Articles Posted in Real Estate & Property Law

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Plaintiff, the owner of a commercial property, filed suit against Defendant, a special servicer that handled the default side of loan servicing for its affiliate, after Plaintiff unsuccessfully sought to purchase a loan taken out to refinance existing debt on its property in an effort to avoid default. Plaintiff sought specific performance of a pre-negotiation agreement and injunctive relief to enjoin Defendant from foreclosing on the property until good faith negotiations occur under the pre-negotiation contract. The Court of Chancery granted Defendant’s motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim for relief, holding that each count of the complaint failed to state a claim for relief. View "Windsor I, LLC v. CWCapital Asset Management LLC" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff brought this action opposing the use of portions of a former industrial park in the City of Lewes, now owned by the state. This action involved a lease of a portion of that property to the City and a sublease from Lewes to a non-profit that maintained a dog park on the property. At a regularly scheduled city council meeting, the Lewes City Council voted to approve an amendment to the sublease to the non-profit, which added an access road to the sublease. In his complaint, Plaintiff alleged numerous violations of the Delaware Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The Court of Chancery granted the motion to dismiss of the Mayor, the City Council, and the City, holding that a violation of FOIA did not occur here. View "Lechliter v. Becker" on Justia Law

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Charles and Melissa Dalton obtained a loan from Household Finance Corporation II that was secured by a mortgage on their property. The Daltons received a trial period plan pursuant to a Trial Period Plan Agreement. The Daltons’ loan was later sold to LSF9 Master Participation Trust, and the servicing of the Daltons’ loan was transferred to Caliber Home Loans, Inc. The Daltons filed this action against LSF9 and Caliber alleging, inter alia, breach of the Trial Period Plan Agreement and seeking a preliminary and permanent injunction enjoining LSF9 and Caliber from terminating the Daltons’ loan modification. The Court of Chancery dismissed all claims against LSF9 and Caliber, holding (1) LSF9 and Caliber were not parties nor successors in interest to the Trial Period Plan Agreement; (2) LSF9 and Caliber were not parties to the consent orders between Household Finance and the United States Department of the Treasury; (3) the Daltons failed to state a claim for unjust enrichment; and (4) the Daltons failed to allege a reasonable probability of success on the merits or imminent threat of irreparable injury. View "Dalton v. Household Finance Corp., II" on Justia Law

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Before Russell Banks died, Russell and his brother, David Banks, owned together fifteen parcels of real estate in Sussex County, Delaware. The granting language of the deed to each parcel stated that the property was conveyed to the brothers as “joint tenants with right of survivorship.” David asserted that this language granted joint tenancies with right of survivorship (WROS) and that the properties passed to him in full upon Russell’s death. Mackie Banks, the executrix of Russell’s estate, filed an inventory for Russell’s estate asserting that the properties were conveyed to the brothers as tenants in common and that the Estate held a fifty percent ownership interest in the properties. David filed a petition to quiet title on the properties. The Court of Chancery granted David’s motion for judgment on the pleadings, holding that the language conveying the property as “joint tenants with right of survivorship” was sufficient to create a joint tenancy WROS and not a tenancy in common. View "Banks v. Banks" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, the homeowners’ association of Seabreeze subdivision, sued Marshall Jenney in an attempt to force him to remove vegetation allegedly growing on his property in violation of deed restrictions. Jenney settled that litigation but allegedly failed to comply with the settlement agreement. Petitioner then filed this action to enforce the settlement agreement. The enforcement action was settled by Jenney’s entry into a consent stipulation entered as an order, again requiring Jenney to trim his foliage. Subsequent litigation involved Petitioner’s ongoing effort to enforce the terms of the stipulation and order. Remaining at issue was the trimming of foliage on one portion of Jenney’s property. Jenney had his wife (together, Respondents) requested a stay of the Court of Chancery’s order directing that Respondents comply with the stipulation and order by June 30, 2015. The Court of Chancery (1) denied Respondents’ request for a stay, holding that the exercise of the Court’s discretion in favor of a stay was not warranted; and (2) ordered Respondents to pay Petitioner’s fees and costs in the amount of $3,750. View "Seabreeze Homeowners Ass’n v. Jenney" on Justia Law

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While boating, Defendant discovered a nearly fifteen-acre parcel of land that was landlocked, wooded, and partially submerged. The tax records for the parcel listed it as either “unknown owner” or “owner unknown.” Defendant determined to claim the property and began to use the property by visiting it regularly and paying taxes on the property. Plaintiffs later filed this action alleging that Defendant interfered with the quiet enjoyment of their property and slandered their title and seeking a declaration that they were the legal and rightful owners of the land. Defendant counterclaimed, requesting a declaratory judgment that he had acquired the disputed lands by adverse possession. The Court of Chancery granted judgment for Defendant, holding that Defendant established title to the property by adverse possession. View "Tumulty v. Schreppler" on Justia Law

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This dispute centered around the question of whether there was mold that needed remediation in the common elements of a Condominium’s structure adjacent to the unit owned by Defendants. Plaintiff, the Council at the Condominium, arranged for a study by an industrial hygienist, who concluded that immediate attention was needed to address “the change in mold spore concentrations.” The Court of Chancery granted summary judgment in favor of the Council and ordered Defendants to cooperate with the Council in allowing it and its contractors access to Defendants’ unit for remediation of the mold, holding that Defendants failed to identify and present a dispute of fact about the appropriateness of the Council’s chosen pathway. View "Council of The Pointe at Bethany Bay Condos. v. Higgins" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, Cecil W. Scott, executed two deeds (the 1996 Deeds) conveying two real properties he owned to his brother Roland fourteen years prior to being adjudicated a disabled person. Subsequently, one of Cecil's sisters filed a complaint on behalf of Cecil seeking to set aside the 1996 conveyances. The court concluded that plaintiff failed to demonstrate that Cecil lacked capacity when he executed the 1996 Deeds or that the 1996 Deeds were the product of undue influence by Roland. Accordingly, the court recommended that plaintiff's complaint be denied. View "Scott v. Scott" on Justia Law

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The County moved for partial summary judgment, asking the court to uphold alleged land use restrictions created by two agreements (collectively, the "Master Plan") that were executed to govern the development of Pike Creek Valley. The Master Plan prevented PCRS from developing any portion of approximately 177 acres that once operated as a golf course. The court concluded that the Master Plan created a restrictive covenant on the golf course that runs with the land; PCRS had not met its burden of demonstrating that mandamus should lie here; and PCRS could not avoid the applicable County approval processes via the presumption statute, res judicata, collateral estoppel, or by claiming violations of constitutional guarantees. Accordingly, the court denied the interested parties' motion to intervene; granted in part the County's motion for summary judgment; granted in part PCRS' motion for summary judgment; and dismissed the petition for a writ of mandamus. View "New Castle Cty. v. Pike Creek Recreational Servs., LLC" on Justia Law

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After the court concluded that respondent litigated in bad faith and that this matter was unnecessarily prolonged due to petitioners' ambiguously-drafted Petition to Quiet Title, the court directed petitioners to submit a statement of reasonable attorney fees which they believed reflected the cost imposed on them by respondent's purely vexatious legal maneuvers. Petitioners submitted an affidavit for attorney fees but respondent failed to respond. Thus, respondent waived any objection to the statement of fees. The court awarded petitioners $1,250.00 in attorneys' fees under the bad faith exception to the American Rule, to be paid by respondent within thirty days from the date this matter becomes final. View "Branson, et al. v. Branson" on Justia Law