association filed a complaint under the Forcible Entry and Detainer Act, 735 ILCS 5/9-101, against Carlson, a unit owners, who allegedly had failed to pay monthly assessments for six months. Carlson admitted that she had not paid her assessments, but denied that she owed those assessments, alleging that she incurred water damage to her unit because Spanish Court failed to properly maintain the roof directly above her unit. She asserted “Breach of Covenants” and “Set-Off” for failure to maintain the roof and that Spanish Court failed to repair or replace her toilet, which was rendered inoperable during the investigation of a water leak in an adjoining unit. The trial court granted Spanish Court’s motion to strike the affirmative defenses and entered an agreed order awarding possession of Carlson’s unit to Spanish Court, and a money judgment for unpaid assessments. The appellate court vacated and remanded for reinstatement of Carlson’s affirmative defenses relating to the roof. The appellate court analogized to a landlord/tenant situation, viewing the obligation to pay assessments, and the obligation to repair and maintain the common elements, as mutually exchanged promises. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed, holding that the failure to repair is not germane to the forcible proceeding. View "Spanish Court Two Condo. Ass'n v. Carlson" on Justia Law

Jones v. Cost Mgmt., Inc.

Edwina Jones rented a residence that she vacated in 2010. Because Jones did not replace heating oil in the residence’s oil tank at the end of her tenancy under the terms of the lease, Cost Management, Inc., the landlord, told Jones that it would return to Jones the $1,500 deposit minus $448, the cost of filling the oil tank. Jones filed a complaint against Cost Management asserting that she was entitled to $1,500, plus statutory double damages, attorney fees, interest and costs. Cost Management counterclaimed for the $448 it paid to fill the tank. The district court found in Jones’s favor on her complaint, found in favor of Cost Management on its counterclaim, and denied Jones’s claims for costs, double damages, and attorney fees under the wrongful-retention statute. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court correctly found that Jones was entitled to receive $1,052 from Cost Management; and (2) because Cost Management overcame the presumption that it wrongfully withheld Jones’s security deposit, the district court did not err by not awarding court costs, double damages, and attorney fees. View "Jones v. Cost Mgmt., Inc." on Justia Law

Mik v. Fed. Home Loan Mortg. Corp

The Miks sued the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac), claiming that they were unlawfully evicted from their rental home after their landlord defaulted on her mortgage and the property was sold at a foreclosure sale. The district court dismissed, under the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009 (12 U.S.C. 5220), which imposes certain requirements on successors in interest to foreclosed properties in order to protect tenants, but which does not provide a private right of action. The Sixth Circuit affirmed in part, agreeing that the PTFA does not provide a private right of action. The PTFA does, however, preempt less protective state laws, and requires that successors in interest to foreclosed properties provide bona fide tenants with 90 days’ notice to vacate and to allow them to occupy the premises until the end of their lease term unless certain conditions are met. While tenants may not bring a federal cause of action for violations of the PTFA, they may use such violations to establish the elements of a state law cause of action. Under state law, the Miks stated a claim for wrongful eviction but did not state claims for denial of due process and outrageous infliction of emotional distress. View "Mik v. Fed. Home Loan Mortg. Corp" on Justia Law

Aeroground, Inc. v. CenterPoint Props. Trust

Menzies, an air cargo handling business, leased CenterPoint’s 185,280-square-foot warehouse near O’Hare Airport. Another tenant used the building to store airplane parts until 2006. Under the lease, Menzies is responsible for repairing the “floor,” while CenterPoint is responsible for repairing the “foundation.” CenterPoint constructed improvements costing $1.4 million, at Menzies’ request, including increasing the number of dock doors from two to 38 and installing 45,000‐pound dock levelers. When Menzies began moving its operations into the building in November 2007, the six‐inch concrete slab did not exhibit any visible damage. By January 2009, the slab had begun to deteriorate. The damage was not consistent with typical wear and tear. The slab could not support Menzies’ equipment. CenterPoint paid $92,000 for repairs, then stopped doing so and did not submit an insurance claim. The slab is so damaged that it must be replaced, at an estimated cost of $966,000 to $1.23 million. Menzies sued CenterPoint for breach and CenterPoint counterclaimed. The district court held that neither party was entitled to recover because the slab had a “dual nature as both floor and foundation,” but “the damage at issue was related to the slab’s function as a floor.” The Seventh Circuit affirmed. View "Aeroground, Inc. v. CenterPoint Props. Trust" on Justia Law

Johnson v. Hopkins

Landlords brought an unlawful detainer action against Tenants to regain possession of the premises and recoup damages. The general sessions court later entered a default judgment granting Landlords possession of the property and a $42,500 judgment for past due rent and attorneys' fees. Tenants filed a notice of appeal and posted an appeal bond by depositing $250 cash with the clerk of court. Landlords filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that Tenants violated Tenn. Code Ann. 29-18-130(b)(2) by failing to post a bond equal to one year's rent. The circuit court denied the motion, concluding that a bond for one year's rent was unnecessary because Tenants had already surrendered possession of the property and vacated the premises. The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court's denial of Landlords' motion to dismiss, holding that the circuit court did not err in determining that section 29-18-130(b)(2) does not require a tenant who has surrendered possession of the property to post a bond for one year's rent when appealing an adverse judgment of the general sessions court in an unlawful detainer action. View "Johnson v. Hopkins" on Justia Law

Harrison Kishwaukee, LLC v. Rockford Acquisition, LLC

The Debtor leased a building and, during liquidation in bankruptcy, assumed the lease, 11 U.S.C. 365, and sold the leasehold interest (and other assets) to Tenant. The bankruptcy judge approved the transaction in 2007, after Landlord did not object to the Debtor’s assertion that Landlord did not have any outstanding claim against the Debtor. The approval barred any claims based on pre‐sale events. The lease requires Tenant to maintain the roof. In 2010 the Landlord sued Tenant in state court, based on that obligation. By motion in the closed bankruptcy proceeding, Tenant asked the bankruptcy court to interpret the 2007 order as blocking the claim. The bankruptcy judge concluded that the order did not affect continuing obligations such as the duty to keep leased premises in good repair; Landlord requested a prospective remedy, not damages. The district court disagreed, ruling that Landlord can enforce the good‐repair clause only to the extent that defects in the roof first occurred after the lease’s assumption in bankruptcy. The Sixth Circuit dismissed an appeal for lack of jurisdiction, because the district court did not enter an injunction. The court expressed hope that the bankruptcy judge or the district judge will attend to several issues inherent in both opinions. View "Harrison Kishwaukee, LLC v. Rockford Acquisition, LLC" on Justia Law

Eujoy Realty Corp. v. Van Wagner Commc’ns, LLC

On October 18, 2000, Tenant leased Landlord's billboard for fifteen years, commencing on December 1, 2000 and ending September 30, 2015. The lease obligated Tenant to pay the full annual basic rent for 2007 to Landlord on January 1, 2007. Tenant later terminated the lease, effective January 8, 2007, and gave Landlord a check representing rent for the period of January 1, 2007 through January 8, 2007. Landlord filed suit against Tenant seeking the balance of the basic rent for 2007. Tenant moved for summary judgment, suggesting that Landlord agreed to pro-rate rent for 2007 during an oral communication. Supreme Court granted summary judgment for Tenant. The Appellate Division reversed and granted summary judgment for Landlord. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that Tenant was obligated to pay the full annual basic rent for the calendar year 2007, the parties did not agree in the lease to apportion rent post-termination except in specified circumstances not relevant here, and Tenant's claim that the parties orally agreed to such apportionment was barred by the lease's "no oral modification" clause. View "Eujoy Realty Corp. v. Van Wagner Commc'ns, LLC" on Justia Law