Justia Commercial Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Real Estate Law
Butwinick v. Hepner
Respondents brought an action against Appellants, alleging breach of contract and fraud- and tort-based claims based on their purchase of two furniture stores from Appellants. The district court entered judgment for Respondents. The court allowed Respondents to rescind the agreement and awarded them damages. Although they appealed the judgment, Appellants did not obtain a stay of execution. Thus, despite the pending appeal, Respondents obtained a writ of execution on the judgment, allowing them to execute against one appellant's personal property. Respondents subsequently purchased Appellants' rights and interests in the district court action. Respondents moved to substitute as real parties in interest and dismiss the appeal on the basis that they acquired Appellants' claims and defenses at the sheriff's sale. The Supreme Court denied Respondents' motion, holding that Nevada's judgment execution statutes do not include the right to execute on a party's defenses to an action, as permitting a judgment creditor to execute on a judgment in such a way would cut of a debtor's defenses in a manner inconsistent with due process principles.View "Butwinick v. Hepner" on Justia Law
VCS, Inc. v. La Salle Dev., LLC
In this dispute two companies claimed superior interests in a subdivision property. VCS, Inc. performed work on the subdivision as a general contractor and claimed a valid mechanic's lien on the property. Utah Community Bank (UCB) claimed it acquired an interest in the same property by extending a construction loan, secured by a deed of trust, to the subdivision's owner. VCS sued UCB to vindicate its allegedly superior interest in the property. UCB, in response, asserted that VCS's mechanic's lien was not valid as against UCB's interest because VCS failed to record a timely lis pendens. The district court granted summary judgment for UCB. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) VCS's failure to record a timely lis pendens rendered its mechanic's lien void and unenforceable as against UCB; (2) VCS was not entitled to equitable relief under the doctrine of unjust enrichment because it failed to appropriate exhaust its legal remedies; (3) accordingly, the district court did not err in awarding attorney fees to UCB; and (4) likewise, UCB was entitled to its reasonable attorney fees incurred on appeal.View "VCS, Inc. v. La Salle Dev., LLC" on Justia Law
Bank of Beaver City v. Barretts’ Livestock, Inc.
The issue before the Supreme Court in this case was whether the good faith requirement of 12A O.S. 2011 section 2-403 extended to third parties and requires that the third party be notified of a debtor's financial condition. The trial court found the interest of Plaintiff-Appellee Bank of Beaver City (Bank) in the livestock of cattle operation and debtor Lucky Moon Land and Livestock, Inc. (Lucky Moon) to be superior to that of another creditor of Lucky Moon, Defendant-Appellant Barretts' Livestock, Inc. (Barretts). The Bank alleged that in 2004 it perfected a security interest in all of Lucky Moon's livestock, including all after-acquired livestock, giving it a superior claim to cattle purchased by Lucky Moon from Barretts to satisfy the debt owed by Lucky Moon to the Bank. Barretts asserted that the Bank did not have priority over it because the Bank was not a good faith secured creditor. The trial court granted the Bank's motion for summary judgment, finding that the Bank's perfected security interest had preference over Barretts' unperfected security interest. Barretts appealed, contending that Bank did not have a superior security interest because: 1) the Bank's security interest never attached; and 2) the Bank had not acted in good faith. The Court of Civil appeals affirmed the judgment of the trial court. The Bank sought certiorari, contending that: 1) the case presents an issue of first impression as to when good faith under 12A O.S. 2011 section 2-403 should be determined; 2) Bank's security interest never attached; and 3) the Court of Civil Appeals' decision was inconsistent with a different decision of the Court of Civil Appeals on which the court relied. Upon review, the Supreme Court held that 12A O.S. 2011 section 2-403 did not extend to third parties nor require that the third party be notified of a debtor's financial condition. View "Bank of Beaver City v. Barretts' Livestock, Inc." on Justia Law
Lexington Ins. Co. v. Daybreak Express, Inc.
At issue in this case was whether, for purposes of Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. 16.068, an action for cargo damage against a common carrier, brought under the Carmack Amendment to the Interstate Commerce Act, relates back to an action for breach of an agreement to settle the cargo-damage claim. The answer depended on whether the cargo-damage claim was, in the words of section 16.068, "wholly based on a new, distinct, or different transaction or occurrence" than the breach-of-settlement claim. A divided court of appeals held that the cargo-damage claim did not relate back and was therefore barred by limitations. The Supreme Court reversed and rendered judgment for the plaintiff, holding that the cargo-damage claim and the breach-of-settlement claim both arose out of the same occurrence, and therefore, the cargo-damage claim was not barred by limitations.View "Lexington Ins. Co. v. Daybreak Express, Inc." on Justia Law
Hogan v. Washington Mut. Bank. N.A.
These consolidated cases involved two properties purchased by John Hogan. Each parcel became subject to a deed of trust when Hogan took out loans from Long Beach Mortgage Company. Hogan was delinquent on both loans, which triggered foreclosure proceedings. The trustee recorded a notice of sale for the first parcel, naming Washington Mutual Bank (WaMu) as the beneficiary. A notice of trustee's sale recorded for the second parcel identified Deutsche Bank as the beneficiary. Hogan filed lawsuits seeking to enjoin the trustees' sales unless the beneficiaries proved they were entitled to collect on the respective notes. The superior court granted the defendants' motions to dismiss. The court of appeals affirmed, holding that Arizona's non-judicial foreclosure statute did not require presentation of the original note before commencing foreclosure proceedings. The Supreme Court vacated the court of appeals and affirmed the superior court's orders, holding that Hogan was not entitled to relief because the deed of trust statutes impose no obligation on the beneficiary to "show the note" before the trustee conducts a non-judicial foreclosure.View "Hogan v. Washington Mut. Bank. N.A." on Justia Law
First Bank v. Fischer & Frichtel, Inc.
This case involved the question of how the amount of a deficiency owed by Fischer & Frichtel Inc, a commercial debtor, after a foreclosure sale of its property should be measured. The trial court submitted an instruction directing the jury to award the difference between the amount of the debt and the property's fair market value at the time of the foreclosure sale. The court then granted First Bank's motion for a new trial in light of its showing that Missouri case law instead requires the deficiency to be determined by the difference between the debt and the amount received at the foreclosure sale. The Supreme Court affirmed after discussing Missouri common law, which requires that the deficiency should be measured by the amount received at the foreclosure sale, but if the sale price is so inadequate as to raise an inference of fraud, then the foreclosure sale can be voided. View "First Bank v. Fischer & Frichtel, Inc." on Justia Law
Marion County Auditor v. Sawmill Creek, LLC
After Sawmill Creek's taxes became delinquent on its property, the Marion County Auditor set the property for tax sale. A tax deed was issued to McCord Investments upon the petition of the Auditor following the one-year redemption period after a tax sale. The trial court ultimately set aside the tax deed on grounds that the Auditor's effort to notify Sawmill of the tax sale was constitutionally deficient for failing to meet the requirements of due process. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the notices of the tax sale and of Sawmill's right to redeem did not violate due process because, under the Mullane v. Cent. Hanover Bank & Trust Co. standard, the Auditor's actions were reasonably calculated to provide notice to Sawmill. View "Marion County Auditor v. Sawmill Creek, LLC" on Justia Law
Tampa Investment Group, Inc., et al. v. Branch Banking and Trust Co., Inc.; Legacy Communities Group, Inc., et al. v. Branch Banking and Trust Co., Inc.
BB&T brought suit against Borrowers and Guarantors for more than $19 million then due under certain promissory notes at issue. The promissory notes were executed as a result of BB&T's issuance of 16 loans for residential housing development. In Case No. S1161728, appellants argued that the Court of Appeals in holding that no valid foreclosure sale occurred, erroneously relied on its determination that BB&T did not satisfy the Statue of Frauds. The court held that there were no valid foreclosure sales to prevent BB&T from suing on the notes in the absence of confirmation under OCGA 44-14-161, regardless of whether there was a valid executory sales contract which satisfied the Statute of Frauds. In Case No. S11G1729, the court held that, although the Court of Appeals correctly held that none of BB&T's claims was barred by its failure to seek confirmation after the foreclosure auctions, that court did err in holding that the 2008 guaranties did not sufficiently identify any pre-2008 notes and that the 2008 Guarantors were estopped by BB&T's part performance from asserting a Statute of Frauds defense to BB&T's claims against them on pre-2008 notes.View "Tampa Investment Group, Inc., et al. v. Branch Banking and Trust Co., Inc.; Legacy Communities Group, Inc., et al. v. Branch Banking and Trust Co., Inc." on Justia Law
Rabo Agrifinance, Inc. v. Rock Creek Farms
Rabo Agrifinance and Rabo AgServices (collectively, Rabo) commenced a foreclosure action in 2009 on a mortgage granted by Connie and David Finneman (Finnemans) on 17,000 acres of farmland. Rabo commenced its action against Finnemans, Rock Creek Farms (RCF), and all parties who may have had an ownership or leashold interest in the land. Approximately forty-four defendants were listed in the complaint, including Ann and Michael Arnoldy (Arnoldys) and the U.S. as lienholders. The trial court eventually entered a decree of foreclosure in which it recognized RCF's owner's right of redemption. After a sheriff's sale, Ann Arnoldy redeemed from an assignee of the purchaser of the sheriff's certificate. The Arnoldys filed a motion to partially vacate the decree of foreclosure. The trial court granted the motion and vacated the decree of foreclosure recognizing RCF's redemption rights on the basis that RCF and its predecessors, Finnemans, waived those rights. RCF and Finnemans appealed. Arnoldys and the U.S. filed motions to dismiss the appeals for failure to serve the notice of appeal on the U.S. and a number of named parties. The Supreme Corurt dismissed Finnemans' and RCF's appeals for failure to serve their notices of appeal on each party to the action. View "Rabo Agrifinance, Inc. v. Rock Creek Farms" on Justia Law
Medeiros v. Bankers Trust Co.
Because Property Owner failed to pay real estate taxes on his property, the Town held a tax sale of Property Owner's property. Buyer purchased the property after Property Owner defaulted on the action. The superior court subsequently granted Buyer's petition to foreclose Property Owner's right of redemption to the property. Subsequently, a judgment was entered declaring the prior tax sale void and vesting the property back to Property Owner. Property Owner then executed a warranty deed conveying the property to his Sister. Concurrently, a stipulation was entered as an order of the superior court vesting title in the property to Buyer. Thereafter, Property Owner and Sister filed the instant action, seeking a declaratory judgment invalidating the stipulation order. The superior court determined that Buyer was the proper record title holder of the property. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that a superior court judgment cannot "re-vest" title to property back to a prior owner once that owner has been defaulted in a petition to foreclose his right of redemption and a final decree has been entered.View "Medeiros v. Bankers Trust Co." on Justia Law