Articles Posted in Real Estate & Property 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

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The City of Hot Springs passed an ordinance annexing two tracts of property under Ark. Code Ann. 14-40-501. Certain property owners filed a complaint to set aside the annexation, arguing that the statutory scheme authorizing the annexation was unconstitutional and, alternatively, that the annexed area did not fall within the statutory range. The circuit court dismissed the complaint with prejudice, concluding that the statute was constitutional and that the annexed area met the requirements set forth in section 14-40-501. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the statute is constitutional; and (2) the annexed area was properly annexed under the statute. View "Pritchett v. City of Hot Springs" on Justia Law

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Larry Teeter, Donna Teeter, Amy Teeter Thomas, and Kevin Teeter (collectively, the Teeters) were awarded attorneys’ fees in a judgment arising from a condemnation proceeding. The City of Benton appealed, challenging the circuit court’s award of attorneys’ fees on the grounds that there is no statutory authority for awarding such fees against a municipality in a condemnation proceeding. The Teeters cross-appealed, arguing that the circuit court erred in denying their request for payment of expert-witness fees. The Supreme Court reversed on direct appeal and affirmed on cross-appeal for the reasons stated in City of Benton v. Alcoa Storage Inc., handed down this same date. View "City of Benton v. Teeter" on Justia Law

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Alcoa Road Storage, Inc. was awarded attorneys’ fees in a judgment arising from a condemnation proceeding. The City of Benton appealed, arguing that the circuit court erred in awarding attorneys’ fees because there is no statutory authority for awarding such fees against a municipality in a condemnation proceeding. Alcoa cross-appealed, challenging the circuit court’s denial of its request for payment of expert-witness fees. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding that the circuit court (1) erred in awarding attorneys’ fees because attorneys’ fees are not expressly provided for in Ark. Code Ann. 18-15-307(c); and (2) did not err in finding that expert-witness fees incurred by a landowner to establish the calculation of its just compensation are not “costs occasioned by the assessment” pursuant to section 18-15-307(c). View "City of Benton v. Alcoa Road Storage Inc." on Justia Law

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Appellees, class representatives of property owners located in a subdivision, sought declaratory judgment that certain “tie-in rights” were unenforceable. During the suit, Appellant filed an interlocutory appeal of the circuit court’s denial of its motion to compel arbitration with the unnamed class members. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded case number CV 14-618 to rule on whether there was a valid agreement to arbitrate between Appellant and the unnamed class members. The mandate issued pursuant to an opinion that ordered Appellees to pay Appellant $5,091 for costs in the appeal. Appellees subsequently filed a motion regarding costs and a motion to recall and amend the mandate. Both motions were denied. The Supreme Court recalled the mandate in case number CV-14-618 and directed the clerk to amend the mandate to reflect that each party is to bear its own costs, holding that the circuit court was without jurisdiction to award judgment for costs. View "Dye v. Diamante, a Private Membership Golf Club, LLC" on Justia Law

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Appellants in this case were class representatives of a group of property owners located in Hot Springs Village. Appellants filed suit against a private golf club associated with the development seeking a declaratory judgment that the provisions contained in supplemental declarations were unenforceable. The circuit court declared that the supplemental provisions were valid and enforceable and that there had been no breach of the declarations. The court also denied the disgorgement of any dues paid during the suit. Appellants raised eight points of appeal. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was no error in the circuit court’s decision. View "Dye v. Diamante, a Private Membership Golf Club, LLC" on Justia Law

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This case arose from a dispute between George Stokes and his son, Mason Stokes, over the ownership of farmland in Chicot County. Mason filed a petition to quiet title to the farmland. The circuit court ruled that Mason and George each owned an undivided one-half interest in the farmland as tenants in common and authorized distribution of one-half of the crop income to Mason. The court then awarded Mason attorney’s fees. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding that the circuit court (1) did not deny George’s constitutional right to trial by jury by adjudicating the equitable claims before the legal claims; (2) did not err by validating a 1999 warranty deed; (3) did not err in granting summary judgment and in ruling that a 2009 quitclaim deed was void; but (4) erred by awarding attorney’s fees to Mason. View "Stokes v. Stokes" on Justia Law

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In 2013, the Kanis and Denny Roads Suburban Water Improvement District No. 349 of Pulaski County (the District) reassessed Southwest Power Pool, Inc.’s (SPP) commercial facility, an improvement on its property that is connected to the City of Little Rock’s waterworks system, which resulted in an annual levy of $60,653. The District’s board of equalization confirmed the reassessment. SPP then filed a complaint in circuit court, arguing that the reassessment was wrong as a matter of law and of fact. The circuit court largely granted the District’s motion for summary judgment, and, following a bench trial on the issue of the sufficiency of the 2013 notice of reassessment, the circuit court granted final judgment in favor of the District. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that SPP’s facility cannot be assessed, and accordingly, the 2013 reassessment, and the subsequent reassessments, are invalid. View "Sw. Power Pool Inc. v. Kanis & Denny Roads Suburban Water Improvement Dist. No. 34" on Justia Law

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In 2013, the Kanis and Denny Roads Suburban Water Improvement District No. 349 of Pulaski County (the District) reassessed Southwest Power Pool, Inc.’s (SPP) commercial facility, an improvement on its property that is connected to the City of Little Rock’s waterworks system, which resulted in an annual levy of $60,653. The District’s board of equalization confirmed the reassessment. SPP then filed a complaint in circuit court, arguing that the reassessment was wrong as a matter of law and of fact. The circuit court largely granted the District’s motion for summary judgment, and, following a bench trial on the issue of the sufficiency of the 2013 notice of reassessment, the circuit court granted final judgment in favor of the District. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that SPP’s facility cannot be assessed, and accordingly, the 2013 reassessment, and the subsequent reassessments, are invalid. View "Sw. Power Pool Inc. v. Kanis & Denny Roads Suburban Water Improvement Dist. No. 34" on Justia Law