Justia U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Landlord - Tenant
Jackson v. HUD
Plaintiffs were tenants at Arbor Court, a Houston apartment complex that received subsidies from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”). After flooding that occurred during Hurricane Harvey, Arbor Court’s owner failed to maintain the property in decent, safe, and sanitary condition. Accordingly, HUD approved a transfer of the complex’s subsidy to a different property, offering Arbor Court tenants a choice between moving at no cost to the new property or receiving housing vouchers that they could use at new housing of their choice. After choosing the latter option, Plaintiffs sued HUD, seeking relocation assistance under the Uniform Relocation Act (“URA”). The district court dismissed the complaint. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the dismissal. The court held that Plaintiffs are not entitled to relocation assistance under the URA. The court explained, as required by statute, Plaintiffs have not pled that they moved from Arbor Court “as a direct result of a written notice of intent to acquire or the acquisition of such real property [i.e. Arbor Court] in whole or in part for a program or project undertaken by a Federal agency or with Federal financial assistance.” Plaintiffs argued that under the applicable Department of Transportation (“DOT”) regulations, the Section 8(bb) subsidy transfer from Arbor Court to Cullen Park qualifies as “such other displacing activity.” However, this regulation merely defines the phrase “program or project.” It does not prescribe any “displacing activit[ies]” that cause one to become a “displaced person” under the URA. View "Jackson v. HUD" on Justia Law
Lamb v. Ashford Place Apartments LLC
The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of an apartment complex and others in an action brought by plaintiff after she was injured by inhaling smoke and fumes from her apartment's heating unit after the apartment replaced the unit's motor. Determining that it had jurisdiction over the appeal, the court held that the district court correctly interpreted section 9:3221 of the Louisiana Statutes and applied its elements to the facts in this case. Under section 9:3221, defendants may be held liable for injuries caused by defects in the premises only if they knew or should have known of the defect or had received notice thereof and failed to remedy it within a reasonable time. The court held that summary judgment for defendants was proper because plaintiff failed to provide evidence sufficient to raise disputes of material fact for each element of section 9:3221 essential to her case. Finally, the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying plaintiff's motion to amend the judgment. View "Lamb v. Ashford Place Apartments LLC" on Justia Law
Forte, et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Wal-Mart rented space to optometrists using a standard lease agreement requiring optometrists to make representations in their leases of the projected number of hours their offices would remain open. A jury found Wal-Mart liable for setting or attempting to influence office hours of an optometrist in violation of the Texas Optometry Act. Tex. Occ. Code 351.408. The district court subsequently remitted the jury's award of almost $4 million in civil penalties and plaintiffs accepted remittitur. Wal-Mart appealed. The court affirmed the district court's judgment regarding Wal-Mart's liability; reversed and vacated the district court's judgment regarding damages where the district court erred in applying Chapter 41's, Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code 41.001(5), lower damage cap exception; and remanded.View "Forte, et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc." on Justia Law