Articles Posted in Real Estate & Property Law

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Here the Supreme Court reaffirmed its statement in 2DP Blanding, LLC v. Palmer, __ P.3d ___ (Utah 2017), that “an appellant who takes no action to preserve his interests in property at issue on appeal has no recourse against a lawful third-party purchaser.” This case involved the same unstayed court order at issue in 2DP Blanding that authorized a foreclosure sale of real property. Here, MAA Prospector purchased property at the foreclosure sale. MAA Prospector had actual notice of Ray Palmer’s appeal of the foreclosure order when it purchased the property. The court of appeals reversed the judgment under which the foreclosure sale was conducted. Palmer then recorded a notice of default and election to sell under his original trust deed. MAA Prospector brought this suit against Palmer seeking to enjoin Palmer from foreclosing on the property and quieting its title to the property. The district court ruled in favor of MAA Prospector. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that MAA Prospector’s actual notice of Palmer’s appeal did not mean that MAA Prospector took the property subject to the outcome of the appeal. View "MAA Prospector Motor Lodge, LLC v. Palmer" on Justia Law

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An appellant who takes no action to preserve his interests in property at issue on appeal has no recourse against a lawful third-party purchaser. Appellant agreed to sell two parcels of commercial real estate to JDJ Holdings Inc. JDJ obtained two loans to finance the purchase - one from First National Bank and one from Appellant - both of which were secured by trust deeds. JDJ later defaulted on the loans. Appellant and First National both claimed that their deed was was entitled to senior position. The district court granted summary judgment to First National. Appellant appealed but did not formally seek or obtain a stay of the order and did not file a lis pendens on the property. First National subsequently purchased the parcel at issue under its reinstated trust deed. The parcel was later conveyed to 2DP Blanding, LLC. The court of appeals overturned the district court’s order. 2DP then filed suit seeking to quiet title to the property and to enjoin Appellant’s pending foreclosure sale under his original trust deed. The district court granted summary judgment for 2DP. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that 2DP was entitled to title of the property free and clear of any interest Appellant may have previously had in the property. View "2DP Blanding, LLC v. Palmer" on Justia Law

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In 2003, a corporation was assigned a lease that permitted a restaurant to operate. Xiao-Yan Cao, the corporation’s president, personally guaranteed the corporation’s performance. In 2006, the lease was assigned to Hong Lin. As part of the assignment, the lease term was extended until 2013. Both Cao and Lin signed the lease extension as guarantors. In 2010, Lin stopped making timely rent payments. Lin and the property’s landlord agreed to a repayment schedule to permit Lin to catch up. In 2013, Lin defaulted on rent payments. The landlord sued both Lin and Cao for a sum representing the last month’s rent and a balance from the month prior. The district court concluded that the 2010 repayment materially modified the contract and discharged Cao’s guaranty. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that extending the period within which a tenant could pay its rent did not materially modify the contract. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the court of appeals correctly determined that the 2010 repayment agreement did not materially modify the contract and that Cao was not relieved of her responsibilities as guarantor. View "PC Riverview, LLC v. Cao" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the district court’s denial of the motion to dismiss the lawsuit brought by several property developers (Developers) alleging that the City of West Jordan violated statutory provisions that regulate how a municipality may spend impact fees collected from developers. The court held (1) Developers had standing to challenge the constitutionality of the impact fees they were assessed; (2) Developers failed to state a takings claim for which relief can be granted because Developers’ allegations that West Jordan either failed to spend impact fees within six years or spent the fees on impermissible expenditures were inadequate to support a constitutional takings claim; and (3) Developers did not have standing to bring a claim in equity. View "Alpine Homes, Inc. v. City of West Jordan" on Justia Law

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In this dispute over a mining road built on Flagstaff Mountain over a century ago, Plaintiffs sued Defendants, the owners of land traversed by the road, asserting a right to use the road as a public highway under the Mining Act of 1866 and the 1880 Utah Highway Act and also under a common law prescriptive easement claim. The district court granted summary judgment for Defendants and denied Plaintiffs’ motion for leave to file a second amended complaint. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Plaintiffs’ public road claim failed because Plaintiff did not present sufficient evidence of the road’s public use for a sufficient period of time; (2) Plaintiffs' common law prescriptive easement claim failed because Plaintiffs’ arguments on appeal were not preserved for appellate review; and (3) the court owed deference to the district court’s determination that the potential delay in proceedings was sufficient to defeat the presumption in favor of amendment. View "Stichting v. United Park City Mines Co." on Justia Law

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In a number of cases pending before several district courts concerning ownership of certain rights of way claimed by the State of Utah and several of its counties, the federal courts asked the Utah Supreme Court to determine whether Utah Code 78B-2-201(1) and its predecessor are statutes of limitations or statues of repose. The Supreme Court held that the plain language of both versions of the statute reveals them to be statutes of repose. However, because of the absurdity that results from applying section 201 and its predecessor as statutes of repose in the context of the State’s Revised Statute 2477 rights of way, leading to the result that the State lost title to any such rights of way after seven years without any opportunity to prevent such loss, the court construed these statutes as statutes of limitations when applied to the State’s Revised Statute 2477 right of way claims. View "Garfield County v. Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance" on Justia Law

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At dispute in this case was a mining road built on Flagstaff Mountain over a century ago. Stichting Mayflower Mountain Fonds and Stichting Mayflower Recreation Fonds (collectively, Mayflower) asserted a right to use the road as a public highway and under a common law prescriptive easement claim. Mayflower later moved to amend its complaint seeking to add an appurtenant easement claim. The district court granted summary judgment for Defendants, dismissed Mayflower’s public road and prescriptive easement claims, and denied Mayflower’s motion for leave to file a second amended complaint. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Mayflower’s public roads claim failed because Mayflower did not establish a genuine issue of material fact on the public use necessary to show that the road had become a public road; (2) the common law prescriptive easement claim failed because the evidence and arguments presented by Mayflower on appeal were never presented to the district court in the proceedings below; and (3) the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Mayflower’s motion for leave to file a second amended complaint. View "Stichting Mayflower Mountain Fonds v. United Park City Mines Co." on Justia Law

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Friends of Great Salt Lake (Friends) challenged the decision of the Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands (Division) granting a mining lease covering a small portion of the Great Salt Lake. Friends made three simultaneous attempts to halt the lease in requests and petitions submitted to the Division or to the Utah Department of Natural Resources (Department). The Division and Department issued a single agency order denying all three. Friends appealed and sought leave to amend its complaint to raise additional constitutional and statutory arguments. The district court affirmed the rejection of Friends’ requests and petitions, denied in part Friends’ attempt to amend its complaint, and subsequently dismissed Friends’ remaining arguments on summary judgment. Friends appealed and, alternatively, sought extraordinary relief. The Supreme Court (1) affirmed in large part and denied Friends’ request for extraordinary relief; and (2) reversed to a limited extent, holding that the Division was required to engage in “site-specific planning” under the applicable provisions of the Utah Administrative Code. Remanded to allow the Department to decide on the appropriate remedy for the failure to perform such planning. View "Friends of Great Salt Lake v. Utah Department of Natural Resources" on Justia Law

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In 1997, Paul Haik argued before the federal district court that Salt Lake City and Alta’s refusal to extend adequate municipal water services to his undeveloped land in the Albion Basin Subdivision was a violation of equal protection and amounted to an unconstitutional taking. The federal court ruled against Haik. In 2012, Haik filed another federal lawsuit alleging different legal claims but, for the most part, the same facts. In the lawsuit, Haik again sought a determination that Salt Lake City was required to supply him with enough water to develop his property in Albion Basin. The federal court again ruled against Haik. Thereafter, Salt Lake City sued Haik in state court seeking, inter alia, to adjudicate Haik’s and others’ interests in water rights in Little Cottonwood Creek. Haik counterclaimed, adducing exactly the same facts as he put before the federal district court in 2012. The district court dismissed the counterclaims on the grounds that they were barred by the doctrine of res judicata. Although Haik did not raise each and every claim in the federal court that he sought to raise here, the Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, on the operative facts before the Court, it was impossible for Haik to overcome the hurdle of claim preclusion. View "Salt Lake City Corp. v. Haik" on Justia Law

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Utah Code 57-1-21 requires the trustee of a nonjudicial foreclosure sale to maintain a physical office location within the state. In this case, Samuel Adamson refinanced his home through a deed of trust and then defaulted on the loan. ReconTrust sold property in a nonjudicial foreclosure sale to BAC Home Loans Services, LP. Distressed Asset eventually purchased the property. When Distressed Asset filed an unlawful detainer action against the Adamsons, the Adamsons argued that the trustee’s sale was defective because ReconTrust violated section 57-1-21. The district court dismissed the unlawful detainer action, concluding that the failure to satisfy section 57-1-21 rendered the trustee sale void ab initio. Here, the Supreme Court clarified the differences between void, voidable, and valid trustee’s deeds under Utah law. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court erred in dismissing the action because, under the circumstances of this case, the violation of the statute did not result in a void or voidable trustee’s deed. Remanded. View "Bank of America v. Adamson" on Justia Law