Justia Contracts Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Real Estate & Property Law
Le Fort Enterprises, Inc. v. Lantern 18, LLC
The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the decision of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of Seller in this case stemming from the economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, holding that there was no error in the proceedings below.Specifically at issue was, in light of the disruptions caused by COVID-19 pandemic, whether the doctrines of impracticability of performance or frustration of purpose temporarily excused the purchaser of a cleaning services franchise and the purchaser's co-owners from their obligation to pay the outstanding portion of the purchase price of the franchise. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the property seller. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the record did not support a rational finding that the pandemic cause date continued payment of the franchise purchase price to be impracticable or frustrated the principal purpose of the contract; and (2) the parties intended that the obligation to pay would not be conditioned on the franchise's financial performance beyond the first six months following the sale. View "Le Fort Enterprises, Inc. v. Lantern 18, LLC" on Justia Law
Johnson v. Heath, et al.
Defendants Michael and Dawn Heath sold Plaintiff Harry Johnson a gasoline and automobile-service station in Wells, Nevada. Soon after the sale, Plaintiff allegedly discovered that the property had material, undisclosed defects and that Defendants had artificially inflated the business’s profits by scamming customers over the years. In suing them, Plaintiff asserted many state-law claims against both Defendants and a claim against Defendant Michael Heath under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”). The district court dismissed Plaintiff’s RICO claim for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted and declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state claims. The issue Plaintiff's appeal raised for the Tenth Circuit's review centered on whether Defendants’ actions as alleged plausibly violated the federal RICO statute. Because the Court concluded they did not, it affirmed the district court's judgment. View "Johnson v. Heath, et al." on Justia Law
Rocky Mountain Hospitality v. Mountain Classic Real Estate, Inc.
In this real estate case, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing this complaint brought by Rocky Mountain Hospitality, LLC (Seller) against Mountain Classic Real Estate, Inc. (Buyer) and awarded Buyer its attorney fees on appeal, holding that because Seller failed to release its interest in the deposit before filing its complaint it was barred from pursuing other remedies.Buyer entered into a contract with Seller to purchase a motel. The purchase price included an earnest money deposit. Buyer failed to purchase the motel. Seller brought this action seeking damages but failed to release its interest in the earnest money deposit before filing the complaint. The district court dismissed the complaint. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) under the contract's default provision, Seller was obligated to release its interest in an earnest money deposit before filing a complaint if Seller wished to pursue a remedy other than liquidated damages; and (2) Seller was deemed to have elected to retain the deposit as liquidated damages and was barred from pursuing its claims. View "Rocky Mountain Hospitality v. Mountain Classic Real Estate, Inc." on Justia Law
Posted in: Contracts, Real Estate & Property Law, Utah Supreme Court
Shafer v. Scarborough, et al.
Justin Shafer appealed a district court judgment confirming an arbitration award against Diamond Development & Custom Homes, L.L.C. Shafer argued the district court erred by failing to increase the amount of damages he was awarded. He also argued the North Dakota Supreme Court should narrowly expand the standard for reviewing an arbitration award. The Court declined Shafer’s request to expand the standard of review, and concluded the district court did not err in confirming the arbitration award. View "Shafer v. Scarborough, et al." on Justia Law
Aubee v. Selene Finance LP
The First Circuit reversed the order of the district court dismissing Plaintiffs' breach of contract claim against Wilmington Savings Fund Society, FSB and otherwise affirmed the district court order dismissing Plaintiffs' complaint against Wilmington Savings and Selene Finance LP, holding that the district court erred in part.Plaintiffs filed a complaint seeking a declaratory judgment that Defendants breached the parties' mortgage contract by selling their property through a non-judicial foreclosure, thus rendering the foreclosure void. Specifically, Plaintiffs alleged that the foreclosure and sale were conducted without providing adequate notice, as required by the mortgage contract. The district court granted Defendants' motion to dismiss. The First Circuit reversed in part, holding (1) Plaintiffs stated a claim that the notice of default failed strictly to comply with the requirements of the mortgage contract, and therefore, dismissal of their claim against Wilmington Savings was improper; and (2) as to the remaining claims, dismissal was proper. View "Aubee v. Selene Finance LP" on Justia Law
C Investments 2, LLC v. Auger
The Supreme Court affirmed the opinion of the court of appeals affirming the trial court's entry of summary judgment in favor of Plaintiffs and holding that eight of nine restrictive covenants governing Plaintiffs' lots within the parties' residential subdivision were extinguished by operation of North Carolina's Real Property Marketable Title Act, N.C. Gen. Stat. 47B-1 to 47B-9, holding that the eight covenants were extinguished by operation of law.At issue on appeal was whether the court of appeals correctly determined that the Act's thirteenth enumerated exception did not apply to save all of the nine restrictive covenants in question. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the court of appeals correctly held that all but one of the restrictive covenants, as applied to Plaintiffs' property, were to be extinguished under the Act; and (2) a plain reading of section 47B-3(13) exempts from extinguishment only those covenants that actually require that a property be used residentially within the confines of a general or uniform scheme of development. View "C Investments 2, LLC v. Auger" on Justia Law
132 Ventures, LLC v. Active Spine Physical Therapy, LLC
The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part and remanded this matter for a new trial, holding that the district court erred in proceeding to a trial without a jury on Plaintiff's causes of action for breach of contract, breach of guaranty, and unjust enrichment.Plaintiff's brought this complaint against Defendants for, among other causes of action, forcible entry and detainer. The district court granted relief on the forcible entry and detainer claim, ordering restitution. After a bench trial, the district court heard the remaining causes of action and awarded damages to Plaintiff. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding (1) Plaintiff's remaining causes of action were legal in nature, and the issues of fact that arose thereunder entitled Defendants to a jury trial unless waived; and (2) there was no waiver of Defendants' right to a jury trial. View "132 Ventures, LLC v. Active Spine Physical Therapy, LLC" on Justia Law
Trosen, et al. v. Trosen, et al.
Jeff Trosen appealed a judgment and amended judgment awarding damages for a breach of contract claim to the Estate of Shirley Trosen and the Trosen Family Trust and dismissing Jeff’s counterclaim and third-party complaint. A dispute arose over Jeff’s lease of farmland from Shirley. The lease covered the farming seasons of 2017 through 2022. Partial payments were made in 2020 and 2021, leaving balances owed for those years. Shirley and the Trust sued Jeff for breach of contract and to cancel the lease. Jeff argued the district court erred in granting summary judgment on the breach of contract claim and by dismissing his counterclaim and third-party complaint. Finding no reversible error, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed the judgments. View "Trosen, et al. v. Trosen, et al." on Justia Law
Drinkard, et al. v. Perry, et al.
Milton Turner died on July 25, 2018. On September 20, 2018, Mildred Williamson petitioned for letters of administration of Turner's estate in the probate court. In her petition, Williamson asserted that Turner had died intestate and that Williamson was Turner's only surviving heir. In 2019, Williamson, individually and in her capacity as the personal representative of Turner's estate, entered into a contract agreeing to sell to Matthew Drinkard and Jefferson Dolbare ("the purchasers") real property belonging to the estate for $880,650. The real-estate sales contract specified that the closing of the sale was to occur on or before May 31, 2019. On February 7, 2019, Williamson, individually and in her capacity as personal representative of Turner's estate, executed a deed conveying other real property that was part of Turner's estate to Marcus Hester. On February 13, 2019, Callway Sargent, alleging to be an heir of Turner's, filed a claim of heirship in Turner's estate. Sargent also moved for injunctive relief in which he acknowledged the February 7, 2019, deed, but asserted that Williamson had agreed to sell and had conveyed real property belonging to Turner's estate without the approval of the probate court, and requested that the probate court enjoin "Williamson from engaging in any further administration of [Turner's] estate until so ordered by [the probate court]." Williamson petitioned to have the case removed fro probate to the circuit court. From February 28, 2019, to March 18, 2019, a number of individuals came forward, all claiming to be Turner's heirs. Williamson moved to have the circuit court approve the pending property sales. Williamson and the purchasers did not close on the sale of the property that was the subject of their real-estate sales contract by May 31, 2019, as required by the contract. Some of the purported heirs petitioned the circuit court to stay or vacate the order approving the purchasers contact until matters regarding the heirs was resolved. Drinkard and Dolbare filed a motion to intervene in the proceedings regarding the administration of Turner's estate, but the circuit court denied the motion. The Alabama Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court's denial of the purchasers' motion to intervene in the administration of Turner's estate. View "Drinkard, et al. v. Perry, et al." on Justia Law
Black v. Bureau of Parks & Lands
The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment of the business and consumer docket entered in favor of Plaintiffs vacating the Bureau of Parks and Lands' lease of public reserved land to NECEC Transmission LLC and Central Maine Power Co. (CMP) for construction of a high-capacity transmission line, holding that the Bureau acted within its constitutional and statutory authority in granting the lease.CMP appealed and Plaintiffs cross-appealed the trial court's decision not to address the substantive question of whether the Bureau had the constitutional authority to lease to the public reserved land. Plaintiffs later moved to dismiss the appeals on the ground that a citizen's initiative rendered the appeals moot. The Supreme Judicial Court denied the motion to dismiss and vacated the judgment below, holding (1) retroactive application of section 1 of the Initiative did not violate the Contract Clause of the United States Constitution, and therefore, the lease was not voided by the initiative; and (2) the record established that the Bureau acted within its constitutional and statutory authority in granting the lease. View "Black v. Bureau of Parks & Lands" on Justia Law