Articles Posted in Real Estate & Property Law

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The Fifth Circuit dismissed this interlocutory appeal from an order denying a motion for a preliminary injunction to stop a foreclosure. The court applied In Matter of Sullivan Cent. Plaza, I, Ltd., and held that the appeal was moot because the subject property was sold at a foreclosure sale. The court rejected plaintiff's argument that the instant appeal was not moot simply because defendants purchased the foreclosed property and were before the court on appeal. The court reasoned that it could not enjoin that which had already taken place. View "Dick v. Colorado Housing Enterprises, LLC" on Justia Law

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After negotiations failed between plaintiff and Trans-Pecos regarding the construction of a pipeline on plaintiff's land, Trans-Pecos invoked Texas eminent domain power via Tex. Util. Code 181.004. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the denial of plaintiff's application for a preliminary injunction under the Anti-Injunction Act. The district court held that the Act barred the injunction because the injunction would enjoin a state condemnation process that culminates in a judicial proceeding. As a preliminary matter, the court denied a motion to dismiss on mootness grounds. The court then held, on alternative grounds, that plaintiff could not meet the demanding standard for issuance of an injunction. The court explained that the significant differences between the Texas delegation of power to private entities and those delegations the Supreme Court has held unconstitutional mean that plaintiff's due process challenge faced long odds. Because of plaintiff's inability to establish a likelihood of success, much less a substantial one, he was not entitled to a preliminary injunction. View "Boerschig v. Trans-Pecos Pipeline, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Deutsche Bank in an action challenging a foreclosure sale. The court held that the district court did not err in holding that the Rooker-Feldman doctrine did not preclude review of the parties' claims; the court has jurisdiction to hear this appeal; the district court did not err by granting summary judgment to Deutsche Bank because the Vacating Order was void under Texas law and plaintiffs failed to cite any authority demonstrating that the Foreclosure Order was void rather than voidable; and Texas law provided plaintiffs an adequate procedure to challenge the Foreclosure Order and their due process rights were not violated. View "Burciaga v. Deutsche Bank National Trust Co." on Justia Law

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Daewoo filed suit against AMT, seeking an order compelling AMT to arbitrate an attachment of pig iron, invoking both maritime attachment and the Louisiana non-resident attachment statute, La. Code Civ. Proc. art. 3542. After the district court's grant of Daewoo's attachment, TKM attached the same pig iron in Louisiana state court and intervened in the federal suit. The district court agreed with TKM and vacated Daewoo's attachment. The Fifth Circuit vacated, holding that Section 3502 allowed Daewoo to seek a Section 3542 attachment before commencing its confirmation proceeding, Daewoo followed Section 3502's requirements, and thus Daewoo's attachment was valid. The court remanded for further proceedings. View "Stemcor USA Inc. v. Cia Siderurgica do Para Cosipar" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against Wells Fargo, alleging nonconformity with the requirements for foreclosing home equity loans and seeking a permanent injunction and forfeiture. The district court held that plaintiff's suit was time barred and dismissed under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). The Texas Supreme Court subsequently issued two opinions, Wood v. HSBC Bank USA, N.A., 505 S.W.3d 542 (Tex. 2016), and Garofolo v. Ocwen Loan Servicing, L.L.C., 497 S.W.3d 474 (Tex. 2016). The Fifth Circuit held that Wood and Garofolo constitute intervening changes in law sufficient to justify post-judgment relief for plaintiff on her claim to preclude foreclosure but not on her claim for forfeiture. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Alexander v. Wells Fargo Bank" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff's claims relating to his mortgage and the foreclosure of his home. The court held that the district court did not err in determining that diversity jurisdiction exists in this case; the district court did not err in dismissing plaintiff's claims for lack of standing to foreclose, quiet title, and breach of contract given that each of those claims was based on the assignment being void; in light of the district court's reasoning and the circumstances of this case, the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying plaintiff leave to replead his promissory estoppel claim; and plaintiff waived his argument that the district court erred in denying his motion to amend. View "Bynane v. The Bank of New York Mellon" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit against the condo owners association after the foreclosure sale of their condo unit, alleging common law claims for breach of contract, wrongful foreclosure, negligent misrepresentation, and breach of fiduciary duty, as well as violations of the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), Texas Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (TFDCPA), and Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (TDTPA). The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment on all claims, holding that regardless whether the district court abused its discretion, any evidentiary error the district court made was harmless. In this case, the issue whether the late fee increase was properly adopted by the Association was not dispositive of any claims, so it did not affect the outcome of the litigation and did not affect their substantial rights. The court also held that plaintiffs' could not maintain their suit for breaches of the Condominium Declaration when they have themselves been in default of the contract; there was no authority supporting plaintiffs' conclusion that an inaccurate balance included in a default notice constitutes a defect in the foreclosure proceedings; and plaintiffs failed to cite specific negligent misrepresentations by defendants. The court rejected plaintiffs' remaining claims. View "Mahmoud v. De Moss Owners Association, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit pro se asserting a takings claim against the United States. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's conclusion that, under the Tucker Act, plaintiff must pursue his claim in the Court of Federal Claims (CFC). The Tucker Act vests exclusive jurisdiction for takings claims over $10,000 in the CFC and plaintiff asserted that he was entitled to $900,000 in just compensation. Therefore, the district court properly dismissed the claim based on lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. View "Sammons v. United States" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against Wells Fargo and JPMorgan for breach of fiduciary duty after the banks served as trustees for plaintiff's trusts. The district court dismissed all but one of plaintiff's claims, finding a breach as to the remaining claim. The Fifth Circuit held that because plaintiff neither pleaded nor tried his case on the frivolous-lawsuit theory, and because Wells Fargo did not consent to a post-trial amendment, it was improper for the district court to award damages against Wells Fargo on that theory. The court also held that plaintiff's claim that he should have received insurance proceeds upon the House Trust's termination was time-barred; the court declined to consider plaintiff's claim that Wells Fargo double-billed the trusts; plaintiff's claim that Wells Fargo breached its fiduciary duty by using trust funds to pay for legal expenses was time-barred; the court rejected plaintiff's claim that Wells Fargo breached a fiduciary duty by failing to advise him; and plaintiff's claim that JPMorgan breached a fiduciary duty by failing to convey title to certain mineral interests was time-barred. View "Jones, Jr. v. Wells Fargo Bank" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff purchased property on which oil and gas operations had been conducted. Plaintiff filed suit against Hess, asserting claims for damages stemming from contamination caused by the oil- and gas-related activities on the tract. The oil and gas leases expired in 1973 and plaintiff purchased the property in 2007, when all wells had been plugged and abandoned. The district court granted Hess's motion for summary judgment, concluding that the subsequent purchaser rule barred plaintiff's claims. The court explained that a clear consensus has emerged among all Louisiana appellate courts that have considered the issue, and they have held that the subsequent purchaser rule does apply to cases, like this one, involving expired mineral leases. Because this case presented no occasion to depart from precedent, the court deferred to these precedents, and held that the subsequent purchaser doctrine barred plaintiff's claims. The court noted that although the denial of a writ is not necessarily an approval of the appellate court's decision nor precedential, the Louisiana Supreme Court has had multiple opportunities to consider this issue and has repeatedly declined to do so. Finally, the court declined to certify questions to the state court. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Guilbeau v. Hess Corp." on Justia Law