Articles Posted in Real Estate & Property Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court ruling in favor of Plaintiff on his claim that Defendants failed to pay him for work he performed on their residence, holding that there was no merit to Defendants’ assignments of error on appeal. Specifically, the Court held (1) the district court did not err in finding that Plaintiff was entitled to recover under the theory of unjust enrichment when a contract existed between the parties and Plaintiff had a statutory remedy of foreclosure on his construction lien; (2) there was evidence to support the unjust enrichment recovery; and (3) the district court did not err in denying Defendants’ motion to transfer venue. View "Bloedorn Lumber Co. v. Nielson" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in this quiet title action filed by Richard Jordan seeking to invalidate a mortgage lien on the ground that it was an improper encumbrance of the homestead under Neb. Rev. Stat. 40-104 because his signatures on the deed of trust were forged. In a previous order of dissolution and property division, the court allocated to Richard the marital home and its refinancing mortgage debt. In this quiet title action, the court granted summary judgment against Richard, finding that the deed of trust was a valid first and prior lien on the real estate and that Richard’s quiet title action was barred by issue preclusion and judicial estoppel. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) issue preclusion and judicial estoppel may supply the statutory requirements set forth in Neb. Reb. Stat. 40-104 for encumbrances of a homestead; and (2) the district court did not err in finding as a matter of law that Richard’s attempt to invalidate the lien at issue was barred by issue preclusion. View "Jordan v. LSF8 Master Participation Trust" on Justia Law

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The district court properly found that Peter Zelenka met his burden of proving that a French bulldog named “Princess Pot Roast,” referred to by the parties as “Pavlov,” was a gift from Jason Pratte and correctly ordered the dog returned to Zelenka. The court, however, erred in finding that, with respect to other items of person property in Pratte’s possession, Zelenka failed to meet his burden of proving ownership. Pratte and Zelenka were involved in a romantic relationship for five years until they separated. Zelenka was unable to retrieve items of personal property he claimed were his and filed a complaint against Pratte, primarily alleging a claim for conversion. The court ordered Pratte to return Pavlov to Zelena but ordered the remaining contested personal property to remain with Pratte. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding (1) the court properly concluded that Pavlov was a gift from Pratte; (2) Pratte failed to meet his burden of proving that a Niche leather couch, Niche lamps, and a French bulldog lamp were gifts; and (3) the district court properly found that Zelenka failed to prove ownership of the remaining contested items. View "Zelenka v. Pratte" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court confirming the public sale of a condominium. Appellants, minority owners of the condominium, brought suit against the majority owner, who failed to comply with the declaration of covenants, conditions, and restrictions. After protracted litigation, the district court eventually appointed a receiver to sell the condominium at a public sale, determining that the co-owners would “never be able to work together.” The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s decision ratifying and confirming the sale of the condominium, holding that Appellants failed to set forth sufficient reasons for the Court to reverse the district court’s judgment. View "Priesner v. Starry" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the district court dismissing Appellants’ claim seeking damages for breach of contract, breach of warranty, and fraudulent misrepresentation after discovering hail damage to the roof of a real property they were under contract to purchase from Appellees. The district court dismissed the complaint with prejudice and without leave to amend, concluding that the damage was reasonably ascertainable by Appellants. In reversing, the Supreme court held that the district court erred when it granted Appellees’ motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim because Appellants alleged sufficient facts to state claims that were plausible on their face. View "Burklund v. Fuehrer" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the Tax Equalization and Review Commission (TERC) affirming the valuations of certain grassland properties owned by the Betty L. Green Living Trust and the Richard R. Green Living Trust (the Trusts) that had been established by the county assessor and approved by the county board of equalization (the Board). In its decision, TERC concluded that the Trusts did not present competent evidence to rebut the presumption that the Board faithfully performed its duties and had sufficient competent evidence to make its determinations. The Supreme Court affirmed TERC’s order, holding that TERC’s decision conformed to the law, was supported by competent evidence, and was neither arbitrary, capricious, nor unreasonable. View "Betty L. Green Living Trust v. Morrill County Board of Equalization" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment against Borrowers in this action brought by Bank seeking to recover a deficiency owed by Borrowers after it exercised powers of sale under deeds of trust. On appeal, Borrowers argued, among other things, that the district court erred in awarding an excessive verdict for Bank that was unsupported by the evidence. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) there was sufficient evidence to support the amount of damages awarded by the district court; and (2) the district court did not err by refusing Borrowers’ requested jury instructions. View "First National Bank North Platte v. Cardenas" on Justia Law

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At issue in these forty appeals, consolidated into four for purposes of appeal, was whether the individual landowners were entitled to an award of attorney fees under Neb. Rev. Stat. 76-726. Just prior to TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, LP’s eminent domain proceedings seeking to acquire right-of-way and other property interests in constructing an oil pipeline, certain property owners - including some of the same landowners involved in these eminent domain proceedings - filed a constitutional challenge to the pipeline route. TransCanada then dismissed its condemnation petitions, except that the Holt County petitions were dismissed in order for TransCanada to pursue approval of a pipeline route by the Public Service Commission. The landowners filed motions for attorney fees and costs. In each case, the county court granted the requests for attorney fees. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that none of the landowners established that they were entitled to attorney fees under the circumstances. View "TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, LP v. Nicholas Family Ltd. Partnership" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the district court order granting summary judgment in favor of Heritage Bank in this action for forcible entry and detainer against James Gabel, C.J. Land & Cattle, L.P., and MCGFF, LLC after James failed to pay rent on farmland pursuant to a lease agreement. In its order, the district court concluded that Heritage Bank was the trustee of the Charles L. Gabel Revocable Trust, that Defendants did not timely deliver the 2015 crop payment to the trustee, that Defendants had notice they were not in compliance with the terms of the lease, and that the defect was not cured within a reasonable amount of time. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the record supported the district court’s finding that Heritage Bank was the trustee and had standing to bring this action; but (2) genuine issues of material fact remained regarding the other issues raised by Defendants, precluding summary judgment. View "Heritage Bank v. Gabel" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the Tax Equalization and Review Commission (TERC) affirming the decision of the Custer County Assessor regarding the 2012 taxable value of Donald V. Cain, Jr.’s agricultural property. On appeal, Cain argued, among other things, that the TERC violated his due process rights by not permitting him to argue how the preponderance of the evidence standard of proof applied to the adduced evidence. The court held (1) Cain waived the due process rights applicable in Liljestrand v. Dell Enterprises, 842 N.W.2d 575 (2014); and (2) TERC erred in affirming the Assessor’s valuations of Cain’s property for the 2012 tax year. View "Cain v. Custer County Board of Equalization" on Justia Law