Articles Posted in Real Estate & Property Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court's entry of a $650 deficiency judgment against the Arkansas State Highway Commission after a jury determined that the Commission owed KW-DW Properties, LLC $36,000 for just compensation in an eminent domain action, holding that substantial evidence supported the verdict, there was no error in the amount of recovery, and the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in denying KW-DW's motion for a new trial. The Commission filed a declaration taking approximately 2.36 acres of KW-DW's property for a highway project. The matter proceeded to a jury trial for final determination of the compensation due. The jury determined the final, just compensation due to be $36,000. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, while the motion for a new trial was timely, it nonetheless provided no basis for reversal. View "KW-DW Properties, LLC v. Arkansas State Highway Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court the circuit court’s denial of Appellant’s motion to dismiss and grant of a default judgment in favor of Arkansas Teachers Federal Credit Union (ATFCU), holding that the circuit court did not err in granting a default judgment. On appeal, Appellant argued that the default judgment entered against him was void because he was not timely served. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that Appellant was served one day before the time for service was expired, and therefore, the circuit court properly denied the motion to dismiss and properly granted default judgment in favor of ATFCU. View "Gore v. Arkansas Teachers Federal Credit Union" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed Convent Corporation’s appeal from an order of the circuit court upholding the City of North Little Rock’s decision to condemn a business property, holding that pursuant to the holdings in Haile v. Ark. Power & Light Co., 907 S.W.2d 122 (Ark. 1995), and Ratzlaff v. Franz Foods of Ark., 500 S.W.2d 379 (Ark. 1995), this appeal must be dismissed. Specifically, the Court held that because Convent Corporation had multiple claims and voluntarily dismissed one without prejudice, Rule 2 of the Arkansas Rule of Appellate Procedure-Civil required that the appeal be dismissed in order to avoid piecemeal appeals. View "Convent Corp. v. City of North Little Rock" on Justia Law

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Ark. Code Ann. 14-56-202 confers upon cities of the first class the exclusive power to issue or refuse to issue buildings permits and to regulate the building of houses, thereby denying such power to the cities of the second class, despite the general powers listed in Ark. Code Ann. 14-56-201. Petitioners (“the Bank”) filed a complaint against the City of Elkins, Arkansas (“the City”) challenging the City’s moratorium on the issuance of building permits for lots within a partially developed residential subdivision. Petitioners sought a declaratory judgment that the City lacked statutory authority to regulate the building of houses or to issue building permits for houses. The case was removed to the federal district court, which certified the question answered above to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court answered the certified question in the affirmative. View "First State Bank v. City of Elkins" on Justia Law

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Arkansas’s Rules of Professional Conduct do not require attorney disqualification simply because the attorney had access to client information but did not gain actual knowledge while practicing at her former association. Appellee filed a complaint against Appellants - The Park Apartments at Fayetteville, LP, The Park Apartments at Fayetteville Management Co., and Lindsey Management Co., Inc. (Lindsey) (collectively, the Park), alleging that the liquidated-damages clause in her lease agreement was unenforceable and constituted an illegal penalty. Appellee later filed a motion to disqualify the Park’s attorney and Lindsey’s entire in-house legal department, alleging that Summer McCoy, a staff attorney for Lindsey, had a conflict of interest and that the conflict of interest should be imputed to the Park’s attorney and the entire Lindsey legal department because McCoy was now a part of that department. The circuit court granted the motion to disqualify. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the circuit court erred in applying Norman v. Norman, 970 S.W.2d 270 (Ark. 1998), when it concluded that access to client information alone was sufficient for attorney disqualification. View "Park Apartments At Fayetteville, LP v. Shilah Plants" on Justia Law

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The circuit court correctly determined that the immunity provisions of Ark. Code Ann. 16-105-502 barred Appellants’ noise-based lawsuit against Brown-Wright Post No. 158 of the American Legion, Department of Arkansas, Inc. (the Legion) and correctly found that the immunity statute did not constitute a taking under the Arkansas Constitution. Appellants filed a complaint alleging that noise from a shooting range that the Legion had built interfered with the use and enjoyment of their land and constituted a nuisance. The Legion filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the complaint should be dismissed because it was based only on noise, and Ark. Code Ann. 16-105-502 grants shooting ranges immunity for noise-based lawsuits if the range is in compliance with local noise-control ordinances. The circuit court granted the Legion’s motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Legion was entitled to immunity as long the shooting range did not violate any local noise ordinances; and (2) section 16-105-52 did not violate Appellants’ constitutionally protected property rights. View "3 Rivers Logistics, Inc. v. Brown-Wright Post No. 158 of the American Legion, Department of Arkansas, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the rulings of the circuit court permanently enjoining the Vera Lee Angel Revocable Trust, through trustees Johnny Angel and Paula Napper (“Angel”), from using for short-term rentals a house situated on a lot in the Jeffries and Norvell Subdivision. Appellees, the other landowners in the Subdivision, filed a complaint seeking to enjoin Angel from using the premises for short-term rentals. The circuit court granted a permanent injunction. On appeal, Angel argued that the circuit court’s construction of the bill of assurance for the Subdivision was erroneous. The Supreme Court agreed and reversed, holding that the lack of a specific restriction against rentals of the property required reversal and dismissal of the circuit court’s injunction. View "Vera Lee Angel Revocable Trust v. O’Bryant" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part the circuit court’s judgment and decree of foreclosure finding in favor of Bank and against Appellant on his counterclaims against Bank and his third-party complaint against the former vice president of commercial lending at Bank (“VP”). The court held (1) the circuit court erred in failing to submit Appellant’s legal counterclaims and third-party claims to the jury; (2) the circuit court erred in granting Bank and VP’s motion to strike Appellant’s jury trial demand based on a predispute jury-waiver clause contained in the loan agreement; and (3) Marvell Light & Ice Co. v. General Electric Co., 259 S.W. 741 (1924), is overruled to the extent that it holds that there is a per se new business rule preventing lost profits unless the business is an old business. View "Tilley v. Malvern National Bank" on Justia Law

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Eugene Pfeifer and the Pfeifer Family Limited Partnership #1 (Pfeifer) petitioned the City of North Little Rock to create Northshore Lane Multipurpose Municipal Improvement District No. 36. Pfeifer claimed to be the majority owner in the assessed value of the property within the district. Also included in the proposed improvement district were two properties owned by the City. The City’s attorney opined that Pfeifer’s petition did not contain the requisite signatures from a majority of owners and that the City was the majority owner of the land within the proposed improvement district. Pfeifer filed a complaint and a petition for writ of mandamus requesting a court order requiring the City to enact an ordinance to establish the proposed improvement district. The circuit court granted the petition and ordered the city council to make a finding that the petition was signed by a majority in assessed value of the property owners and to take necessary steps to establish the district. The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s grant of Pfeifer’s petition for writ of mandamus but modified the circuit court’s order to provide that mandamus is granted only to require the city council to make specific findings pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. 14-88-207(a). View "City of North Little Rock v. Pfeifer" on Justia Law

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Washington Regional Medical Center (WRMC) filed a petition to quiet title in certain property, claiming to be the legal owner of the property after having acquired fee-simple title from the City by quitclaim deed and filed of record. The Stone heirs responded that title should be quieted in them, filed a cross-claim against the City, and asserted a counterclaim for breach of trust. The circuit court granted WRMC’s motion for summary judgment, quieted title in WRMC, dismissed the Stone heirs’ counterclaim, granted the City’s motion for summary judgment, and dismissed the Stone heirs’ cross-claim against the City. The Stone heirs appealed, presenting six allegations of error. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court properly granted summary judgment in favor of WRMC. View "Stone v. Washington Regional Medical Center" on Justia Law